In the more-years-than-I-care-to-admit that I have spent building websites for clients, I have found that many people I know, especially entrepreneurs in my generation, are resistant to blogging. It’s a term they associate almost negatively with marketing and self promotion. They are typically reserved and definitely not prone to posting selfies much less videos. They don’t think they have time, and they don’t see the value.
To them I now say this: Think again! Now is the time to reverse that mindset! To those clients whose arms I have been twisting (you know who you are), please read on!
Some start with good intentions. I am in this category. I began an online column I call Webcurrents when my business was new and I had time on my hands. I named it after one of the most beautiful places I know in Missouri, the crystal-clear, spring-fed Current River, which is also a well known innertube and canoeing weekend vacation spot. We have a little cabin up high on a bluff that overlooks Current River, and the first domain I ever bought was named for it as well, thecabin.com, which I envisioned as my personal online retreat. (I sold it in 2012 when I got an offer I could not refuse.) I used to start with an inspiring quote, add some of the day’s headlines, then finish up with some Internet tips and links to a few interesting websites. The Internet was new and so was html. Content strategy, digital marketing, social media and Google did not yet exist.
What I didn’t know then was that the “blogging” I was doing (the word “blog” also did not exist) is exactly what helped me make some key connections to build my business. As I got more clients, I blogged less often and eventually, rarely, when I had more work than I had free time.
But thanks to some really smart people I admire who are sharing their knowledge, and the perfect vision that is hindsight, I can see more clearly now. What I initially viewed as self promotion or a productive activity for idle time is in fact the opposite. When you blog to share your knowledge and make connections, it’s a very valuable strategy indeed. Content designed to serve others will also serve you well. And while we’re talking syntax, a “blog” is now much more than that. It’s an engine for valuable business assets you can use in many ways, on your website, in mobile apps, in podcasts, emails or videos, as content for your strategy, pearls of wisdom for the eternal index of the interwebs.
Looking back I see it was my own early blogging that led to one of the most important connections and eventually business from clients near and far I never dreamed back then I could generate.
Bernie DeKoven in Redondo Beach happened upon a post I did in the ’90s then became my client after an accidental email autocomplete. Eventually Bernie recommended me to a friend, who recommended me to another friend, who recommended me to another friend, and so on. Those recommendations became the foundation of my business.
Bernie is a prolific author, international speaker and blogger doing his part to make the world a lot more fun at aplayfulpath.com. I have built and rebuilt websites on various platforms for him over the years including that one, deepfun.com and junkyardsports.com. He is also a treasured friend who inspires me regularly by his words, work ethic, attitude and accomplishments.
If you are looking for that extra nudge to start or resume a blog that will help you build your business by sharing your knowledge, have a look at Bernie’s posts as well as those of two amazing marketing mentors I am also fortunate to have in my professional universe:
Fabienne Fredrickson, founder of clientattraction.com, is one of the smartest and most successful mentors I know. Her website has enough valuable content for a virtual MBA. She says it best: Share your brownies. Offer your visitors authentic, high value content for free, then build your business by offering even more.
Her husband, Derek, is also making his own mark as an expert in helping businesses learn to build their email lists. His new video series is packed with great advice at derekfredrickson.com. His video for today explains why the No. 1 way to build your email list is via joint ventures and strategic alliances.
And here’s a totally unsolicited recommendation based on something that landed in my inbox today: Another massively successful Internet marketer I discovered through my WordPress universe has just started a free training series I like for its startling new way of looking at marketing that is sure to resonate with people who are hindered by a more traditional mindset.
It’s called The New Rainmaker: The business generating power of a personal media brand by Brian Clark, CEO of the multi-million-dollar software and training company Copyblogger Media, and coworker genius Robert Bruce. I think their advice for owning your content, as opposed to putting it all on someone else’s network (Facebook, for instance), is also especially relevant and important for the clients I have who are not yet blogging but are beginning to feel comfortable sharing content on Facebook and LinkedIn.
So today I am resolving to walk that talk and work more to develop my own media content by sharing the knowledge I have accumulated, inspiration from the people I have worked with and the path I have followed over the past 18+ years. I hope you will find it useful and fun!