Blogs & Puppies - or - Why Consistency is King
A few years ago a client sat across from me during a meeting and said, "Everyone is telling me I should blog." His eyes were plaintive. "Do you write?" I asked. "No," he replied. "Then don't blog," I said. The sadness in his eyes was immediately replaced with relief.
Here's the thing: starting a blog is like getting a puppy. You better be ready to take care of it. Your heart better be in it, because it's going to require effort. And if you aren't consistent in tending it, it makes you look VERY BAD.
Yes, there are definite advantages to blogging. A strong blog can establish you as an expert in your field. It will benefit your site's SEO. Other industry experts can end up recognizing your content as valuable, and refer their readers to it, increasing your site's web traffic. These are all good things.
But those good things are dependent on well crafted, consistently published posts. Well crafted because, to paraphrase my mom, "If you don't have something relevant or useful to say, don't say anything at all." Any content that's just filler immediately comes across as such, and readers will abandon ship post haste.
Consistently published is critical because it shows you have your act together enough to put up a post every two weeks, or every month, or whatever time table works for you. Better to post once a month regularly than weekly but sporadically.
Because at the end of the day, the qualities expressed by your website and your blog will ultimately be ascribed to you and your business. You might be the most reliable, expert service provider in your field, but if your blog is neglected, users will assume you neglect your customers—and decide not to become one. Better to not have a blog at all than to have one that gives the wrong impression of how you do business.
If you *do* decide to start a blog, here are some quick tips to make sure that puppy lifts your business up rather than dragging it down:
- Schedule a regular time when you'll actually do the writing. "When I can get to it" won't work for most of the busy business owners with whom I work, so plan ahead and put it on the calendar. Maybe you do your books every other Friday. Extend that time slot to include an hour or two for writing your posts.
- Before you launch the blog, write five posts. Back date three of them at the appropriate intervals, with the most recent on or just before your launch date. Keep two on ice for emergency should you need them.
- Feel free to keep it short. I have a hospitality client that just posts a beautiful photo of their hilltop property every week or so. It doesn't have to be lengthy. As long as it is useful, beautiful, or relevant, a short post can be just as effective at reminding readers you're active and on your game.
- Write in bulk. Some people will take half a day each season and write 6 posts, then schedule them to publish every two weeks for the next few months. That way you're posting consistently without regular interruptions to your work schedule.
There's a lot of pressure on businesses to blog, but it's not a project to undergo lightly. Done right, it can boost your traffic, your SEO, and your profile within your field. Done poorly, you're going to wish you'd left that puppy in the window.