To Blog or Not to Blog
When I’m teaching (preaching?) Business of Design and discussion turns to marketing, invariably I’m asked about blogging.
“Should I?” – asks the design professional.
Well yes. Maybe.
To properly answer that question, consider your reasons for wanting to blog in the first place. What’s the goal?
Below are five common reasons cited for blogging. If more than 2 of these rationales ignite a burning desire to blog, then this may be a perfect outlet for your creativity and passion.
1. Obtain more design clients
Using a blog to build exposure to the right customer is a great idea. However, all too often design bloggers lose focus and muddle the message. If your message is: Trust me. Hire me. I’m the right designer for you. Then every post should underline that message. This leaves little to no room for blogging about a cocktail experience that blew your mind, posting photos of what you wore to a party or lobbying support for a politician. In addition to discipline, you’ll want to also avoid “selling” as any attempt at a hard sale is likely to repel rather than attract customers.
Your blog mantra: Trust me. Hire me.
2. Increase traffic to an existing website
If you currently have a static website (one where the photos remain consistent and little new content gets added daily or weekly) then yes, a blog can increase traffic to your site. It does this by increasing your SEO (search engine optimization), which makes it more likely readers will find you when they do an online search. It also creates a dynamic environment that’s more conducive to sharing (others reposting your content or commenting on your content) which again increases SEO. If rule #1 (above) applies, it’s still critical to maintain a focused message or you run the risk of attracting an audience, but not necessarily a client.
Your blog mantra: Engage with me. I’m a going concern.
3. Position yourself as an industry expert
Want to be the go-to expert in a particular category? A resource for media to turn to when they need a quote, an inside scoop, or a face to profile? Blogging can assist with a goal like this. The trick is to stay on message (no niche is too small) and post frequently. In addition, you’ll want to engage often with readers and create strategic partnerships to push your content (original and engaging) out to a wider audience.
You’ll also want to write with authority. Make sure you do your research and post thoughtful material that gets people talking.
Your blog mantra: Ask me. I have the answers.
4. Increase awareness of your brand
So much talk about “brand” these days. Before you tick off #4 as a valid reason for blogging ask yourself why you want to increase awareness of your brand? Is it so you’ll be able to obtain more design clients? (see item #1) Is it so you’ll engage more followers? (see item #2) Is it so you’ll stand out as an industry leader? (See item #3). Perhaps you want to branch out from your current services into complementary programs? Design a line of furniture, develop a product line, or land a role in a television program? All good reasons to focus your blog on the power of you!
Your blog mantra: You know me. Everybody does.
5. Create a personal platform
As a blogger you will have a platform to speak to a wider audience. The most popular blogs have a dedicated focus so determine who your audience is and stay on message.
Your blog mantra: Rely on me. My advice / recommendation is solid.
There are plenty of reasons to blog. Keep your mantra and your audience in mind.