A couple of nights ago I took part in a really interesting discussion exploring the relationship between business and blog. Why should business owners blog? What might the benefits be? Where to start? I was a panelist for an event with Crave Calgary, along with two talented locals: cookbook author and writer, Julie Van Rosendaal and professional organizer, Kirsten Wreggitt. My thanks to Kim Page Gluckie, local Crave leader, for the invitation to join in – we had a great time.
Exploring my own reasons for blogging was interesting, as was reflecting on why taking the time to write and blog can help you build relationships with current and future clients. Here are some thoughts that didn’t make it into the discussion but that might be helpful to anyone thinking of starting a business blog, or who is looking for a little inspiration.
Blogging and brand identity
My work, my identity or brand, has all come from relationships built through social media and blogging. I was able to build a network by reaching people and connecting with them through what I was writing. Many people I work with today originally met me and got to know me through my blog, or read posts of mine and wanted to connect. Beyond that, with my business directly involving writing, my blog became my portfolio. It can be a showcase; or for other businesses, a way to display expertise or knowledge. It can make you memorable. My blog has allowed me to share far more of myself with my readers, and in many cases it is this sharing that opens the door for connection.
Benefits of blogging
Blogging allows me an outlet, a place to work on my writing and explore topics I may not yet have had the opportunity to do professionally. I can take things into my own hands and decide what I would like to write about. I can be honest and connect deeply, reaching others and making myself stand out to someone who may want to hire me, or I can write topically and watch a post on writing or social media make its way around my networks. Both have value for me. A business can create content that draws readers to the site, improves SEO, and answers client questions. New content is perfect to share on social media channels and for starting discussions with readers and potential clients. Over time this content builds into a valuable resource.
Be mindful of missteps
I can’t think of any hiccups that have created stress, but I moved fairly cautiously into the blogosphere. By the time I started my blog, I was already active in social media and was submitting my first two pieces for publication. If anything, I was probably overcautious and hyper-aware of missteps. If you are blogging for business, I heartily recommend choosing a few key subject areas relevant to your business and planning out a content schedule that allows you to create an easy flow of content. For example, if you have a blog on home design, you might blog about trends on Mondays, and show before and after projects on Thursday. Set up a schedule to start slowly, perhaps once a week, and stick to it. Write in a way that feels comfortable to you – pretend you are writing to one of your clients, if that helps. And a tip: before publishing each post, try reading it out loud. It’s a great way to find your best writing style, and will help you find errors or areas that might need a little polishing.
For the love of the blog
While there are many things I don’t share on my blog, it can be an intensely personal space and what I write there holds deep meaning for me. I have far more words inside me than I could ever plan and pitch and share in other places – sometimes I just want an immediate, quiet share that reaches people personally. But I know it creates and fosters relationships with people I know, and many times I have been hired because someone knows I have what it takes to reach someone through words. That knowledge comes from them having access to what I write on the blog, and they hire me to do it on their behalf. As well, writing about topics relevant to my area of work help connect me to others in my community who share the same interests, and can result in my posts being shared with those who may want to work with me.
Blogging for business can create connection, foster relationships and build networks. It can add a dose of personal to an increasingly impersonal world. It can bring you out from behind the proverbial curtain and allow your clients to get to know you. And it just might lead you to work that is the best fit for you, simply because you got a little personal.
Does your business have a blog? Have you considered it? Do you love to blog, or is it something you struggle with? I’d love to hear from you.