I talk to a LOT of people on a weekly basis about online marketing and publishing, and certain commonalities begin to reveal themselves.
Many of my clients, even though they are blog post READERS, are very intimidated by the idea of being blog post WRITERS. Or even having a blog, because of the fear that the comments section will degenerate into a flame war free-for-all like CNN.
I’m here to disabuse you of several misconceptions.
Misconception #1: The word “blog” is magical and scary.
No. The fact is, millions of people around the world read blog posts, without even thinking about the fact that they are reading them on a “blog.”
(A blog is the whole thing. A post is a single article. So you don’t “write a blog,” you “write a POST to put ON your blog,” but I digress.)
There are a few of us out here who follow entire “blogs,” for fun and profit. For years I avidly followed (and still recommend) Copyblogger. I also follow my friend and client Jay Fleischman’s blog at LegalPracticePro. Anything that guy writes, I’m going to want to read.
But that’s rare. Most of us do a Google search for some information, and we find an “article” about the topic, which we read. If the writer is clever, they’ll find ways with design and content to keep us reading MORE – but usually, we’re not thinking of ourselves as “blog readers.” We are “information seekers,” and a vast majority of that information lives in a format known as a “blog post.”
Misconception #2: If I have a blog, I’ll be buried in comments to moderate.
We all WISH that were the case. But the fact of the matter is, if you have a B2B or B2C website, odds are it’s not going to be a hotbed of animated discussion, like a news, tech, or even humor site would be. Ninety-nine percent of commenters are going to be spammers looking to drop a backlink onto thousands of websites like yours.
For that reason, most of the time? We don’t even keep comments open on our client’s blogs. They’re just too much of a headache. Instead, we encourage readers to comment on the socials – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. For the most part, content “discussions” have moved from individual blogs to social media.
The reason? If you comment on an individual blog post, most of your friends, influencers, and colleagues will never see it. You’re a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it. But if you share it on the socials, the people YOU care about sharing the information with, along with, occasionally, your opinion on it, will see it. So most blog comments are now just spam bait.
We work with our clients to make sure they get the most out of their content – and that’s usually not happening with comments.
Misconception #3: I’ll have no idea what to write on a “blog.”
Do you know what we call the blog on most websites we design? We call it “Articles.”
The reason we do this is because you can have a “blog” about your dog, or your garden patch, or your stamp collection. But professionals, like you and me? We publish ARTICLES.
We publish articles in professional journals, local news outlets, et cetera, and all a blog is is an online publishing platform RIGHT THERE ON YOUR WEBSITE, with your contact info and “why you should now hire me because I’m so expertly” pitch.
So anything you’d publish in a journal to contribute to someone ELSE’S content – INCLUDING those questions you’re answering over on Avvo – should be going on YOUR blog. Actually, if it’s a journal article, it can probably be broken into half a dozen blog posts.
Your blog can replace your “monthly newsletter,” that thing that hangs over your head and only actually goes out about twice a year. Because it’s EASY.
So. Ignore the fact that it’s this thing called a “blog.”
Write stuff that’s useful to your potential customers, clients, colleagues.
Tell the socials you published a thing.
That is all.