Coming up in this week’s newsletter:
- I do my best to talk you out of blogging for you business.
- Advice on where to spend your time.
- In the coaching corner, how to develop new managers and become a better one yourself.
With many businesses rushing to develop their digital channels as their marketing tactic of choice, mostly out of fear of being left behind, you will find some common themes in recommendations from experts. I’ve seen a lot of the same advice over the years with most of it being for large businesses, but targeted at small, local ones.
I’m here to say you might not need a blog, Facebook/Instagram, or even a newsletter.
Those three things are often the first pieces of advice you’ll read on any site or recommendations from a “marketer”. The advice always goes like this:
- Start blogging and do it consistently.
- Start all your social media accounts and publish like crazy.
- Write a newsletter and start sending it to your email database.
Hear me out, there are dozens of reasons to do this. But there are just as many to not… do this. This week’s newsletter is about blogging and why you may not need it. This is the first of three parts (the list above) and perhaps a fourth on why you may not even need a website.
Let me explain.
Blogging: A hard-to-measure investment
The timeless classic. The recommendation is that you should have a blog and have consistent content publishing to it. Many marketing agencies will offer this first, saying this is the place to start.
I have lots of opinions about this, but I don’t want to turn this into a 5,000 word essay. I’m going to try to boil this down as much as possible.
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Successfully blogging takes time. Like, a lot of time. Think years. Starting from zero to ranking on page one of Google searches is very hard with lots of competition. And that competition doesn’t stop. Once you start blogging, you can’t stop cause once you do your early content gets stale and Google is like a wild toddler who demands new snacks all the time.
Seriously. I’ve seen so many bad blogs with content that has nothing to do with the core business. This is just blogging for the sake of blogging. This means your blog is never going to rank.
Next, good content is even harder. If you hire an agency or freelancer to write 500 word posts, go look at your Google Analytics. I’ve done it for several people and most of these blogs get less than 10 views per year. Think about all that time, money, and effort for zero gain. Mostly because the junk blogs nearly all marketing agencies and freelancers churn out are terrible. The only way your blog makes a real impact is by having good content. This takes someone knowledgeable about your industry, customers, and goals. Plus, it means you need to allow for time. Good content takes time. Ranking that content takes even more time. Plus you need to invest in it. Good content comes from someone invested in the success of your company.
Last on this, if you are a local business with a blog, but you still invest in good content and commit to the timeline to get rankings higher, this also means you will be getting the attention of customers way outside of your area. One more time for anyone new: Views don’t equal sales. You can spend a lot of time optimizing for views, but its sales that matter.
Instead of blogging
I know this goes against all kinds of advice from a lot of professionals, but your time is way better spent on creating web pages that highlight your business, who you serve, how you serve them, and why you are unique.
I’ve been in the landscaping business for a very long time. I can assure you the amount of people wanting to read a blog about fall turf care in your area and could potentially be one of your customers is so insignificant it is not worth the time.
However, there are clients looking for a business that will make their lawn green through the cold months and make sure it looks great in the Spring. They want to know about your business, not why potassium and phosphorus help root development.
To sum this up, here is a quote from the piece below that hits the nail on the head,
Should a Small Business Have a Blog in 2021? – Colan Nielsen
“A blog is useful when you have a large following that is continually wanting to get updated on your content. Do the customers of a divorce attorney really want to get updated monthly or weekly on what is going on in the world of law? Probably not. What about a pest control company? I might need to hire someone to get rid of my termites but am I really going to dedicate my time to reading articles continually on bugs? Probably not. If your customers are not likely to want to educate themselves on everything related to your business, you probably don’t need a blog.”
As with everything, this isn’t blanket advice. Your company might need a blog. But it’s very unlikely. The key is can you deliver a high quality experience that delights your customers? Will a blog help you over-serve your existing customers and give them such a great experience they will recommend you to others?
Or is that time better spent on a different way to care for your customers. Let me know. Hit reply and send me a note on why you think blogging is great for your business. I want to know.
Here is that great… blog about this topic and where to spend your time instead (spoiler, web pages not blogs).
Should a Small Business Have a Blog in 2021? – Colan Nielsen
It takes all three | Coaching – Leadership – Life
I recently stumbled on this article that discusses the idea…
See one, do one, teach one.
In the article it explains that the key to becoming good at anything is to see someone do it, then go do it yourself. After you’ve gained some experience, go teach someone else how to do it. I can’t get over how powerful this is.
First for your own goals it is not only important to see people who do the job you want, but to also go do it. This is one of the aspects I love about digital marketing. We all have access to the tools needed to learn these skills, with 99% of them totally free. Social media, email, newsletters, blogging, video, all of them are easily accessible and the best way to learn them is to just start doing it.
Over 5 years ago I decided I wanted to podcast and I wanted to learn this skill to become a better marketer. I realized I didn’t have to wait, I could start a podcast about any topic I wanted. It didn’t matter if anyone listened, all I needed was the platform so I could practice. Over that time I produced 160 episodes of a podcast about Miami Vice, the 80’s, and absolutely terrible (in a good way) action movies.
But this tactic doesn’t just work for ourselves. This is also how you should be treating your team. I hear from a lot of people that they have trouble finding “good people” to become managers or team leads. My question to them is how many people that work for you have you put in leadership positions?
It is a 3 step process. In order for someone to become a good leader, they have to be able to actually do the job. You have to put them into a leadership role first. Doing this will also make you a better leader because you will be teaching someone how to become one, which is the third step in the learning process. I can’t fathom why people expect new managers to be good at their job right away, when all they have to base it on is their limited interactions with you.
If you take the time to truly teach them and put them into a position to be a leader, you will be surprised at the results.
I’m also always floored at how many people do not practice the skill of being a leader once they have the position. No one is born a good manager, it is a skill. In order to get better at any skill we have to practice it, repeatedly and consistently. The absolute easiest way to practice the skill of being a good leader?
Teach someone else everything you know.
You’ll be surprised at what you learn when you start saying things out loud.