Should I Blog, You Ask

A client recently asked, “So, should I blog?”

And of course, I blurted out “Well, heck ya’, baby!”

I knew it was wrong the second it left my lips, but like gum on pavement, once out, it can’t go back in. I didn’t answer the question right. This blog entry is dedicated to a more thoughtful reply.

Consider Your Ability

The answer to “should I blog” should not be based on ability. If you can’t write, though don’t write… long.

Writing is a skill that comes to anyone in time. It can be learned. You’re Should I Blognot stupid, but if you think you’re not Hemmingway, don’t pretend to be Hemmingway. Give yourself time to go slow.

Consider writing a single paragraph (50 words or so) each week that is carefully crafted and critiqued by next of kin on a topic you deeply care about. Post it. Look at the reaction. Do it again.

Create a habit that stretches beyond six months and you will naturally write longer. You will naturally read more and compare your style with others. You will naturally improve.

However, if, still, writing a blog entry is like pulling nose hair, don’t do it. Hire it done or invest in other marketing tactics. Your time can be better spent.

Consider Your Readership

Answering “should I blog” should be related to how much of an audience you want. Until you have at least a few hundred subscribers (say, 500 to 1,000), marketing will be an additional commitment.

With so few readers, you will be screaming in the desert. You won’t have enough links to your blog, and you won’t have enough people who will share and repost. If you want an audience, you must build an audience and split your time between marketing and writing. Ideas?

  • Post on someone else’s blog. As a guest blogger, you leverage someone else’s traffic to drive traffic to your site.
  • Invite a guest blogger: See above, but with the added benefits of building rank by leveraging someone else’s notoriety.
  • Push for PR: After a blog entry, work your contacts and the media with PR and email.

Regardless of your tactics to build traffic, building traffic takes time and will take time away from writing your blog. Plan accordingly.

Consider Your Quality

Of course, to answer “should I blog” should follow “do I have something to say?”

Good stories rely on good ideas. This takes time. My goodness, does this take time. But it takes a lot less time than writing two pages of dirt and then hitting the delete button.

How do you create great ideas?

I like the Seinfeld example. Early in his career, Seinfeld decided on success. To be successful, he realized that he had to do a standup show two or three times a week. To do that, he had to have great ideas for new jokes. And, to do that, he had to write, one hour a day, everyday.

Creativity is a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it. If quality writing is an issue, publish less and write more. Good ideas will come.

Consider Your Formula

Answering “should I blog” means having a method to your madness.

For me, I blog to get my thoughts straight and to market my company. It helps. You’re reading my fruits. I generally research and read on a topic for a few days before I write. I outline with headings and bullets. I determine my keywords. I try to write once a week.

Fashion blog in your future? Your formula may (will) include pictures, which take time to shoot and reshoot and edit. Then, you’ll need to write on your photographs and push all this public with a designer’s flair.

Product blog? More research, plus issues around photos and copyright, plus links to current product.

Corporate blog? Writing, photos, plus ample time for reviews, critiques, and approvals. And meetings. God awful meetings.

See my point? Your winning formula won’t be my winning formula. You need to consider your resources and audience. Create a formula that makes your time generate a quality blog entry, every time.

Consider Your Own Answer

Finally, answering “should I blog” means time, your time.

Does your schedule include the time to write and research? Blogging works to build an audience and create a market that didn’t before exist. It really does. So, “heck ya”, go for it if you have the time and resources, but really think if you have that time.

I generally spend 4 hours a week to write one entry, plus time to read. You might be faster. You might be slower.

You want to do it right, and you don’t want to stop midstream. Gathering ideas, building an audience, and writing – all this takes time.

“Should I blog?” you ask again.

Well, I guess that’s up to you.