cheerleaders for blogging

A friend of mine was pretty down about his blogging recently. He wrote me a note and told me that he was disheartened because he was putting a lot of effort into his writing but nobody was reading his blog. Let’s talk about this subject openly and honestly today.

Let’s face it. It’s HARD to attract an audience and it’s getting even harder every day.

I’m not going to give you a “rah-rah” motivational speech. I know it really hurts when you’re doing good work and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere — I was there for a long time, too. It’s frustrating, and it’s lonely listening to the crickets every day.

I’m not going to spin a tale of “10 ways to increase your readership or traffic.” There has been so much written about that already it could fill volumes.

Instead, I am going to talk about PRACTICAL reasons to persist, even in those moments when you’re feeling down.

I’m going to assume you are blogging to build a personal or business brand, not just for the joy of it, and you’d like somebody to eventually notice you. You need to keep going. Here are some reasons why:

1) Learning and growing. To blog about a subject, you have to learn about the subject, perhaps even master it. Blogging makes you smarter!

2) Clarity. The other day I had to take a tough position with a customer and I needed to get really clear on my position and why I was thinking that way. Blogging about the topic crystallized my view.

3) Personal improvement. My blog is much better, and much different, than it was a year ago. It will be much different in the future, too because through this practice, I am becoming more effective. You are improving through every blog post you write. You are taking one more step toward excellence.

4) Search engine benefits. This may be the most obvious business benefit of blogging. Search engines give preference to websites that have fresh, relevant content. Hubspot research shows that sites with blogs get 55% more traffic than sites without blogs — even if there are no readers!

5) Upgrading your skillset. Unless you are in a position of guaranteed lifetime employment, you need to keep sharpening your skills. Showing a potential employer a volume of work you’ve created through your blog provides insight into how you communicate and your thought process. Blogging is a valuable, marketable skill.

6) Infinite search. A few weeks ago I received a call from a potential new customer in the Middle East looking to me as a possible marketing consultant. I had to wonder how in the world they found me! Turns out they were looking for somebody who could help explain where the future of social media was going and when they entered this into Google, a blog post I wrote a year ago popped up!  Your content keeps working for you month after month!

7) Your content engine – Your investment in a consistent stream of quality content can be leveraged in many ways to support a content marketing strategy. I use links from blog posts to answer customer questions, as the basis for speeches, newsletter content, and as reading assignments for workshops.

8) Numbers versus impact. I saved this reason for last because it is the most important.

One of my favorite blogging stories comes from my friend Dr. Alice Ackerman. Much of her first blogging efforts were aimed at educating the community on the importance of childhood vaccinations. But she had some doubt as to whether she was making an impact. For more than a year, her posts limped along. In fact, she averaged 4.5 readers a day.

But one of her readers wrote her and told her that because of a blog post, she had changed her mind about childhood immunization and was taking action to immunize her children.

You see, Alice only had five readers, but she changed the life of one of them. Who are you touching with your blog? Are you sure you know?

Isn’t that a great reason to keep going?

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
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