This is the first in a series of seven blogs that solves the single biggest problem facing bloggers. That problem is not, as you might expect, getting started. That problem is keeping going.
Most of us can pump out a blog or two. Sadly, that is not going to serve you. In fact, it will do you more harm than good. People will look at your website, see you haven’t blogged for three months or three years, and wonder if you are still in the game!
Bloggers stop writing because they run out of ideas. They say that they don’t have time, but we all know we make time for what matters. If you plan your blogs ahead, you will never run out of ideas. It will only take you 30 to 60 minutes to write your blog.
This blog series will show you how you can brainstorm an entire year’s worth of blogs in four hours! You will never run out of ideas and will write your blog quickly and efficiently every time.
So let’s start with why.
Blog 1 of 7 Why Authors Must Blog Even If They Don’t Want To
Blogging – also called content marketing (at least by me) – is an essential of modern marketing. I know that is a big call! So, I will let Owen McCall prove my point. McCall is a successful technology consultant based in New Zealand. I know McCall is successful because I happen to know how much he earns in revenue and, even though I am not telling you the exact amount, it’s a figure that spells S U C C E S S.
McCall estimates that 60% of his business comes from referrals. The other 40% comes from his blogging program. In other words, McCall gets a 40% lift in revenue as a result of publishing a monthly blog. That is what I call return on investment.
Interestingly, McCall breaks almost all the so-called marketing “rules”: he started without a plan or strategy, and he has no “key messages” that he tries to hammer home every month. He writes about what is going on in his mind at the time.
Having said that, McCall notes that when he looks back at his monthly column, published in CIO Magazine in New Zealand, the theme is consistent: “Everything I write answers the question: ‘How do you actually get the value out of all this technology you have bought and paid for?’ ” McCall says.
McCall says he never has won business as the result of a particular blog – it is the sum total of his blogging consistently over eight years that creates the flow of clients, he says.
Blogging is non-negotiable for authors
If you have ever pitched a book idea to a traditional publisher, you will know the answer to the question, ‘Why must authors blog?’ On most publishers websites you will find resources that guide you when you are pitching to a publisher. Below is an excerpt the guidelines that the publisher Wiley provides:
“We look for authors who have a pre-existing audience of people [my italics] who know and respect their work and are likely to buy their book. If your book is successful with your network, it can reach a much larger audience. Please write a 1-2 page marketing plan describing how you would help get out the word about the book.”
Your blog, combined with your social media marketing, builds your audience. If you want to dominate your market today, you must publish regular stories, trends and news on your website that your clients and potential clients need and want, and distributed them through an e-newsletter and social media.
Create a content calendar and a strategy for converting your blog readers into loyal clients, and for keeping your current clients loyal, and to make the effort – and cost – worthwhile.
Here are three reasons why you must get smart about blogging:
1. If you don’t do it, your competitors will.
Blogging is all about positioning you as the leader of your market, making your blog the “go-to” destination for your clients, and building a list of subscribers. Your list, alongside your social media followers, is the network that Wiley is referring to above.
Your readers do not come to you to buy (yet); they come to plunder your expert knowledge and insights and develop trust in you and brand.
If your competition’s blog wins their interest and trust first, you’ve lost the game. You’ll be playing catch-up, trying to lure your clients and potential clients away from your rival’s site. That is expensive. Why waste money?
2. It’s not cheap, but it’s priceless
Blogging isn’t the cheapest way to market you – not if you are going to do an excellent job of it – but the impact of doing it well is priceless.
You will build a strong, enduring relationship with your clients, and win new ones, by publishing stories that help them, show them they are valued and prove that you are the authority in your marketplace.
Compare that to the cost of advertising that costs the earth and your clients may not even see.
When you blog, your client come to you. They spend time looking at the stories you publish and learn to trust your brand.
3. You get what you give
The internet has changed everything; consumers get a lot of stuff free. These days, you can’t expect clients to just come along and give you their money, no matter how good you are at what you do.
Today, you have to give a little to get a lot.
This is the secret of blogging. The stories and news that you publish as part of your blogging campaign are freely given to your client, and to the broader population (who might one day be clients). Yes, it’s taken you decades to build up your expertise, and it costs you money to blog about it and publish on your site. And yes, you are now going to give away some of that knowledge for nothing to anyone who is interested.
That is the way it goes in the modern world of business.
But remember, every company that has risen to the top of its game has always spent money to win clients. It’s not that different from the old days. The real difference is that it is so much more effective, so much more rewarding both for you and for your clients because you get to talk about the work that you love to do with people who actually want to listen.
Your blog builds the community who are most likely to buy your book. You must blog. So what exactly is involved in blogging? How can you keep your blog fresh and lively?