How many times have you been asked a question – personal, professional or business, to which your mind simply goes blank? Profound or simple – it’s a question that you’ve never given much – if any, thought to. In fact, it may be the first time the question has been asked!
When this happens to me; it usually means I have stepped out into something to which I think I know a great deal – when in reality, I’ve never given it much thought. Take blogging for instance. . .
It was a warm sunny July 1, 2007 when I sat down at a new laptop to write my first blog. I didn’t have a clue about the specifics of blog writing; I just knew I had a talent for writing, so I never really thought about learning the particulars before I launched that summer Wednesday morning.
I just started to write. I had a framework in mind and knew that blogging was the way to build the business that hovered uppermost in my mind and that to blog was to build an audience and get some necessary recognition. Other than that – my mind was blank.
Those early posts were well over 1000 words. I just went on and on and on. Then I read that optimum length for a blog was 500 – 700 words – at the most! I tired, but simply couldn’t say what I wanted to say in 700 words; let alone 500.
I share this piece of history to set the stage for some thoughts on blogging as it relates to women in micro-business. Women who have been told that one way to gain an audience and grow a business is to blog. Truth be known – it is! But there are many layers to blogging, just as there are to business as a whole!
1. Do you know who you want to be? When I sat to write the 1st blog, I had only a vague idea of what I wanted to accomplish business-wise. I had no idea who I was or wanted to be as a blogger. I didn’t have a plan – an “editorial calendar” so to speak. I simply sat down, prayed for direction, creativity and inspiration and began to write.
Most importantly, I didn’t know how to make the blog fit into a strategic plan for the business concept that continued to “hover“. Other than writing to gain an audience and be found in the rapidly growing blogosphere; I had no idea how to connect my blog to the outcome I wanted for a business!
2. Does your audience know who you are and want to be? Do you know what you want to accomplish? Unless your ultimate business outcome is as a blogger – with visions of millions of followers who pay to read everything you write; your blog is only one piece of a multi-faceted-and-layered business plan! It’s a marketing tool that may sometimes serve as a vehicle of sales. It’s a way of introducing yourself personally, as well as professionally.
Most importantly, it’s a way to build trust with an audience who may never meet you face to face! That “trust” is because you share enough of who you are as a woman with comfortable transparency and authenticity. And occasionally, you take the risk of opening up to others with considerable vulnerability.
A perfect example of transparency, authenticity and vulnerability is well-known television news anchor, Greta Van Susteran. Her facebook page is littered with personal posts. It even included ongoing sharing of her angst proceeding, during and following her husband’s open-heart surgery. She even asked her audience to share our experiences if we had been through a similar experience with a loved one. We know her dogs and cats by name. We feel she is our personal friend although most will never meet her in person – let alone hang out with her. Does such an approach to social media and blogging accomplish what she desires? Well if her desire is to increase the viewing audience – then I can guarantee her approach is successful!
Oh, and she does at times respond to comments made in her thread. If Greta does it with her busy schedule; do you think those of us lesser-knowns can do the same? One would think so. . .
3. Does your reader know what it is you do – and what you want to accomplish? Chances are if I don’t know; then my reader doesn’t either. That is not license to make every blog content about your business, i.e. a not-so-veiled sales pitch. It is license to write from your area of expertise and the business goal you want to accomplish.
For instance, if you want to be a mentor to a specific audience; then your blog should consistently reflect that. It should on a regular basis, include comments about previous mentoring experiences that let your audience know your experience, expertise and success. And it should be plain as day that your business is that of mentor (or coach) to a specific audience. And not just in a tagline at the bottom of the post.
4. Know before you go! Know what you want to accomplish. Know your business “why, what and how“. Know how you want your blog to fit into an overall business plan-strategy and why. Know the specific “niche” audience you want to attract; learn all you can about them and then write to them and for them.
And the “to them” means you take off the business mask about 80% of the time to be yourself. When you do so; the other 20% which represents your business persona will take care of itself.
5. Finally, Be patient with the process – I know that we all know this. But letting the process unfold is an entirely different matter. Social media of which blogging is one aspect is a crowded world. It takes time to be found, seen, heard and read. It takes a team – a ‘community’, to help you do so. It takes a willingness to help each other.
And it takes time – period! If you don’t have the time – or don’t want to take the time; then don’t start down the road called “blogging”. Nothing kills our efforts more than lack of consistency in anything we do – especially blogging.
So turning a coin on one of my favored expressions – know before you go, know if you are willing to commit to the powerhouse that is blogging before you ever unleash its engine!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
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Greta Van Susteran Image: From Greta Van Susteran Public Figure
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://neighborhoodboutiques.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I have a ‘fiery’ passion to see women become all they are designed to be – personally, professionally and most of all – spiritually. I write, teach, mentor and coach with that passion in mind. As an author and prolific blogger, I reach out to women in all walks of life, especially women of faith to empower and equip them for greatness. [/author_info] [/author]