We'll say it with pride: we blogged nearly every single week this year!
We're nearly one hundred posts into this blog, and we can say, without question, that blogging has been GREAT for our business. No kidding: it's the smartest thing we did since we opened our doors.
And now, in no particular order, are the reasons we're going to keep going.
1. It keeps us on our toes.
We all think we know more than we really do -- not just here in this office, but everyone, everywhere. Technology changes so quickly that there is no way anyone can claim to be totally up-to-date on the very latest thing. The very latest thing just got invented in a lab in Thailand. Wait, no, a teenager in Idaho has just updated it, and it's obsolete. The world of web sites and online marketing is not terribly different, and being forced to write this blog, week after week, is a way to ensure that we are constantly reading, researching, following, and seeking out what's going on in the technologies our clients need to keep their businesses and non-profits going.
2. It keeps us writing well.
If I didn't blog, at least 50% of the things coming out of my fingers on these keyboards would be half-sentences like "will do," and "got it" and "large soy mocha with no whip." As text messages become a more and more common way for our clients to reach us, the elegant email seems to be something of an enigma. We can all just forget about hand-written postal-mail letters right now. This blog forces me to consider the well-crafted sentence. It's keeping me more human and less machine. In turn, that makes me better at explaining things to my clients in person and on the phone -- and makes me even better at writing the training documentation I generate for them at the ends of projects.
3. It forces a look at all sides of the elephant.
Remember the parable of the elephant and the blind men? In the parable, six blind men set out to describe an elephant, but each man only feels his way around one part -- and so all are correct in their descriptions, but also incorrect. The same can be said of any project as complex as a web site. Is a web site a technology project? A design project? An organizational project? A marketing project? A staffing project? A budgetary project? Yes, and no. Writing about the various components of getting a web site together forces us to step back and consider them all not just as we write about them, but as we plan and execute every subsequent project.
4. It shows us who's listening.
All of our clients know that we have a blog. Most of them know that we write every week. A few of them subscribe via RSS, but most do not. Through trial and error, we've determined that the best engagement we get for our blog is via Facebook, and from the responses, we can see who is interested in us. We're not a consumer-focused firm -- our clients are businesses and nonprofits, so if an individual is engaging with our blog posts via Facebook, that means that they are thinking about our work during their personal, leisure time online. That is huge information for us. It determines the tone we take, the kinds of things we write about, and even the images we choose to accompany them.
5. It tells us when we're on the right track.
All kinds of writing has been done on the psychology of blog post titles and social media links and time of day and day of week and every other possible combination of circumstances that can predispose you to success with blog-writing. We are a small, small sample, but here's what we know:
- The most popular posts we've had have included the word "Lazy" in the title. Negative is intriguing to people.
- Getting posts syndicated (we're often on Business2Community and Social Media Today) spikes our traffic like crazy. It's worth the effort to continue writing the kinds of things we know they like to publish, at least some of the time.
- No one wanted to our read curated content lists of "This Week in Our Web." We thought they were useful, but they got virtually no traffic. We stopped bothering.
6. Our clients are coming to us better-informed.
I talked about this in a recent post about blogging (quite popular due to its title), but it bears repeating. Having written posts originally intended to educate the world at large, we had an a-ha! moment this year when a prospective client asked us whether there was a list of questions we could provide her before our first meeting, so she'd know what she should be considering before we met. We had that very list!
And it was online in our blog!
Now we refer our clients -- and prospective clients -- to our blog for all kinds of information we've collected there. It saves us loads of time, and it saves them loads of time too. Win-win.
7. We are walking the walk and blogging the blog.
When our clients tell us they don't know if they really can do all this writing for their blog, we can give them from-the-trenches advice because we are doing it too. We, too, have billing to do and clients to court and projects to complete and research to finish and networks to shmooze and cookies to bake, but once a week, with just a few exceptions, I sit down for a couple of hours with a hot cup of coffee and write a blog post. We try to think about the best subject to explore that will help us move our clients' online presences forward, and we tap it out into the magic laptop. Every post is not a hit with our community, but some are great. Our clients may not blog as often, but however often they do, we're right there with them.
Next year, we'll be adding a monthly feature where our community can ask us questions and we'll answer. Maybe it will work, maybe not. Maybe it will be popular, and maybe it will fizzle out. Either way, we'll keep plugging away, trying to help our clients use the web to further their missions, one blog post at a time.
, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter, then stay tuned in January for our first installment of JebraWHAT?!