A lot of people start blogs for the wrong reasons.
Some people think it’s simply something they “should” be doing. And then they lose steam when they don’t see any results.
Others think it’s a way to make money from writing. “Become a blogger,” they’re told, and all your passive income dreams will come true. But they don’t realize that blogs aren’t the cash cows they used to be, and that you can’t just throw up some Google AdSense ads and call it a day. They usually require a product to sell and a lot more marketing skills than some folks are willing to learn.
Me? I started out in the first camp. Coming from the ad agency world, blog writing for brands was a standard practice. I thought it was a must.
Eventually though, I realized that it wasn’t a requirement for a one-to-one freelancer… but it was a method of building a much more stable, impactful, and interesting (in my opinion) business.
Blogging is a key tool to help you build an audience that’s eager to work with you and buy what you create.
But I don’t think it’s for everyone. So today, we’re going to dive into the nitty-gritty of whether or not blogging is worth it for your business.
What’s the point of blogging?
Let’s get one thing clear: You can always start a blog just for fun. Because they are fun!
But when it comes to blogging for your business, a blog has two primary purposes:
- Get strangers onto your website (and convert them into interested leads)
- Develop relationships with leads & past clients
Now, the funny thing is that when you look at these two goals, you might realize there are lots of other ways you could fulfill them that don’t involve blogging.
For example, to “get strangers to your website” you could:
- Pay for ads that lead to a landing page, where you collect email subscribers
- Pass out your business card at a bunch of events
- Post fliers across your city pointing to your URL
And to “develop relationships with leads & clients,” you could:
- Put regular reminders in your calendar to send personal reach-out emails
- Follow people on Instagram and regularly interact with their posts and stories
- Host client appreciation parties, where past clients are reminded of how awesome you are and to send you referrals
Marketing is a game of finding both what’s working right now, and what works for you. When you’re a solo service provider, it’s important to take your personal likes and dislikes into account.
Which is to say, you don’t have to start a blog to effectively market your business. But I do think it’s one of the best options available.
Why? Because it hits a bunch of birds with one stone.
The benefits of blogging for your business
There are three main benefits of using a blog as part of your marketing efforts:
1. Build trust quickly
…Or even instantly. If you’re a service provider or freelancer who wants to come off as trustworthy, one of the best things you can do is have free educational content on your website.
Imagine your dream client gets your name through a friend. They find your website. They click on your blog, and one of those first articles answers a burning question or solves a problem they’ve been dealing with for the past month.
Boom. Instant trust. After all, if you can solve a problem without even talking to them, what could you do for them if they hired you?
I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to get an email or message from someone saying, “I read your blog on XYZ, and was wondering how I can work with you…”
2. Nurture relationships at scale
One of the hardest parts about the sales process is how long it takes. Professional salespeople know that it can take multiple calls, emails, and other follow-ups to help people feel comfortable enough to make the purchase. The process can stretch into weeks or even months.
But when you’re publishing regular content and emailing it out regularly, you’re building the know/like/trust factor one little bit at a time… without having to email everyone individually.
That saves a ton of time on your end. Will you have as high sales rates as if you were sending personal emails to very single person? Of course not. But when you have enough people on your email list, that doesn’t matter as much.
Which brings me to the third benefit of blogging…
3. Grow your email list
It’s not secret that building an email list is the key to growing your business beyond one-on-one services and creating more flexibility for yourself. And marketing-wise, it’s valuable because it allows you to own the connection to your biggest fans—instead of being reliant on the whims of social media algorithms.
The basic formula for list growth is this: You put out regular blog content. You attach an email opt-in form at the bottom of each post. You distribute that content via social media, SEO, personal relationships, etc. If your content is geared to your ideal clients, then some of them will want to hear more from you. They subscribe, and voilà, your email list starts growing.
Now, you can grow your list without a blog. For example, one gal I know grows hers purely through getting interviewed on podcasts.
But my question is… Why wouldn’t you?
After all, blogging provides a lot more benefits besides email list growth (see #1 and #2).
Of course, some folks don’t want to blog because they don’t like writing. That’s fair. But I’d challenge you with this:
As an online business owner, you’ll always have to write SOME content. There are emails, social media posts, and even pitches to write. You have to write to move your business forward. Creating blog content helps you develop that writing muscle. And even better, it makes all your other efforts easier by ensuring you always have something new to share.
Blog articles also have the potential to keep working for you in the long-term, unlike social media posts. Some of the articles I wrote years ago still account for over 1,000 new website visitors every month.
>> Read more: How to Track Your Marketing Efforts: A Beginner’s Guide
If writing is the only thing that’s holding you back, it’s time to think creatively. Because there are lots of ways to create blog content without having to be glued to the screen for hours at a time. For example, you could:
- Record yourself talking, and use a transcription service to turn it into text. Then just do some editing and formatting to make it easy to read.
- Write up a rough draft, then hire a skilled editor or content writer to help you finish it up.
- Start a podcast or video show, and use the recorded content to guide the blog post.
Which brings me to an important question to consider:
Should you still blog if you’re starting a podcast or YouTube channel?
Recording instead of writing! That means you don’t have to write blog articles, right?
…Sorry friend, not quite.
Podcasts and videos can definitely be a good option if blank Word docs tend to drive you nuts. It takes some of the pressure off.
But you can’t get away from the writing entirely. And if you try to, you won’t be getting nearly as much traffic, traction, and results from your content efforts as you could be getting.
For example: When you publish a podcast, you still need to publish show notes. This is the text that accompanies a given episode.
Your show notes could just be a short blurb on the topic followed by links to any websites that the episode mentioned… but that’s missing out on some huge traffic potential. Because Google prefers in-depth content.
Instead, writing up a bit more about the topic in the format of a short blog post allows you to get more new visitors interested in hitting the play button, and will likely help the page rank higher in search results.
What does this look like? A great example is the What Works podcast by Tara McMullin. Each episode has a nice little write-up that gets you interested in the topic.
Similarly, you could leave a YouTube video on YouTube and call it a day. But then you’d be 100% dependent on the YouTube algorithm… which can flip-flop at any time. Why put all that effort in, but not go the full way?
Instead, embed each video in a new post on your blog, with a short writeup on the topic. This is especially easy to do if you use an outline for yourself while you film. Take the outline, flesh it out into sentences, and use that as your blog content.
It takes more effort, sure. And if writing that article is really holding you back from creating any content, then I say screw it and do whatever you like. It’s better to be publishing, period!
But if you can, taking that extra hour is well worth your time.
The cons of blogging for your business
Okay, okay. It’s no secret I think blogging is awesome. But it’s not a perfect choice for everyone. So before you dive into this kind of commitment, let me be 100% real with you:
You might not need a blog at all
As I mentioned earlier, you can absolutely build a thriving business without a blog. Hell, if you’re a service provider who enjoys building one-on-one relationships and working with fewer clients for longer periods of time, you don’t even need an email list. You can get all the work you need from relationships and referrals. A blog in this case is just going to be a distraction.
Blogging is a long-term strategy
There are definitely short-term benefits from blogging that you’ll get immediately—like building trust with leads quickly, and having content to share with new contacts as a conversation point during the sales process.
But blogging for the purpose of growing an audience takes time. This is a long game, because your efforts build on each other. Even if you’re publishing weekly and focusing on search-optimizing your posts, experts say it can take at least 6 months to see real changes in incoming traffic.
My personal experience agrees with this. The articles I’ve optimized for search start getting a few clicks each day right after publishing, but they don’t really start building steam until the 6 month mark.
And building a significant following? That can take years. Buckle up.
It requires a weekly time commitment
I see a lot of business owners get fired up about finally starting a blog…
Only to lose steam after just a post or two.
And then they sit in that weird limbo where their blog looks painfully empty.
It’s so common! And as the business owner, it’s an uncomfortable place to be. You want to write more, but it just keeps getting pushed down and down your to-do list. And when you finally sit down to write, nothing comes out sounding right.
Partly, this is because you haven’t yet learned how to structure a blog article so you can write it quickly.
But part of it is simply that you’re going in with the wrong expectations.
I first started writing blog posts when I was working in an ad agency. And those blog posts took FOREVER. Not only that, but they were pretty awful. I even got a response once from another internet marketer who systematically disproved each statement I made in one of my articles. Oops.
Writing blog content takes time. When you get started, you’ll probably be much slower at writing than you’d like to be. As a result, you’ll be publishing less often, or shorter articles than you see others posting. That’s okay! That’s part of the process.
But there’s a bright future ahead. Today, I can write up a 2,000+ word article like this one in about 3 hours—2 hours to draft, half an hour to review and revise the next day, and half an hour to upload it to my blog with pictures.
I’m not saying this to brag. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’m telling you this to remind you that writing quickly/well isn’t some inherent talent.
Writing is a skill that you build up over time. And you can absolutely learn how to write faster. But in the meantime, make sure you’re going in with proper expectations.
But real talk… is blogging worth it?
I’ll say this: If you want to…
- Become an authority in your space,
- Build a successful email list,
- And start offering one-to-many offerings like courses, programs, or digital products,
Then yeah. Blogging is absolutely worth your time.
The real question is: Are you willing to get started?
Feature image credit: Les Finances