21 Lessons Learned from My First Year of Blogging (Part 1)

This week marks the one-year anniversary of my first blog. Experts say blogging is very important for expanding your social media presence, which supports other marketing efforts. But I wanted to try it myself so I could give clients a first-hand perspective on whether it is worth it. I am convinced blogging has helped my business by increasing access to my audience and the opportunity to showcase my expertise.

Fruits of my blog include:

  • New business relationships
  • Inquiries from potential clients
  • Expansion of my social network
  • Highlighting my work and expand on my established position.
  • Re-establishing myself as an insurance expert, especially about workers’ compensation. I have been a known workers’ compensation media expert for years from my reporting on the subject. Social media allow me to reach new audiences.

Blogging experts have developed commandments for blogging. Write regularly, don’t quit blogging or take a break, write about what you know, etc. These are good rules of thumb, but my own experience has taught me the following:

1)    Don’t start with Google’s Blogger. That is, of course, unless you don’t mind that Google owns your content and can pull it at anytime or you don’t mind being limited by graphic options. Using WordPress involves a steep learning curve but is well worth it. It also allows me more options graphically and I retain content ownership. You can read more about this here.

2)    Just get started. My colleague Peter Aartrijk kept encouraging me to start blogging and I wondered if I was really ready or not. I just jumped in and started and learned from there.

3)    Know why you are blogging and your audience. I began my blog to get my name and expertise out in cyber land. I wrote about topics my audience cares about. It worked. Becoming known in your industry is the first step in attracting potential customers. My blog accomplished this.

4)    Blogs require a large commitment of time and energy. As a sole proprietor and mother, I am constantly confronted by multiple priorities; I had several other distractions – such as children and clients — that made blogging difficult. Blogging also became a priority and I have no regrets. No time to blog? Hire someone already doing it.

5)    Encourage guest bloggers. Another approach when you don’t have time to blog: run the blogs of trusted colleagues and everyone benefits. Sharing expertise from other sources provides diversity of insight.

6)    Thank those who mention your blog on their blogs. I can’t think of a better compliment than other bloggers referring to one of my blog posts. Be sure to thank them, business etiquette is rare and so it goes a long way towards fostering stronger business relationships.

7)    Keep it short. You have to have a hot and compelling topic to post a long blog. Usually, it is best to write what you believe a subject deserves and then shorten anything beyond 500 to 600 words into continuing blogs. This blog is about 555 words. This raises my next point:

8)    Write to your heart’s content and then cover a topic with a series. I have a lot to say on this topic, so it will be covered more next week!

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