Why you should Blog (or why you shouldn’t).
There are over a quarter of a billion blogs today (yup, 250,000,000). If you are looking to start a blog now you’ll find some steep competition and you’ve got your work cut out for you. “But wait” you say “250 million blogs, how is anyone ever gonna find my blog? Is there even anything left to blog about that someone else has not already written about? What could I possibly contribute?” I agree, it can seem a little overwhelming.
Ok, before you throw in the towel, let’s take a quick look at what a blog is. A blog is an online journal, that used to be called a weblog. Weblogs started in the 90’s and somebody dropped the ‘we’ and the term ‘blog’ was born. Blogs used to be a single author writing about a single topic. They are made up of multiple entries called posts, which are articles, sorted by date with a headline and the ability to have the readers comment on what the author published.
Blogging has not changed.
“Not that blogging has changed“, ponders Rick Tuttle (@ricktuttle) “but the rest of the world has changed” Rick is one of the early bloggers and a long term organizer of WordCamp Miami – one of the biggest conferences dedicated to bloggers. He continues “so the …
… purpose of your blog has had to adapt.” Blogs have always been a personal expression of their author, a diary or journal of his or her thoughts. By their very nature, they have always been a very personal expression. Today’s MAB (Multi Author Blogs) like ASMP’s Strictly Business Blog have changed that, but only to the extent that the blog now has multiple personalities (full disclosure, I am a regular contributor for Strictly Business and I guest blog on a bunch of different blogs) – however most of today’s blogs are still single authors blogging about one topic (We’ll show you how to become a guest blogger or a regular contributor on a national blog in the next few days).
If you just want to write a blog for the sake of writing a blog, I’ll have to agree with Rick: “Don’t blog.” If you think that just because you write a few blog posts you will increase traffic to your website, again – don’t bother blogging. The experts tell us: Blog. Don’t blog. Be on social media. No, avoid it! SEO, keywords, SEM, Facebook ads, Google algorithms, … it’s enough to make your head explode, when all you wanted to achieve is to have your clients be able to find your website online and hire you.
This blog series focuses on blogging, however if you want a really quick and awesome primer on social media, see why I recommend ‘Jab, Jab, Jab, Right hook‘. Ok. Back to blogging. How do you figure out if blogging is for you-seriously it’s not for everybody, some may do better with email campaigns, some of you will be better off on Facebook, Instagram or another social media sites [and no, I did not forget Twitter, since it’s technically a micro blogging site, betcha didn’t know that, did ya?]
Why you should blog!
Remember what Rick said – it’s the purpose of your blog that matters and although that has changed in the last few decades, Blogs are still very personal forms of communication, especially if you share some of your secrets, hand out free advice to readers and generally write to help people understand photography (or whatever topic you’re writing on) better. “Share secrets? Give out free advice? – what are you NUTS?” Quick reality check: If you seriously believe that you have some super secret sauce in creating photos or videos, that no one else has ever thought of, do me a favor and do a quick Google search and see what’s out there – you’ll be surprised. If you need advice, people will love to give it, if they’ve received it from you first; need help – I bet the person you lend a hand in the past is looking for an opportunity to come to your assistance; gotta figure out how to do something – hey if someone learned from your sharing secrets they’ll be glad to let you peek under the hood of how they do things.
Blogs let people get to know you online, they help people get a feel for who you are, before they ever meet with you in person. You can write a blog post explaining how you work, so your clients can know what to expect before they ever step foot onto your set (Check out how Kate Benson explains how she tests for a shoot here – it’s an excellent example on how to answer questions your clients have, before they ever ask them. Kuddos Kate – nice job!)
Blogging – by definition – is not static content since there are monthly, weekly or daily new posts (however if your last blog post is from 2004, that’s actually worse than a static page and you may want to reconsider why you even have a blog – I’d call that kind of weblog more like a web-bog). A steady stream of blog posts keep your blog fresh – and you know who like fresh content? Your audience (and Google), so go ahead. Sit down and seriously consider blogging and don’t be discouraged, if you struggle in the beginning. I did, we all did.
All of this week we’ll look at blogging. How you get started, what you should write about, how to promote your blog and I’ll share a recent case study in how my blog got me a new client. You can also check out ASMP’s Strictly Business blog to read what other creative professionals are saying about blogging. Come back tomorrow, to read “The blog is dead! Long live the blog!“