I’m going to ask you a couple of questions right now and you’re going to pretend you didn’t read the title of this post, so you don’t already have the answers.
What’s the one place where you control your content and what’s done with it?
What’s the place that search engines can send your clients to so that they purchase your services?
Did you guess your blog? Very good.
Of course you already know that it's smart to have a blog, and you post there regularly, right?
The unfortunate fact is, most of you reading this aren’t blogging monthly, let alone weekly or daily.
Occasionally, when I'm speaking to a group of business owners I'll take an informal poll of how many are blogging regularly. If I start with a show of hands for the frequency of blogging, I usually end up with only one person with their hand still up (outside of me) when I get to blogging weekly. That hand usually goes down when I ask who’s writing a few times a week.
The others in the crowd know somewhere deep down that they should be blogging regularly but most just have ‘reasons’ they can’t blog.
Lets call those ‘reasons’ what they really are…excuses.
Sure, maybe one of you has a real reason, like you’re currently not blogging because you’re in a body cast or your spouse is sick and you have to watch the five kids and care for your spouse, so just getting in time for work is a stretch.
The rest of you have no excuse. Face the fact that you’re choosing not to use one of your best marketing vehicles.
You’re choosing to just ‘hope’ that clients come through the door via referrals. But let me tell you there will come a time when those referrals dry up and you’ll have little/nothing to fall back on.
Here are my favourite lame excuses people offer to justify why they're not blogging.
You don’t have time, yet you seem to be able to tweet about six different movies and two TV shows a week, and you've posted pictures of three delicious meals you've eaten out during the week.
The truth is, you choose not to spend your time blogging because it’s simply not important to you.
I’m not saying you should never watch TV or go out, I’m just saying that if you spent one night a week not watching a movie but wrote instead, you’d have a blog post that could push your site forward and speak to your clients.
Yeah I hear you, and I’m slow running up hills. It’s hard and I really don’t like it, though I’m a speed demon downhill and blow away most of the fastest runners I know.
Guess what I’m doing? Practicing running up hills so I get better at it. Guess what will help you have more ideas to write about? Writing.
When I first really dug into making this site helpful for freelancers and didn’t just write about random stuff I worked super hard to come up with a post a week.
As I’m writing this (April 20, 2015) I’ve got posts scheduled for weeks. You will not have seen this series until almost a month after I wrote it. The more I write, the easier writing becomes. The ideas flow and 1,000 words in 30 minutes is not uncommon.
(Tomorrow we’ll talk more about the topics you could be writing about.)
You’re saying that you don’t write because you’re not good at it. Were you a good designer/developer/project manager when you started? Of course you weren’t -- you may have even been terrible at it, but you were interested in it, so you stuck at it and read blogs about it and learned how to be awesome at your craft.
Guess how you’re going to become a better writer? By writing. I have over 1,000 posts on this site, the majority of those written in 2013 and 2014 all about business. I have over 40,000 words posted on my site so far this year, which doesn’t count the book releasing in a few days or the manifesto I released earlier this year.
I’m easily over 50,000 words and it’s the middle of April. All the ‘great writing’ you read here is a result of sitting down and doing it over and over and over.
That’s the only way you’re going to really get awesome at writing as well, by putting in the time.
If you’re looking to jump start yourself on the craft of writing then I’ve got two books to recommend to you.
Just like you read books about your profession (if you don’t read books about how to do your profession better then start now), reading some books about writing will help you become a better writer.
So you blogged for three months at some point and you didn’t get any clients?
That’s like doing the first third of a couch-to-marathon running program and saying that you quit because you couldn't run 26 miles yet.
You didn’t even stick it out at all -- you didn’t really dig in and keep at it. But you wanted results.
That’s pretty typical of small businesses and freelancers. You all want some magic pill that means you bypass the effort required to get massive projects with huge profits.
That’s not how it works. The marketing and blogging you're doing now is for the clients you’re going to get next year.
I can attribute at least two clients a year directly to my blogging efforts. If my average project is now $15,000 then that means I make $30,000 off blogging in a year.
Content marketing (that fancy phrase people use to make blogging sound sexier) is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You need to keep putting in the work now to start seeing results next year, or the year after.
They only reason most of you are reading this is that two years ago I started to make the focus of this site helping people run a better business. If I had stopped when I didn’t see results in the first six months, you wouldn’t be here today, because all the other posts I wrote after that six-month window wouldn’t exist.