Beginner Business Blogging

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is about educating potential customers over time, gaining trust, and establishing credibility. It does this by creating knowledgeable, interesting, and shareable content of value to the reader.

Content marketing is the act of creating stories to promote your business. Every blog post, tweet, or email you send out is an asset your business now uses as part of it’s overall marketing platform.

Once a blog post is created it can be repurposed, cross-referenced, or re-used in a variety of different ways. For example, a blog post could be summarized in an email, and then further summarized into a tweet. In the same way, a series of blog posts can be strung together as a white paper, a special report, or an ebook. Images created for blog posts can be pinned to Pinterest or used in a Slideshare.

What-is-Content-Marketing

As the business owner or expert in your field, you have acquired a ton of knowledge about your craft – that’s very valuable information and people will look to you for insight. Content marketing is a way to educate and help your clients and potential clients – all while boosting your profile and enhancing the value of your product.

Why Building a Platform for Your Business is Important

Let’s say you’ve just developed an awesome new product or service and you want to let the world know about it. How would you do it?

You could pay to put the message out in a newspaper or magazine, you could post it on Facebook and pay to have it promoted, or you could publish it to your own platform for free.

Why-Business-Platforms-are-Important

A “platform” is the collection of business resources you own for the purpose of promoting your business. The central hub of this collection is your website, but primarily, your blog.

If you were to build a house, would you build it on rented land? Your best assets should be built on your own platform, not one someone else runs. Those other sites can point back to the blog.

That’s why having a blog is so important. It’s a critical part of your overall marketing platform. It serves as the hub for all social media, email marketing, and other promotional activities.

In other words, your blog is kind of like your business itself, and should reflect it.

Why Do I Teach Business Owners About Blogging?

I believe that blogging is the single most important thing a business can do to gain more customers, streamline internal processes, and grow the business. But why do we teach it?

Business owners create jobs that help people take care of their families. Our mission is to help people make more money and the best way we can do this is by helping businesses grow.

Why-Do-We-Teach-Business-Blogging

I have worked with large and small companies. I understand what it’s like to be just starting out and what it’s like to grow as an established company.

I also understand how powerful stories can be to communicate your company’s value to current and prospective clients and how blogging does that while building a community around your business. The best way to tell great stories is to have great stories and we want to help businesses and business owners share how great their story can be.

I’ve taken our shared experiences in helping businesses manage people, processes, technology, and marketing to take your business to the next level – whatever that level may be.

Where do I go to Learn to be a Blogger?

How to Get Started Blogging

I was recently asked, “Where do I go to learn to be a blogger?” Here’s my response:

Blogging in it’s simplest form is just “writing” on a blog, but since you mentioned getting paid, what you’re really asking is “how can I make money by blogging?”

There are several ways to do this and even more teachers who have already written about this topic and are more than willing to share with you, but these are my thoughts.

How to Write Content that Attracts New Blog Visitors

I like to use the STAIR method, which is just an acronym for: State the problem, list your Tools, create an Algorithm, Implement a solution, and Revise the solution.

Problem: You don’t know how to make money online by blogging (let’s disregard for a second that there are other ways to make money, online and off).

Tools: WordPress for the blogging platform; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ for social networking; Mailchimp for email marketing; Photoshop.

Algorithm: Determine what questions people have about a topic, write the answers to those questions, repurpose the content, and then monetize the blog.

Implementation: First determine who your audience is, figure out what questions they have, choose one question, and then write a blog post answering that question.

Revisions: Once you’ve written a few blog posts, use Photoshop to create images about those blog posts and then post the blog posts on social media.

Over time, if you’re writing valuable content that people like and you’re capturing email addresses from visitors, you’ll be able to build up a audience you can monetize.

How to Monetize Your Content and Your Audience

Once you have an audience, you can do things like:

  • Write an ebook
  • Create an online course
  • Start a mastermind group
  • Throw a conference
  • Create and sell physical products

There are other ways to make money from visitors:

  • Ads by Google Adsense
  • Affiliate programs such as Amazon Associates or Clickbank
  • Asking for money and providing a “Donate” button
  • Direct sale of ads to brands
  • Getting paid to write about a company or product

I’ve written previously about how to make money from blogging in Blogging for Profit. But blogging for money is not necessarily the best way to make money (online or off). It should be done as a “twofer”.

Other Possible Reasons to Blog

  • To become a better writer
  • To get thoughts out of your head
  • To journal or leave a legacy
  • To share what you’re working on
  • To attract attention to yourself

No matter what the other reason, to blog as a business is probably not the best way to make money. Here are 5 reasons why blogging is not the best way to make money online or off.

Reasons Not to Blog for Money

  • It can take a long time to get visitors
  • You don’t always know what people want to read
  • It may be hard for you to convert visitors to click ads or buy products
  • You might write something you later regret or that could be used against you in court or by an employer
  • You could show everyone that you don’t know as much as you thought you did.

Facebook: The Journal of Our Times

Before Facebook, unless you kept a diary or wrote a blog, there was little recording of day-to-day events in most people’s lives. Some people made baby books for their children, but mostly just for their first or second child. But now, the combination of smartphone cameras and mobile apps, documenting our lives has never been easier and never before have more people done it.

Enough time has passed since the mass adoption of Facebook in 2009 for us to see how people are using it long-term. We know what people like and what they hate. We know who their friends are. We know when they start relationships and when they end them. We know what they looked like when they were younger and what they look like now. We know everything someone is willing to share.

Suzanne's Blog

Before Facebook, my wife used to blog about what was going on in the house, about her pregnancies, and about milestones with the kids. Now that’s all on Facebook. If I wanted to create a story of our last 5 years together, that’s where I’d look. And our baby books are on there, too. We still have real-life baby books, but we certainly aren’t printing any of our pictures.

What will become of this information?

As a society we’ve all invested so much into this platform. While Facebook’s Timeline feature helps to sort through it all and services that help you print Facebook help, there is still a general anxiety I feel about how we will overcome the White Album Problem. Most people don’t remember Collegeclub.com, but that was a platform like Facebook that one day just disappeared.

And the other side of the coin is that this information will never be deleted and we will always have a perfectly searchable memory of everything that’s ever happened. Nothing will ever be forgotten. No friend is ever left behind. That’s not how the mind works. That’s not how life used to work. We used to forget, move on, and get on with life. Now it’s all just a click away.

Why do I still blog in a post-Facebook world?

I own this domain. I pay for this hosting account. I control what the website looks like and when it changes. I control my own backups. I am not subject to Facebook’s rules. I can download my data whenever I want. I can make my content look like whatever I want. In short – it’s my own platform where I can tell my own story over time regardless of what Facebook is or does, but that’s not the only reason I blog.

I know there is some benefit to me in the short term to be able to flesh out ideas and some value in the long term to be able to look back on what I was thinking or working on, but I didn’t know if it was actually of value to other people. I considered my blog a ‘failure’ because it doesn’t get that many visitors for the posts I care about, there are little to no comments, and little to no email newsletter sign-ups.
It turns out that those metrics aren’t the only ones that matter as people have reached out to me in other ways to let me know they’re reading. You don’t always know what effect you’re going to have on people and you may never know, but if you don’t put yourself out there, you’re reducing that chance. This small bit of encouragement helps. I’m glad you also read my blog.