If you’re a business owner, you may have heard the word blog thrown around as something you have to do for your business, up there with getting professional headshots, designing a slick logo, building a responsive website, and BRANDING THE SHIZ OUT OF IT ALL. But have you ever wondered what can blogging do for you?

A condensed history of blogging.

I first heard the word “blog” at a church retreat around 2001. During a workshop about how to use technology to make your youth group a better place, I accepted WordPress into my heart and nothing was ever the same again. (Actually, WordPress didn’t even exist then, which makes me feel incredibly obsolete.) I’ve been blogging in some capacity ever since, on platforms ranging from Xanga and Livejournal (please let those servers be destroyed by melting permafrost) to my first guest-hosted site running Greymatter on a domain named dramatized.net because I was even more needlessly dramatic in high school than I am now, if you can believe that. I was a founding blogger for the undergraduate blog at my university, which gave me my first official headshot at the ripe old age of 21.

I basically look the way I did ten years ago, except with slightly better fashion taste and significantly improved backdrops.

It was 2007, okay? (For the record, I am not responsible for the Photoshopped background.)

I got into the world of business blogging in 2012 after my first year of teaching (which I was too overwhelmed by to blog about, shockingly), when I landed a gig writing for a B2B marketing company. It was there that I realized that blogs had grown up (unlike me), graduating from online journals and update streams and becoming a powerful tool for content marketing.

What blogging can do for your business

I realize that I’m biased, but a blog can do so much for your business that I’m surprised how many business owners treat it as an afterthought or leave it out entirely. I will delve more into each of these in subsequent posts, but here are a few important things blogging can do for you and your business:

  1. Create helpful, shareable content that belongs to you. It’s yours, your own, your preciousssss. Facebookses and algorithms can’t hide it from your readerssssss. (Maybe don’t write like Gollum, though.)
  2. Establish yourself as an expert in your field. That’s right, you ARE an expert. Own it! Or at least fake it ’til you make it.
  3. Cultivate a fan base eager to book your services. People want to hire someone they know, like, and trust. Your blog is a place where they can learn who you are and what you do.
  4. Attract clients who are a good fit for your personality and style. Yes, this matters, and yes, there are enough clients to go around to be picky about fit.
  5. Educate potential clients about your process so they are ready to hire you. Be an objection ninja and slice through buts and what-ifs before they even come up. Please do not slice through butts, however. Unless you’re into that sort of…well, never mind.

Side note:

You may notice that I didn’t list, “Improve your SEO ranking,” even though that’s one of the most widely touted benefits of blogging. While blogging regularly does entice the Googlebots to come crawling to your site more often, I think that getting people to find your site is only half the battle. (Maybe less, actually.) Getting someone to stay on your site, read the whole post, poke around your portfolio, and finally click that magical contact button is what counts. Stuffing your posts with awkward keyword phrases in an effort to boost your search ranking won’t encourage anyone to stick around. (Whoever taught everyone to title every single one of their posts, “[WHERE I LIVE] [WHAT I DO]”…I have some words for you.) SEO is an awesome tool and I do keep search in mind when I blog, but I focus first on providing useful, engaging content.

Blogging isn’t magic, of course; like any other tool, it is only as useful as the business model behind it. But if you’ve got a business that you’re proud of and want to level up, blogging might be the droid strategy you’re looking for. Check back next time for more information about the benefits of blogging your business, or subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest updates. I highly recommend the book Blog, Inc. for an overview of the basics of setting up a blog as well as neat stories for how creative business owners have used their blogs to get more clients, practice their craft, and set up fulfilling collaborations with other artists and brands.

Blog Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit and to Create Community