Blogging isn't easy is it? You work all day (and sometimes into the night) with the day job and then somehow you're expected to find the time to blog. And for goodness sake, does it even work? Is it even worth it? You hear horror stories of people putting in dozens of hours a week with nothing to show for it and it becomes scary.
Having blogged for my own business for the past four years I can categorically say that it does work. Blogging has helped me develop relationships with my current and prospective clients, showcase our work and gain recommendations. I've also gained countless speaking gigs from the back of it and forged some online friendships along the way. And on top of that, we gain a good chunk of enquiries and clients through the blog. It has certainly become a core part of my marketing mix and something I'd be loathed to do without.
That said, it takes time (that I don't have) and energy (which as a mum is often in short supply) and determination. There are times when I just don't think I'll be able to find the time to blog, and times when I'm so busy that I just need to let it go for a week or two. But, the world doesn't stop turning just because I don't blog for a day or two.
After four years I hope I have a healthy attitude to my blog and social media. I know that I'll get out what I put in. And I love to put in a lot, but not at the expense of my wellbeing. And I think it's that attitude that really makes a difference.
I got thinking about the difference that makes the difference. Here's my thinking…
Focus. A great blog with a strong and loyal readership is focused. The author is clear about what they write about, what their focus in and how that feeds through to their business. And if the blog is your business, this still matters (see my case study on Flowerona (www.flowerona.com)) for more info on how she has turned her blog into a business).
Consistency. Of design, frequency of posts and tone of voice. I guess it's about being authentic. Think about your favourite magazine – you buy it because it has reliably consistent content around a theme. It speaks to you and it inspires and motivates you. It's the same with a blog.
Design. Blogs with big readerships are well designed. It's easy for readers to find their way around, pleasurable to look at and the branding complements the tone of voice.
Generous. With information, positive energy and knowledge. We read blogs because we love to learn. We love insights into someone else's business of life. Positivity is key and a feeling of “not holding back” information also really matters here.
Passion. Passion is contagious. It keeps people coming back for more. It enthuses them to tell their friends and it helps them engage with you. Passion is one of the key words people use to describe my blog and I think if you look at most successful bloggers you'll see passion right up there as a key attribute.
What do you think is the difference that makes the difference in the blogs that you read?
Fiona Humberstone, managing director of Flourish design & marketing