You have a Facebook page, you’ve grown your fan base and lots of people follow you on Twitter. You spend an hour every day posting updates, tweeting, and commenting.
You may be asking yourself, “How could I possibly find the time to start a blog? And what would I get out of it, anyway?”
Well, I am here to tell you that blogging is for everyone — yes, that means you!
Why Blogging is Better
What makes blogging different from other forms of social media? There is one huge advantage to starting a blog, and that has to do with owning your online presence.
Facebook and Twitter may be popular platforms, but they are owned by huge corporations that can change the rules any time they want to.
I once had my Facebook profile removed, and I could not even get a customer service rep to tell me why.
And we have all experienced the whimsical changes that Facebook imposes with regularity for no apparent reason.
By starting your own blog, you will create a communication hub that is entirely within your control, and that can grow with you as you expand your online presence.
By the way, don’t think this tip is just for business owners. As you will see in the sections that follow, many people have started blogs to express their creativity or share their hobbies…only to find that they grew into a full-fledged business sometime down the road.
So, what are my top 3 reasons for starting a blog?
1. To Create the Brand of You
We all play many roles in life … but a blog is the place where you get to create the persona that you want to share with the online world. You may be a mother, teacher, friend, and helpmate at home…but on your blog you get to be a celebrated athlete, creative artist, or nutritional consultant.
Some people create this persona to attract customers to their primary business. This works best if you have a narrow field of expertise and you have products or services that can help people with specific needs. One good example is Ali Brown, who brands herself as “The Entrepreneurial Guru for Women.”
As you can see, Ali’s photo is prominent everywhere — on her blog, her website, her Facebook fan page, and other social media sites. In essence, Ali embodies her company’s services…they are one and the same, even though she has many assistants who help her produce content, market and disseminate her work.
I think the best example of someone who = his brand is Seth Godin. His website lets you know that he is a best-selling author. But if you look at the titles of his books, they do not necessarily tell you what he has to offer.
Click the cool link on the top of his bald head, and you will go to Seth’s blog…one of the most widely read blogs on the internet. Here he writes on a broad variety of subjects…many of which don’t seem to have any relationship to each other. Still, thousands of people read him every day … and eventually you figure out that most of his posts have something to do with business and marketing.
So go ahead and figure out your brand. What do you want to communicate to the world about you? This is no place to be timid. Express your personality and you will attract readers who resonate with what you have to offer.
2. To Share Your Knowledge & Expertise
Another great reason to start a blog is to share what you have to offer to the world. With this kind of website, you share content generously and freely…so that you become the “go-to” expert in your chosen field.
You can do this for love or for money … or ideally for both.
A good example is Donna Hull, author of My Itchy Travel Feet,” a travel blog for baby boomers. Donna and photographer husband Alan Hull travel the world recording their travel experiences with words, photos, and videos so that you’ll know exactly what to expect. Their journeys include both domestic and international destinations, luxury cruising, road trips and active adventures such as jeep rides in Colorado, New Zealand jet boating and hot air ballooning over Utah.
Now they have put their top recommendations together into an e-book, “My Itchy Travel Feet Breathtaking Adventures,” to share their favorite breathtaking adventures. Their goal? To get boomers off the couch and out into the world.
Donna and Al have become the go-to experts for boomer travelers. Their passion for travel and adventure shines through in every post, and they don’t skimp on the free travel advice and tips. Along they way, their blog also makes a few extra dollars to fuel their passion. That is what we call a win-win situation.
Another fun example is the blog “3 Fat Chicks on a Diet”. 3FC began as a personal source of diet support for sisters Suzanne, Jennifer, and Amy in 1997. Their blog got so many visitors that it was acquired by Internet Brands in 2010. Although it has gone corporate, it continues to provide a supportive, free weight loss community with a forum and free member blogs. But what sets this blog apart is the amazing amount of free content…everything from reviews of the latest diets to fitness tips and regimens to hundreds of yummy recipes. 3FC now makes money by advertising related diet and nutritional products, but nothing detracts from the tons of free advice and camaraderie available on the bl
3. To Cultivate a Loyal Tribe
You know how you love to hang around with your best friends? Imagine you could expand that network to talk to people all over the world who share your passions?
Look no further. You can start your own virtual community on your blog. By encouraging comments, you can start a dialogue that connects people with you and with one another. You can even start a membership site where like-minded people sign up to participate in conversations and activities that they care about.
One good example is “Self Growth.com.” Literally millions of people around the world are passionate about personal development, and many of them have joined the Self Growth community. With more than 25,000 experts and 400,000 resources, this has to be one of the largest tribes of like-minded people on the planet.
The kind of meeting place you design is limited only by your imagination. Take “Cafe Mom” for example. This is an online community where millions of moms meet each day to talk, share advice, make new friends, and play games. It’s fun, it’s free and for moms only!
Just about anything you are interested in, you can find a virtual tribe to connect with. And it is oh so simple to start your very own tribe using a blogging platform.
Once you connect a group of like-minded people, there is no telling where it could lead.
What about You?
If you have a blog, I would love to hear what your blog has done for you, either personally or professionally. Please leave me a comment with your link and I will be sure the check it out!