When I started blogging back in 2005, relatively few people were doing it, and I kept it very separate from my actual life. So separate, that it took me until 2009 to start blogging for business as well!
However, nowadays it seems like everyone and his dog has a blog (no rhyme or pun intended).
So do you need one for your business?
Well, I’d say it depends. In the social media & blogging workshops I used to run, I always emphasised the fact that just because a platform exists, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to use it.
A blog can help to drive traffic to your website, but a blog alone won’t – you’ll need to promote your posts and perhaps guest post elsewhere to raise your profile in that way.
If you’re a prolific writer, you can add a sprinkling of keywords to your posts and you’re sharing valuable information with your target audience, then blogging could be a perfect way to get your name out. It certainly adds a sense of you to your business, and people often love a behind-the-scenes look at how a business they like runs.
As with all marketing, the more a potential client gets to know you, the more they’ll know if you’re a good fit – and you’ll become the definitive and obvious choice when they have need of your type of product or service.
If, on the other hand, the idea of writing regularly makes you want to run far, far away, then perhaps you’d be better blogging just photos, or using one of the myriad other social media platforms out there.
Some require only short updates, and allow you add photos if that works for you. But for blogging and social media, the best combination of all is the one that works for you. If you hate a particular type of platform, or find updating it intimidating, it’s never going to reflect you in the right way.
So you don’t HAVE to have a blog. Look at all the options for promoting your fabulous biz on this wonderful thing called the internet, choose the ones which appeal to you most, and focus on those.
It’ll make your message stronger, more you and so much more compelling!
[A version of this post first appeared on sister site, The Website Beautician]
Following on from my single-tasking experiment (which is rapidly becoming a habit), I’ve also been thinking and talking about going off-grid for a bit. Just for 24 or 48 hours at a time to start with.
Imagine. No phone, no laptop, no tablet/Kindle/internet.
No screens (except possibly the one on my camera).
No Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram… Pinterest is a particular offender at the moment, because I can spend three hours pinning things in front of a screen and then feel like I’ve been creative without actually having exercised a single creative muscle.
I love them all – but talking to the lovely Sarah, Lisa, Nina and Louise last week, I realised that I’ve not been without my mobile since I got it at the age of 14. That’s HALF MY LIFE.
I’ll happily admit that one of the reasons I love living alone so much is modern technology – on the rare occasions I’d prefer company and haven’t already organised it, I can communicate with someone in moments. But as a result I barely know my neighbours, and make less effort to see my local friends than I would otherwise. (We all acknowledge this – but don’t often do anything about it.)
I’m also conscious that I couldn’t have the lifestyle I do, or run the businesses I do, if the internet didn’t exist. And I don’t want it to un-exist. It’s a massive resource, a valuable tool and an altogether incredible concept.
And it would be daft to pretend that I don’t invite much of this contact in – I’m well aware that I make a lot of effort to contact and stay in touch with people using all sorts of social media because it’s convenient.
But I wonder how much more I could have achieved if Facebook didn’t exist, if I didn’t spend hours scrolling through Twitter, pinning on Pinterest, liking photos on Instagram. What if I was out there capturing even more of my own images, getting lost without the assistance of Google maps? Having coffee with people instead of chucking a vague Facebook message their way?
And then I saw this, and it cemented my intentions.
I’m not going to give it up entirely. But I am going to have 48 hours off grid while I’m away, and then try and work up to having a day a week free from screens, the internet and the pervasive nature of social media.
Of course, there’s a possibility I’ll hate it, and like all habits, it’ll be hard to break. But I suspect my life, this blog, and my relationships will be all the richer for it.
Have you ever been off-grid? Or restricted your use of screens, social media, phones for a while?
Some of you will know I’m running four workshops at this year’s Essex Book Festival, on social media and writing in the digital age. (Details here if you want to join us – tickets are selling fast!)
I know what I want to cover in the workshops, but yesterday I’d set aside some time to get the structure in place and make sure I’m not cramming too much into the hour-long sessions, so that my writers actually take in the information and can apply it.
So after getting my big flipchart pad out, I went upstairs to get some coloured pens. I came back and was greeted by this:
Luna was snoozing in the conservatory by the heater, but Clover definitely wanted to help…
I love my kitties, but I’m learning to add extra time onto everything to account for watching, laughing at and cuddling them along the way!