“Let’s get real here. There is no tangible benefit of blogging unless you are very popular. You can only become famous if you are connected to other famous bloggers. Instead of teaching others how to blog, why not tell them to stop wasting their time and do real marketing activities like advertising and mailouts to grow their businesses?”
This is an actual reader question I received via email – from a reader who has no name.
How do I begin to answer this question ..
First of all let me say that being a popular blogger is totally different to blogging for business. I would go as far as to say they are two different business models.
Also being a popular blogger is something you cannot necessarily control whereas you can totally be top of your business blogging game. Let me explain.
Why people blog
People often start a blog because of these common reasons ..
- They are passionate about a topic and want to share their thoughts
- They are unhappy in their lives or a work situation and looking for a creative outlet
- They want to try being a writer, publisher and so on …
Yours might be a variation of it but these are the basic ones .. I call these people ‘hobby bloggers’.
So you start blogging. You start coming across these fabulous bloggers with huge audiences. Their posts receive tons of comments, they have huge number of social shares and they are highly credible.
You have discovered the elite – the creme de la creme.
And you decide that either you need to be just like them or your blog is a failure. If you think like that, that’s totally fine but today I am not going to talk about that.
Blogging for business
What I will talk about is another big reason to start or continue to blog – blogging for business.
And this is the fourth reason people are blogging – which hobby bloggers often don’t realize. These people confuse blogging for pleasure (which often turns into a popularity contest) with using your blog as a marketing tool.
You can create content to build your email list of prospects and differentiate yourself from rest of the crowd. You can and should use your blog to market your business.
There is nothing wrong with that.
When you blog for business, your main aim is not to become famous and attract a lot of media attention. You don’t start a blog because you want to have tons of followers .. unless they are the right kind of followers who would either buy from you or share your content.
Let me tell you a secret … these super popular people didn’t start with the sole purpose of becoming popular. They are not overnight success stories.
They worked long and hard for a number of years before they acheived stardom and greatness.
And often, these are ‘outliers’. Super talented. Charismatic. They have the X – factor. Gifted in their craft – writing, art, design, whatever that may be. Maybe their story is extraordinary, their choice of topic perfect or maybe they just got there first.
Derek Halpern and Marie Forleo have dynamic, on-camera personalities.
Sonia Simone and Brian Clark are crazy smart and gifted writers.
Chris Guillebeau went around the whole world .. hello!
Danielle Laporte has a voice that is simply mesmerizing
And many who are big because their timing was right ..
Maybe you are one of these people too – so if you continue to learn and take action, you will eventually get there. Or, you might not.
But you don’t start a blog to become famous and that is NOT in your control anyway.
What I am talking about is blogging for business. Using your blog as a tool for marketing and getting new business.
Let’s say you are a life coach. No, scratch that. Let me tell you my own story …
My path has not been straight.
I did my Bachelors in Law but decided against practising it. I then completed my MBA in Marketing and started teaching in a University. I also helped with their marketing and student counselling. I had so many hats that I still don’t what to call myself.
Fast forward a few years, I started to stay at home with my two young children. It was a conscious choice that I made for personal reasons.
In that time, I stumbled in the world of blogging, purely by accident. (My best friend suggested to start one.) I thought the whole thing was crazy because I didn’t even read any blogs at that time.
But I had been bitten by the blog love. I started my own and became totally obsessed with it. At first, I was blogging at Marya Writes – my personal blog. Within first two months, I was starting to get really frustrated. However my first success came from being published on WordPress.com Freshly Pressed. That was a HUGE deal for me – or seemed like it at that time. That kept me going.
Then I discovered A-list Blogging Bootcamps and learned from Mary Jakcsh and her gang. The learning fanatic that I had always been, I quickly moved on. It is fair to say I didn’t know what to do. Just the idea of working from home, having flexible hours was so appealing to my temperament and home situation that I wanted to make it work.
I explored copywriting for a while. I bought courses from Nick Usborne and AWAI’s How to Land Your First Client. Then I started thinking about offering freelance blogging services. I joined Carol Tice’s Freelance Writers Den and also bought Ed Gandia’s Warm Email Prospecting program. (If you want to freelance, I can’t recommend them highly enough – they are both excellent.)
So up till this point, I didn’t know what I was doing. But from this point onwards, things started to make sense ..
Why should you listen
Yes, I am telling you, you should blog for business. Especially if you are a new business or don’t have a big marketing budget. And I am in a postion to say this because … let’s continue with my story.
Armed with all the knowledge from my formal MBA, and from going through all the formal blogging and freelance training, I started pitching companies. I positioned my self as an e-learning and online training expert, based on my past experience and found my first client who paid me $100+ for a single blog post. On an ongoing basis. There have many been after them to this day.
I was only able to get these high paying clients because I was able to guest post on high profile blogs such as Problogger, Boost Blog Traffic, Men with Pens, Make a Living Writing, Freelance Switch, Firepole Marketing and many more. I spent months and months and building my credibility, honing my voice and distinguishing myself from other blogging bloggers
From there, there was no looking back. I also bought Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging program to consolidate everything and to see if there were any gaps in my blogger education.
I started offering my Blog Review and Coaching services. For example, because of a guest post that was recently published on Problogger – How to Get Your First 1,000 Email Subscribers When Nobody Knows You, I was able to land 6 new clients. All from a guest post, not to bad, eh?
I positioned my self as a Blogging Coach for Solopreneurs. I then tansitioned into training – which brings me back full circle. I am now teaching short courses (Blogging for Business) at local TAFE institutes. For those who are outside of Australia, these are providers of Training and Further Education.
Through TAFE, I was approached to conduct a one day workshop teaching Uni students how to “Write for Impact’. This is at a leading local university and I am stoked.
But what there’s more, recently I was interviewed for a local TV Channel as an Content Expert for e-learning industry. And guess what, the producer of the show found me because she stumbled across my freelance work that I am doing for the local client. No Joke. I am not making this up. I will upload the clip as it as it goes live.
I have never made my numbers public. Some people share their month by month figures and more power to them, but for me it is a private thing.
However, I am happy to report a thriving Blog Coaching and Training practice and aiming to hit 6 figures in annual income soon. Fingers crossed.
All of this I have been able to accomplish through blogging. My business actually comes from the blog itself, and yours can too.
So yes, I am not famous. Most people haven’t heard of me, but enough has. My list is not huge but it is targetted and growing everyday.
And this is what I teach my clients.
I have done it. I AM doing it. So can you.
Popularity is not the goal
Here is some clarity ..
- Being a popular blogger is not a business goal. Blogging to differentiate yourself from your competitors, gain authority, build credibility, and build your list is.
- Being a popular blogger is not in your control. Blogging for business sure is. When you are doing the right things: taking action, learning from your failures and plodding on .. there is no reason in this world why you can’t have 500 or 1,000 or more people on your list who love you and end up becoming paying customers.
- You don’t need a huge list. you don’t need 20,000 people to have a successful business. If you are artist, how many paintings can you actually sell? Coach, how many clients can you book without getting burnt out? If you attract the right people, you don’t need tens of thousands on your list.
- Only guest posting is not the answer to growing your business. It needs to be a holistic. Look at the business in totality. Position yourself well. Offer a specific incentive. Optimize your byline. Promote your stuff. Write about the right topics .. and so on. If any part of the process is not working, you will not see the results ..
I am not a popular blogger, and I am doing great. Why do you have to become one?