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March 25, 2010What’s the point of blogging?

My car is a bit of an unsung hero. I drive a beat up old Mercedes W202, and I probably love that car more than I’ve ever loved any woman. She’s never let me down and she’s no plans to leave me for a richer man. She’s survived two crashes where lesser cars have perished. Having said that, she’s looking a little rough around the edges these days and probably can’t do any better than the handsome young copywriter she’s currently hitched to.

Anyway, between personal, family and business reasons, I’ve clocked up several thousand miles in her this month. As I scraped another pothole, I said to my passenger, “we’ve really got to stop and put some air in these tyres.”

You can’t charge for fresh air.

My friend said “it’s twenty pence at Tesco to use the air machine now.” So I drove another mile to the next petrol station. While I was there I filled the tank. A transaction putting two hundred times more than twenty pence in the petrol station’s coffers.

The point of my anecdote?

Some things are better off given away for free. By trying to charge me a nominal sum for something that’s effectively free elsewhere, they lost out on a much more valuable transaction.

Information is a little like air.

Sure, you can charge for it. But the chances are, unless you’re a university professor, you don’t make your living out of it. The chances are you know a lot about what you do. If you’re a baker, I bet you know some great cake recipes. But you don’t make a living selling the recipes. You make a living selling cakes.

That’s why a blog is a great place to give away information and get people interested in what you’re really selling. It seems like common sense, but it still amazes me how many people aren’t interested in giving out information. They want their blog to be a sales pitch. It isn’t. Or else they want to charge for the content. Why? It’s the internet. Sooner or later, you’ll find the information you’re looking for. For free.

The blogs I read the most very rarely tout for business. They’re the air pumps at the petrol station. They’re a service given away for free.

Sound pretty basic to you? It is. But it’s amazing how many people still don’t blog regularly. Here’s a few good reasons to blog:

  • People will be more likely to recognise your authority on your subject. Give away great recipes to try at home? Then people are going to be more likely to think you bake great cakes.
  • The personal touch. The internet can seem pretty impersonal. By blogging regularly, you’re letting potential customers get to know you better, increasing the chances of a conversion or a sale. Your blog should never be dry. Your blog should convey you as well as your ideas.
  • Keywords, keywords, keywords. The more you blog about things relevant to your business, the more keyword-rich pages you’ll have showing up in Google. Update your blog once a week and in six weeks you’ve doubled the size of a six page portfolio site.
  • Traffic. If you write well enough, people will keep on coming back. More than that, you can use your blog as a place to test out new ideas about your business. For example, I recently asked my readers if they thought I should be on Twitter. They didn’t. So I’m not.

But, you say… “I just don’t like the idea of giving away something for free! It’s a lot of hard work and I’m still not convinced I’ll get anything out of it.”

Most people are stuck in the real-world mindset that something-for-nothing is a bad deal. On the internet, it’s the only deal
.

It’s why pay-walls around traditional newspaper sites never work. Like my earlier example, I’ll drive an extra mile to avoid the very small charge — and end up spending a lot more elsewhere.

Draw people in with your blog. You don’t need to sell them something directly.

Your blog is the biggest and best publicity tool in your arsenal.

It’s the best marketing strategy you’ve got.

You should be updating it more.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 25th, 2010 at 1:12 pm and is filed under Blog, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 comments

  1. An eloquent call to action for all those currently abusing their blogs with dry press releases and other unimpassioned drivel.

  2. la creme says:

    Isn’t it sad to love a car more than a woman??

  3. al says:

    Depends on the car. And the woman.

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