Whether you are blogging for fun or business, it cost you something to manage a blog.
Your two most precious commodities that you are using to make the blog a success are your time and creativity and they both have immense value.
An additional investment is your money, if you have chosen to purchase a domain and pay hosting fees, hire a web developer, or purchased a template so you can do it yourself.
It is important to quantify what you are doing so you understand the value of your investment and it will help you to set a clear intention of where you want to go.
Twenty years ago, this was not on my mind. I had ideas in my head and I wanted to get them out but having a clear path can keep you from being distracted. If you are a creative like me, trust me there are a million other things that will come up which will often seem more exciting and meaningful than blogging but you have to focus and stick with it if you want to reap the success.
Know Your Audience
Your blog is not for everyone and you don’t need it to be. Who are you most passionate about serving? What is their biggest problem and do you have the answer for them? Identify who this ideal reader is. You only need one reader to focus on. Is she black, white, Asian, a teenager from a single-parent home. Is it business owners with more than fifty employees or a freelancer wanting to grow their audience? When you know who you are most passionate about serving you can ensure that with each post is crafted to support them.
Quantify Your Time
You may not have a ton of money to invest in building your reputation as a blogger but your time is the essential and most effective asset you possess. This is the key to leveraging the power of the internet to build your audience.
How much time weekly can you allocate to the business? It is the same as setting opening hours for a physical store. Don’t leave it to chance.
You need to spend time on:
- Plan, write and schedule content. You don’t need to blog every day although you can release a blog post every day, as marketing guru Seth Godin has done for more than 20 years. Set aside a day or a few hours in the week which is sacred for planning and writing.
- Promotion. Design and edit your photos and graphics to go with each post and the social media promotional posts, videos, stories, which you will use to drive the traffic to the website.
- Follow-up. If you have asked readers to comment or send you questions then you need to allocate time to do respond to them. Treat each comment as a valuable one and engage with the writer. They could be commenting on someone else’s posts but they chose to support you.
- Support other bloggers. Allocate time to give love to other bloggers who are in your niche or a friend you want to encourage. If their work resonates with you maybe it will connect with your readers as well. Don’t be afraid you will lose that reader to someone else. You want to help them solve their problem even if the answer is with someone else.
Planning in advance will help you to feel more prepared to manage the continued engagement and follow-up. It will also help to create balance with your other job or family commitments.
Inspiration will strike at the oddest times but make a decision to be inspired to write on the day and time you have set aside to produce the content for your blog. That is in your power to do.
Content Creation is King and Queen
Just as in your business you would need to be clear about the product or service you offer and how you will tell people about it, you must have a direction you wish to go with the blog. Imagine if you had staff and you hired them but gave them no job description and responsibility. How would you be able to assess if they were doing what you hired them to do and whether it was helping to grow your business?
Are you producing videos, podcasts, mini books, ebooks, white papers, How-To posts? It isn’t an either or but you should know which would be most effective for the information you want to share. Brainstorm on the message and the solutions you want to give to your readers. Which format would be the best way to get it to them?
Do not wait for them to tell you what they want to read about. I should be able to go to your blog and identify what you do best and what you offer. If you are having trouble with this clarity, have a few people visit the blog and give their impressions of your set up and what they see first. Is it clear who you are and what you do?
This clarity will then help you to build out your content with more focus and deliberateness.
In the early days and honestly still today, I am inspired by many things and my interest is in seeing the entire Caribbean be great and represented better in every forum. It often meant I was writing about any and anything that was of interest to me. But it made it impossible for me to say what I did and why I was doing it. This also meant potential clients did not know how to engage with me as it was not clear what solution I offered.
I recognize you may just be trying this blogging thing because you have heard people say you should but give yourself the time to set a path and move towards it. You will still tweak as you go as you come to recognize your voice in your writing and see what brings you joy but do not leave it to chance.
If you were working for someone, they would know how much you were worth down to the cent to have you on their payroll. You are now and employee of your blog. How much is it costing your blog to have you do the work? Could it be done cheaper by someone else? 😀 Know your numbers.
While it is not paying you a salary, it is helping to build your brand. This is equity you are putting in and one of these days it will begin to return to you 100 times over. How much are you worth? Know the value of your weekly time investment in the blog. As you grow, you will be able to evaluate whether this investment needs to be increased or better managed to be more effective.
It is as important as knowing the cost of your hosting fees and other design fees. How much does it cost to run your blog each week, each month, each year?
Your blog is a business. What you sell on it is a product or service of that business. Treat it with intention and strategy and you will be able to better plot your path to success. In a future post I will discuss monetizing the blog.
Got a question about blogging or being an entrepreneur? Send me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.