We received an email this week from a Registered Massage Therapist,
asking how blogging could help his business. It’s actually been a while
since I’ve answered that question, and I’m interested to see how my
outlook on blogging for business has changed in the past year.
For a point of reference, I give you A Guide to Business Blogging, written by yours truly almost exactly 12 months ago.
There’s an exuberance to that document that is not present today. For
one, it’s insanely hot and humid this week. For another, I’ve
experienced a darker side to blogging – one I hadn’t been aware of when I
wrote my Guide.
So, let’s take a look at the question: how can blogging help our RMT’s business?
To start, we’ve got to establish what it is this fellow wants to get
out of his marketing efforts. Is he looking to grow a new business? Does
he work for someone else, but want to grow his clientele? Does he want
to change the nature of his practice (for example he may want to promote
his specialty in sports rehab or motor vehicle accidents)?
Blogging can have a significant impact on all of these, but the strategy may differ according to the desired outcome.
Next I’d explain to him that blogging is in its essence a networking
tool. It’s a way to make qualified connections based on trust and
relationships. It’s a doorway to unexpected opportunities. It’s the most
cost effective information distribution system ever created. It’s also a
lot of work.
I’d show him that blogging at its best is a conversation between the
writer and reader. But it’s not any old conversation. Remember the old
shampoo ad where the woman says “So I told two friends”, and her friends
say “And I told two friend”, and those friends say etc etc? Well
blogging is like that – only it’s “So I told 247 friends”. You do the
“And what’s more”, I’d say to him, “that conversation will be around forever.”
Then things would get quiet, fast. [aside: It’s an interesting
psychological experiment to observe what happens next. The paranoid and
quick tempered start to get all twitchy. The marketers think
“woooooooowwww. This conversation will have a geometric effect that
lasts (and potentially increases) over time.”] This is one of the dark
sides of blogging. It is literally true that what you write on your blog
will probably be around and accessible for ages to come (optimist
“This means”, I’d explain next, “that you want to make sure you’re
ready to commit the time before you see the results.” If not, your half
baked attempt at being useful to your audience failed. Not so good.
Because you do have to offer something of value to your audience. You will be fighting for eyeballs in a world with billions of distractions a mouse-click away. It takes good content – something they can use – to earn an audience. And it takes consistency to keep that audience.
With a commitment to a couple of hours per week though, I believe our RMT can build a network of the people he wants to be talking to.
In the following parts, I’m going to review a couple of possible
scenarios, and demonstrate how blogging can help our guy meet his goals.
I’m going to start each scenario with a list of blogging effects,
ranked from most to least important as it relates to the goal. I’ll then
review those effects.