Episode 001: Making Your Blog Work For You Instead of Against You
I remember the very first blog I started — it was in 2008, had nothing to do with interior design, and was hosted on Blogspot. It was a lifestyle & entertainment blog, before lifestyle & entertainment blogs were even a thing — well before they were what they are now, I should say, because they definitely were a thing!
This blog was supposed to be a way to showcase my marketing & writing skills. I’d started it, with the help of 2 of my friends — all of us pursuing careers in marketing — and I remember it being SO. MUCH. WORK.
Our “mission statement” was that we were “an avant-garde of young marketers and business professionals who have translated their passion for and knowledge of marketing into an exceptional multi-facetted society & entertainment blog for the public. We fuse information dissemination with creative marketing tactics in order to highlight your life.”
After a year, we migrated the blog to Wordpress; and after two years, the blog came to a screeching halt, as we each pursued separate paths.
Five years later, while in the midst of a career crisis — stay in retail merchandising or pivot to interior design — I was also expecting our daughter. So like many (if not most) new moms across the globe, I started a mommy blog, sharing product reviews & home tips for first time moms like me who were out here, just winging it.
That blog was also on Wordpress, and was admittedly, pretty short lived — motherhood is hard & time consuming & exhausting…shocker!
But all wasn’t lost, because the good news with this blog was that I was able to repurpose a lot of my previous content on what would eventually became my new interior design blog aka the obligatory tab on my website.
This became where I was going to teach all the people all the things so they’d hire me. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do right?
Now, a decade-ish later from that very first blog, I have a blog that’s independent of my design business, but that also supports my design business, and for anyone wondering, it’s on Squarespace.
Why am I sharing my blogger resume with you?
Because I’ve seen how blogging has evolved firsthand. I’ve seen how it can be super rewarding & worth every second you invest into it, and I’ve also seen how it can just drain you of all your creative juices with no ROI.
I’ve seen the difference between your blog working for you and your blog working against you.
My first blog, def worked for us!
It got me press passes into events, brand collaborations & free swag, and interviews with people who would otherwise never know who I am. We were also even able to bring in some income hosting events & selling ad spots. Yes, it was A LOT of work, but the ROI for 3 twenty-somethings fresh out of college was totally worth it. And I’ll be honest — some of the connections I made during that time, ended up serving me for YEARS to come!
While I won’t say my first time mommy blog “worked against” me — I try to find the purpose or lesson in everything I do — I can say it definitely wasn’t working for me. It was something to do, and yes I was passionate, but there was no actual long game in place.
Now in my business, I’ve definitely seen both sides of the coin —
The first iteration of the Albie Knows blog was a blog for blogging sake, if we’re being honest here. It didn’t serve me at all — yeah, I got a few people on my email list, but in hindsight, they weren’t my “ideal customer” — it was just a lot of time invested in creating content I didn’t really care about for people who weren’t even there!
My blog, as it stands now, accounts for essentially fifty percent of my business. I’ve been able to leverage being both a designer and a blogger into landing huge opportunities. With an actual strategies in place for my business, content, and SEO — nothing too fancy, but just enough ya know — I can confidently say my blog is definitely working for me!
And as it continues to grow, it’s something that has evolved from just a tab on my website to having its own identity.
So how do you know if your blog is working for you or against you —
Do you actually enjoy blogging — and not just the writing, but writing, brainstorming to content ideas, creating graphics, taking photos, editing… I’m talking about all the moving parts that make a blog post, a blog post. Yes, these are all tasks you can outsource but before you get to a place of paying someone to do it for you, is it something you can see yourself doing or do you dread even the thought of it? Because if it’s something you DREAD, no matter how much it may eventually grow, it will be working against you because you won’t be happy doing it.
Are people reading your blog — not to say you need to have tens of thousands of readers flocking to your site, but are there actual eyeballs on the content you’re creating or are you just adding more noise to an already crowded internet? Whether it’s by Pinterest, other social shares, or great SEO, you need to get readers. And they need to be getting some kind of genuine value — not just noise — from your blog.
Is your blog generating income — be it directly on indirectly, your blog needs to be helping your bottom line, because, as I’ve already said, blogging is not the easiest task, much less on top of running a business. So directly, your blog can be bringing in money with ad revenue, sponsored content, and/or affiliate marketing; and indirectly, it’s supporting your business by establishing you as an authority, promoting your paid services/products, and getting people to hire and/or buy from you.
Does your blog have a purpose — is it something you started to maybe educate your audience or to share behind the scenes of your business? Is it a place where you get a little bit more personal or is it more of a resource? What’s the point of your blog — the point for you and the point for readers? Because without an actual point, we’re back to you just adding noise to the internet, and no one needs that.
Now I challenge you to be honest with yourself — is your blog working for you or against you?
If it’s the former, good for you! Continue to build on that, because I imagine it’s only working for you because you’ve learned what works & what doesn’t, and you’ve adjusted accordingly. But if it’s the latter, I want you to really think about why that is & what you can do about it. The last thing you need in your business is something weighing it down…like a blog.
Here are some ways/reasons your blog is working against you and what you can do about it —
You’re getting good, maybe even great traffic but writing for your blog takes up a lot of your time, not really leaving room for other areas of your business or leaving you burnt out.
Solution: batch creating, repurposing content, and/or hiring an assistant.
If you find yourself writing on a daily basis — whether or not you actually publish daily — a batching schedule will allow you to designate time for just writing...or creating graphics...or whatever it is you need to do in bulk.
Repurposing content may look different for you depending on your situation so first really think through if you’re constantly creating new content with intention or just putting more stuff out there just for the heck of it. What post can you refresh? What freebie can promote alongside an IG post? What pins can you schedule & loop? Look at your content with an open mind and see you you’re just reinventing the wheel every time.
While an assistant may not be able to take over all you tasks, there are probably some you can easily hand off — renaming and compressing image files, formatting, scheduling publishing times, confirming interviews, proofreading drafts... and so many other options. If there’s room in the budget, hire that ish out.
It doesn’t take up much of your time or interfere with business but it also has very little value add — it hasn’t brought it any revenue, you haven’t built a community of loyal fans, and/or it’s not generating actual leads. Your blog is just a place on your site where you occasionally write things.
Solution: consider monetizing your blog and/or incorporating more evergreen content related to your services.
This will vary depending on your business model but these days you have so many options from doing paid, sponsored content, incorporating affiliate marketing in your content, and or creating digital products from your content that you can now sell to support your services — I.e. downloadable products.
Along the same lines of creating digital products, what can you create that’s already part of what you’ve created. Maybe you have an amazing compilation of dining room related posts. How can you package this up to create maybe an e-book on pulling off the perfect dining room — from measurements to tablescaping? Or maybe you’ve created so much content on DIY renovations that you can create a course for new homeowners who want to remodel on a budget.
Rather than continuing to produce blog posts, you can now have these evergreen products or series as part of your audience journey.
These are just a few suggestions so I’d love to hear whether or not you think your blog is working for you or against you — if you blog. And if it’s not working for you, share why you think that is & what you plan to do about it.
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Talk to you soon!