It's no secret that I am a big fan of blogging. I blogged for years prior to starting my photography business so it was a no brainer for me to continue blogging once I began booking clients and working to help other photographers grow and succeed.
As natural as blogging might be for me, for other creative entrepreneurs and small business owners, the decision to blog might be a more difficult one. While I think the majority of small business owners, photographers and wedding industry professionals understand that a blog can be a benefit, it does take time, patience, strategy and again, TIME to keep a blog going and reap the rewards.
Today I want to share eight reasons why it is important to have and maintain a blog for your small creative business and hopefully give you some insights that you might not have had before in order to help you either take the plunge and start a blog or strategize a way to prioritize your blogging in order to get you the biggest potential return!
One of the absolute best benefits to blogging is the affect it has on your SEO (search engine optimization). A blog gives you a huge opportunity to increase your visibility in potential client internet searches for whatever you might be selling. SEO can be a confusing and mind boggling subject for many to tackle, but in a nutshell the easiest ways to really beef up your optimization is through content, activity and quality inbound links. All of these things are much easier to achieve when you have a consistent blogging presence.
Raise your hand if you struggle when writing your "About Me" page on your website. Ok, you can put your hand down now and pick up your coffee again. The reason "about me" pages can be so difficult is because it's just plain awkward to write about yourself. You know what you are like, but describing it in a way that doesn't come off as braggy or typical or let's face it...boring...can be a legit challenge.
A blog gives you a way to really show your personality and WHO YOU ARE in a very roundabout way. Since the main content or focus of the blog is not necessarily YOU, but what you sell or offer, the pressure is off and your personality can shine in the content. I can very easily pick up a huge number of clues about a person through reading posts than I ever could in an about me page.
I find there is ONE major hindrance that frustrates people from allowing their personality to shine through their blog posts:
Writing on the internet on your own personal business blog is NOT the same as turning in a college essay.
You are not being graded on perfect grammar and proper tone and punctuation. No one is waiting in the wings with a giant red marker, ready to tear your stuff to shreds and give you a big fat F. It IS important to match your writing to your brand or ideal client, but don't be so nervous about "messing up"...that it prevents you from writing anything at all.
One of the biggest compliments I receive quite often is that when people I know in life read my blog they tell me it sounds like me. They literally say "It's SO you. I can hear you saying that". That is 100% my goal with my blog, and it helps readers connect with who I am a person and it builds trust. All of those are incredibly valuable things when running a personal small business.
Maintaining a consistent blog allows you to easily expand the visibility of your portfolio or product selection. Its an easy way to announce new products or offerings, and it allows potential clients or customers to see what you've been up to lately.
Social media (FB, IG, Twitter...)can be a great way to advertise your products or material but it is anything but permanent. Studies show that the lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes and with the changes on FB, hardly anyone is seeing what you are posting there. Instagram hashtags can work really well, but again, it's not an easy way for people to find you and it may be going the way of sponsored content in the not so far off future. Relying on social media can be exhausting and frustrating.
A blog however, is in essence a "one stop shop". This is your homebase, where a client can come to find out EVERYTHING they want to know about you. You can communicate SO MUCH more info through your website and blog than you ever could on any social media outlet.
TWO WAY CONVERSATION
A blog is a fantastic way to actually converse and hear from your readers and potential clients. Blog comments are an easy way for readers to contact you and provide feedback or ask questions. And you can respond back to them without a ton of back and forth emails. Having the ability to easily talk to your readers and clients is a powerful brand and trust builder.
MAKES YOU "THINK" AND FOCUS
The best cure for "I don't know what to blog about", is to blog. The more you blog, the more ideas come to you. It may sounds ridiculous, but I promise it's SO true. Taking the time to think about what your ideal client might want to learn more about, or what information or resources you (as the expert) could provide on the subject does wonders for coming up with quality blog content.
Remember, readers are selfish. They want information that is helpful to them. Stop trying to create interesting content about YOU and put the focus on THEM. What might your ideal client want to know more about? What will help make their life easier? What sorts of questions do you get from readers or clients on a consistent basis? Craft your posts about those things and the ideas will start to flow.
The permanence of your blog goes hand in hand with it being your homebase. And when I say permanent, I really just mean that it has a place on the internet that can be easily found, not that you can't change it. I'm a big proponent of going back and freshening up previous content that might need a tweak or update.
Scrolling through a fb feed can take forever and you never can find what you are looking for. Twitter? Forget about it. You blog however, can be a place where readers or clients can find exactly what they are looking for in just a few clicks. Especially if you have awesome resources like a blog sidebar or archive page.
INSIGHT INTO YOUR AUDIENCE- ANALYTICS
Knowing and understanding who your audience is, where they are coming from, what they click on, how long they stay, where they drop off...all of these analytics can be powerful! Taking a look "behind the scenes" and working to understand the analytics of your website and blog can be insightful and informative. People or readers may be drawn to a blog article and then drop off immediately or they might click around for a while. Analyzing your bounce rate and conversions based on the information that you are providing can have a huge impact on your investment in time and design.
Its nearly impossible to get quality information off of poor indicators like facebook likes, retweets or IG "hearts" to determine if readers or potential clients are picking up what you are putting down. But consistent blog content that provides value to your audience can be studied and analyzed and you can make tweaks and changes based on that info that will help you actually grow and achieve your goals.
If you are on the fence about creating a blog or getting more consistent at blogging, I hope these benefits of blogging have helped you in your decision process.