Forgive me if this post seems a bit self-congratulatory. It’s not
meant to be. But as a great writer once said, write what you know. And
what I know is this:
When I entered the world of blogging in October 2004, no one outside
my immediate circle had any clue who I was. Today, not seven months
since my first post, my ideas and ramblings are read by hundreds of
people every day. My site is linked to by people from around the globe.
I’ve been asked to comment on marketing plans, and have won a number of
jobs directly as a result of my blog. This company
is a direct extension of my personal experience with blogging. I’ve had
the smallest taste of its potential, and I want to share it with you.
a brand is a collection of experiences related to a thing
A brand is not a logo, although your logo is a part
of your brand. A brand is not advertising, although that too is an
important aspect of it. Rather your brand is the sum of all of your
thoughts, feelings, and experiences related to any one thing.
In my case, my brand is based on 3 things: my work (the finished
product), my interactions with my clients, and my blog. Let’s assume for
a moment that my work and my client relationships are good. Which of
these 3 things has the greatest impact on the value of my brand? My
blog. Big time. Here’s why.
Reach, Authority, and Trust
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first; the internet has huge
reach. Without my blog, you wouldn’t be reading my words right now. You
know the drill.
Authority is far more interesting. In business, we are pressed for
time, money, and energy. If we are engaging someone to provide a
service, we want that experience to be beneficial and efficient. We want
the service provider to know what she’s doing. When we recently
renovated our house (don’t get me started), we interviewed lots of contractors, looked at lots of portfolios, and checked lots of references. It was a pain in the ass. But necessary in order to establish who had the highest authority in his field.
Blogs make this much easier. They do this in a number of ways. I’m
not going to get into all of them right now. Some of the reasons are
technical, and I’ll get into them at a later date. But the essence has
to do with links. The more authority you have on a subject, the more
incoming links (people linking to your site) you will have. Period.
Human nature makes this so. More incoming links means you get more
traffic. This is good. More people reading your writing gives you more
credibility; more authority.
Having authority makes it easier for people to decide to a) believe
you [aside: biting tongue to keep political jokes out] and b) buy from
you. Authority is good. Blogs can build or grow your authority.
Trust is also an interesting topic. We are very wary beings, hesitant
to dole out our trust. Blogs have the unintended potential to build
trust. How? Two ways. First, the internet is incredibly self-healing. If
I make a false statement online, odds are high that someone will call
me on it. If I’m consistently wrong, all those incoming links that were
helping me establish my authority will disappear.
Second, trust is earned through consistency. Every article I post to
my blog adds to my archives. As a new visitor, you have access to
everything I’ve posted, allowing you to get up to speed with me in a
short period of time. This is partially why its so important to start
Blogs create intimacy
In my case, there are only three main components to my brand. You may
have many more. Regardless, a blog is an incredibly powerful branding
tool. Blog writers and readers form intimate
relationships based on frequency, honesty, and feedback. Blog readers
are open to information – that’s why they’re reading you, after all.
Because they are open, you have the opportunity to make a deep, lasting
impression. We’re not talking about an ad on the side of a moving bus
here. We’re talking about 10 minutes spent concentrating on what you’ve
written and what other readers have to say.
Can you see where I’m going with this? Blogs are extremely
powerful. They should be treated as such, with the proper investment and
care. Blogging is not for everyone. In an upcoming article I’ll write
about who shouldn’t blog. There are rules and etiquette
to follow too. Until you’re established, the blogosphere can be an
unforgiving place. The purpose of this new business is to help business
people make the most of their blogging investment. Blogging takes time,
and time costs a lot more than money.
I’ve had a hard time staying on topic with this post. I have so many
things to say they’re all trying to jump out at once. If I’ve piqued
your interest, please consider subscribing to my rss feed by clicking on
the buttons at left, or clicking here to be notified when new articles are posted.
Thanks very much for reading,