Blog anniversary: Lessons learned from one year of blogging

The arrival of April marks the first anniversary of my blog for small businesses. Since clients and others frequently talk to me about starting their own blogs, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the lessons I’ve learned about blogging along the way. Here they are:

• Blogging does raise your profile. I now hear from people who have learned about me through my blog posts, either here or the ones I do on general business topics for MassLive.com. Some people have found my blog on their own and others have learned about it through my use of LinkedIn groups and Twitter, where I regularly post links to my blog and to my MassLive.com posts. So it is paying off in terms of introducing me to more business people.

But it takes a while, so don’t be impatient. About a month ago a friend reported to me that when she told someone they should talk with me, the person said, “Oh, I know her. I read her blog.” This was the first time that had happened, but it was great. My reputation preceded me! Hooray!

• Blogging is the definitely way to go for B2B service professionals. Having a blog is almost essential if your business involves providing professional services to other businesses and you hope to make good use of social media as a marketing tool. Before I started blogging, I was using Twitter, but I really had nothing to offer other than other people’s content. That hardly made me stand out in the Twitterverse.

Blogging has provided me with a wealth of content that shows my expertise, not someone else’s. I’ve added followers on Twitter as a result and I’ve had many interesting exchanges with people in the LInkedIn groups where I post some of my blog articles.

• Blogging isn’t easy. I’ve been a professional writer for over 30 years and even I underestimated the amount of time a blog requires. To do it right, you have to make a commitment to frequent postings. I post twice a week here and once – sometimes twice – a week on MassLive.com, meaning I write a minimum of three blog posts a week. While I’m a fast writer, adding this to my usual workload has not been simple. I end up writing many of my posts on the weekend.

I did learn this year that putting that two-posts-a-week commitment for this blog down on a calendar reinforced my commitment. Now that I have that calendar staring me in the face, I feel more beholden than before to get it done. Write it down; make it happen, as the old maxim goes.

But don’t start down this road thinking you can write a post once a month and be successful. That’s the pace several people have told me they intend to keep and I have discouraged them from even starting. That will never be enough to build an audience that is worth having and it won’t be enough to feed your social media efforts. And nothing looks worse than to have a blog hanging out here on the Internet where no new posts have been done for several months.

• You can figure out ways to make it easier. For example, for one post each month, I write about articles that I’ve come across that I think are pertinent to my readers and I include links. This post can be written in about 15 minutes. Boom, it’s done.

I’ve also recruited several colleagues who I greatly respect to write once a month, so that takes up two posts per month. But be careful about this. Don’t turn your blog over to just anybody. Only recruit people you’ve worked with and whose expertise you trust. You don’t want to have to be in the position of receiving one of their articles and wondering how you’re going to tell them it’s just not all that great.

• Short posts can be just as valuable to your audience as long ones. Many would-be bloggers overestimate how long posts should be. They think they need to write a thousand words each time when actually they should be shooting for half of that or even less.

I’ve found that some very short posts in which I’ve shared information about a valuable resource have been very well received. It’s not about quantity of words but the quality of the words and the value of the information you’re sharing for your readers. Attention spans are short on the Web; keep that in mind when you blog.

So that’s what I’ve learned since last April. Thank you for joining my audience and here’s to a great second year!

3 comments

  1. Hi, Jeanne, I've been blogging all the way back to late 2004 (and thinking about it since maybe 2001–but I didn't start until I finally figured out that I didn't need to post every day). I aim for 3x/week.

    First couple of years, I didn't think anyone was listening. Then I started to win a few awards. And then I got active in social media, which provides wonderful ways to amplify a blog. I still don't think I have enormous numbers of readers, but it's the one channel I have where I can really get out there with my opinions (and back them with research, of course).

    While my blog produces minuscule direct revenue, it's fun, and it inspired me to launch two monthly columns (Green And Profitable, Green And Practical) where I *do* expect a revenue stream.

  2. shalini says:

    Excellent points Jeanne! Thank you for sharing your wisdom on your 1st anniversary blogging. Truly inspiring and loved your point about finding ways to make it easier like posting about articles we have read or resources our readers may find useful.

    It isn't easy to find time to write while doing others aspects of the business and yet that is the way to stand out and show how we can provide unique value. I recently got a client because of my post that was tweeted by someone I was not even following at the time. SO this really works in so many ways…

    I liked what Guy Kawasaki said, "If you have more money than brains then use outbound marketing (such as advertising) and if you have more brains than money, use inbound marketing (that is bring people to your website with your content)."

  3. Smithd411 says:

    I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. Ill bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I’m quite certain I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next! edfbkdeecedadkad

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