Don't throw anything at me. I know you may want to, but please resist the urge, and listen up. I have been blogging since 2000. Back then, it was called “journaling.” I “journaled” quarterly for a few years, until my website designer (who I was paying to update my journals) told me that I might be interested in blogging. After I got over the fact that I hated the word “blog,” I commissioned her to set up my first official blog back in 2003. It was a messy process and I grew to hate it. I mean I hated it.
It was cumbersome. (You think it's cumbersome now? Try 10+ years ago!)
At first, I hated blogging
I didn't know how to re-size images, so my designer did that for me. (For a fee, of course.)
I couldn't figure out how to center them, or left justify them, so she did that too. (More fees.)
Despite the fact that I am never without words, I couldn't think of anything to say at my blog.
And to top it all off, an expert blogger who I asked to share what she thought of my blog, live on my podcast, told me (and everyone listening) that my blog kind of sucked. Yep. I was off to a rip roaring start.
My first Indie Business Blog post
Here is my fist post at this blog. (I had a few others before this one.) No picture, and a question that no one even answered. Yep. Seven years ago, and still, no one has commented. Hint …)
It is not possible that you hate blogging today as much as I hated blogging when I first started. If I can stick it out and see amazing results, then so can you.
Rather than tell you how to blog, I am going to tell you why you should blog. If you know why you are doing something, you are far more likely to actually do it, and stick with it over the long haul — even when you hate it … at least at first.
Let's start with “why”
Here are the top 10 reasons why every handmade entrepreneur should blog regularly.
1. Maintaining a blog develops entrepreneurial discipline
One thing I stress with all of my members and clients, especially those who are new to entrepreneurship, is that you will spend more time marketing and selling your products than you will actually making your products. This comes as a shock to many, but the earlier you accept this as fact, the better. The blogging process helps you embrace the practice of marketing your business faster than anything else. If you can blog regularly (by that, I mean at least twice a week), you can do just about anything else because the blogging process makes it easier to share on all of the other social media marketing platforms.
2. The process of blogging makes your life easier
If you maintain a blog, you always have something to share on social media.
Think about it. If you have a business, you need have a presence on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. A blog can help you be everywhere your customers are by making it easy and efficient for you to share content from one place to multiple places.
Doing this creates opportunities for information about your company to be shared when you are doing something else. It's a powerful feather in your cap, and it works for you year after year after year.
3. Blogging helps you organize your thoughts
When you write things down, you are able to weed through a zillion thoughts to get to the heart of the matter. As you write about a particular topic you plan to share with your customers and fans, you'll be simultaneously challenging yourself to cut to the chase. As you do this, you create content that is more relevant and easier for your customers to read and digest. Editing a blog post down from “everything you want to say” to “everything that needs to be said” is a great way to constantly hone your niche and solidify your brand message.
4. Blogging helps you improve your mood and reduces stress
You are an entrepreneur. You are under constant stress as a result (not to mention all the other stress in your life). While at first, blogging may be a stressful exercise, in time, the process of writing on a regular basis will likely make you happier and less stressed out. The happier and less stressed you are, the more efficient and effective you become in all parts of life.
5. A well maintained blog increases visits to your website
(Make sure your blog is integrated into your main website.) According to HubSpot, 80% of marketers (you are a “marketer,” if you have a small business) reported that their social media efforts increased traffic to their website. (See the study details here).
Thousands of studies through the years have shown the same thing. If you want more people to come to your website, use a blog (and social media as described above) to attract them there.
6. A blog helps to optimize your site for search engines
Search engines like new content. They do not like moldy, dusty content. Why? Because people don't like moldy, dusty content. People want the latest and most relevant information to enhance their lives.
The more you update your website, the fresher the content will be, and search engines (including Granddaddy Google) index your site accordingly.
The more your site is updated with fresh, relevant content, the higher it will rank on the Web. The easiest, most cost effective way to leverage this is to maintain a blog.
7. To engage your customers around common interests
A great example of this is Lenny Baskin over at Ink Butter, a tattoo after care product. Lenny scours the world to find the work of tattoo artists so he can share their art at his blog and on his Facebook page — which is 24,000+ strong.
Raving tattoo fans like, share and comment on the pictures, all while being subtly reminded that every new tattoo must be followed up with some kind of moisturizer following the tattoo. (And where can you get that? From Lenny, of course! Just click here!”
8. To showcase your expertise and authority
Anne-Marie Esposito at Sparklefly Candles makes and sells sparkle stones, a fragrant alternative to traditional candles. Her blog shares a variety of interesting things, including tips for using fragrance and seasonal decor to brighten your home. Women who are interested in home decor (and what woman is not?) can enjoy tips from someone who spends hundreds of hours a year researching the best colors and fragrances for the home … all the while being reminded that a great home decor product is just a click away at her blog.
9. To showcase your personality.
Want people to like your products? Help them like you first. That's right. Your personal brand and how you manage, embrace and share it at your blog can help you attract new customers. One of our members, Danielle Vincent of Outlaw Soaps, does a great job of this at her blog.
Humor targeted at her niche. Pink hair. A dog. Huge sunflowers. An “unreadable” post. It's pretty incredible. You don't have to have pink hair or a dog to do this. Finding your voice is part of the journey. The point is that people (me included) will visit Danielle's site just to see what new and exciting things she is up to. That alone, multiplied by the thousands of people who will do the same over the years, is reason enough to blog.
10. To pave the way for new opportunities
When you maintain a blog, people can see a more well rounded picture of your business. When that happens, you can attract new and more exciting opportunities. For example, our members Wonderland Organics and Sparklefly recently used their blogs to introduce each other to people they would not otherwise meet. Sparklefly blogged about Wonderland, and Wonderland blogged about Sparklefly.
Of course they shared each others posts, and now, they are featured in this blog. I and others will see and share this blog post, and over time, the whole thing will begin to feed itself. This is what you call leverage, and you cannot get enough of it if you are a Handmade Entrepreneur.
11. So you don't have to rely on Facebook and other third party-owned tools
I know I said there were 10 reasons, but consider this a bonus. A very important bonus.
No matter what you do on Facebook, Pinterest and all the rest, those sites are owned by third parties who can take them away tomorrow. If they don't take them away, they can change them so much that you get little to no use out of them anymore. This is a risk we all take of course, but it's a much bigger risk if you do not have a blog to attract people if and when the third party sites don't work for you anymore.
Your blog is the cake. Twitter and all the rest are the icing. If the cake is good, you won't have to worry. The icing can always be scraped off.
Best and Success!