Blogging: A Christmas Present and New Year’s Resolution All Wrapped Up into One
The dust has now settled from the holiday season, and we’re all getting back into our work routines. The two major American holidays which we recently celebrated, Christmas and New Year’s, bring with them a few cultural traditions. I want to focus on two in particular – gifts and resolutions – and how they relate to blogging.
The pros of blogging have certainly been discussed in this space before. If you don’t have a company blog, it may seem like a daunting task at first. Let me frame this discussion using gifts and resolutions to show you why blogging can be a big boost to your business.
Not Another New Year’s Resolution…
We are smack dab in the middle of resolution season, my friends. You know the drill. A new year begins, and everyone sets goals for personal growth or improvement. Many have good intentions, but many also fail to see their resolutions through much past a few weeks.
Now, I consider myself an optimist. It comes with the territory when you’re a Cubs fan. Personally, I have a much more “glass-half-full” view of resolutions than the above paragraph would imply. However, even I must admit that resolutions certainly bring with them a bit of a negative stereotype.
That’s why I’m telling you NOT to view blogging as just another New Year’s resolution.
However, the New Year can be a perfect time to target some key areas for growth. If you’re looking to boost your business, I firmly believe in the power of blogging. And contrary to what you may be thinking, it’s not an impossible task.
But before you choose to undertake any new growth opportunity, you need to know why it has utility for your situation. That’s where the tradition of gift giving comes in.
Are There Drawbacks to Giving?
Think about your experience at Christmas this year. If you participate in the common Christmas tradition of giving gifts, why do you do it? Maybe that sounds like a silly question, but I encourage you to think about it. Why do you give gifts?
For me, I enjoy coming up with thoughtful ways to show those closest to me how much they mean to me. It’s a way to say, “Thank You” for all they’ve done for me throughout the year.
The “drawbacks” of giving gifts (price, time shopping, etc.) don’t keep me from trying to bring a little bit of joy to those around me, and I would assume many of you feel the same way. We budget our money and make plans so that we can give good gifts.
I think blogging is the same way.
You may think that the time needed to write posts and maintain a blog is reason enough not to start. Or maybe you feel you’re not a good writer. I say neither of those are reasons not to start. Writing, like most things, improves with practice. And I assure you that it probably will not take as much time as you’re envisioning.
But time and writing skill may not even be the biggest road blocks to starting a company blog. Many look at blogging and, correctly, surmise that one is freely giving away intellectual property. At first glance, that may not seem like the smartest business decision.
Then, you read posts like this one from Marketing Land that discuss strategies for making your blog a lead generation pipeline. I won’t give away the entire article, but in one section, the author discusses how to give first before selling. He makes a key qualifying point, however – give with intention. Another phrase that is commonly used to describe this practice is the idea of developing thought leadership. That’s all well and good, but it really only helps your business if it boosts your bottom line. Well, you’re in luck…
Serve Before Selling
Before someone seeks to buy a product or service from you, they want to know they can trust you. One way to accomplish this is by freely giving them examples of your expertise. Obviously, I’m a believer in the power that blogs can have in that regard.
There is an obvious fine line here. Are you really giving something to someone if your only intention is to move them towards a purchase? I think the answer can be “Yes” if you handle your giving correctly.
If you give expertise through a blog post or share free tools via an email campaign, you need to make sure it is genuine. You really want to give your prospective customer a valuable insight that they can use. However, I think that the genuineness of your gift can be a part of a larger strategy in moving the customer along towards the end goal of making a purchase decision. That, to me, is what the above article is getting at, and I think it’s a relevant strategy.
Sometimes tracking the ROI of your blogging efforts can be tricky, but there are tools that can help you track the quantifiable data behind your efforts. The bottom line, as Villing & Company president, Thom Villing, noted, is that the ROI from blogging comes from the ability to build brand awareness over time. It takes consistent effort, but it’s worth it.
What Can You Do?
As we march forward into 2016, I encourage you to consider how blogging can be a growth opportunity for your business. We’ve seen the fruit of our blogging labor here at Villing & Company, and we certainly wish the same success for you. So as we move away from the holiday season, don’t forget the power of gifts and resolutions. They can have a big impact on your business.
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