So we come to blog post #100. And in all the subjects that I’ve covered over the past two years, there’s one that’s been conspicuously absent every Friday morning – the blog itself.
When I started my business I was determined that social media was going to be an integral part of the marketing – which meant Twitter, LinkedIn and the blog. Has that worked? Yes: not on its own, but social media has been a vital part of the campaign – and a very successful one.
Give or take the occasional holiday and a week off for Christmas, the blog has run consecutively for one hundred weeks. I don’t know how that compares to other business blogs in the UK: there are no league tables. But I suspect that not many have run so consistently for so long.
So for the benefit of anyone who’s thinking ‘maybe it’s time to try this social media lark after all’ or for those who have tried and want to refine their approach, here are three things that I think I’ve done right over the past two years – and three things that, looking back, I could have done better.
The blog has been consistent. I hope the quality has been consistently good; what I know has been consistent is the delivery of the blog. Friday morning, without fail – and if it can’t be Friday morning, it’s Thursday night. I knew I had that right about a fortnight ago when a potential TAB member who’s busy running a very successful business said to me, “Your blog is the first thing I read every Friday morning.” I’ve always taken the view that a weekly blog is like a newspaper – it’s published at the same time each week. I can’t recommend that approach highly enough.
The blog has engaged. In many ways that’s down to you – the comments have never stopped flowing and I’m hugely grateful for that. But I’ve always tried to reply: one of the key things to remember about social media is that it’s a conversation, not a megaphone.
Hopefully the blog has been interesting – that’s for you to say – but the blog has definitely been organised. By that I mean having a clear idea of what I’m going to write about for a few weeks in advance. I jot ideas down and do the necessary research well in advance. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it an editorial calendar, but I no longer sit at the PC on Thursday night and have a panic attack.
And now those areas where I might have done better:
I don’t think I’ve made enough use of Twitter. Once you’ve cleared the Beliebers, Directioners and lunatic self-promoters out of the way Twitter is an incredibly useful business tool. I should have made more of it to promote the blog in the early days, and probably should do now as well.
I’m still EdReidYork on WordPress. If I had my time over again I’d have started the blog off on EdReidYork.com – I’m sure that would have been better from a design point of view and from the SEO angle. Moving a hundred posts may now be somewhat time consuming…
Lastly I didn’t appreciate how hard it was going to be. As I’ve said to a few people, writing a weekly blog is a lot like being married; you have to work at it and it isn’t always easy. Sometimes Friday comes round every four days.
So it’s been hard work, but the rewards have been significant. The blog has kept me in regular contact with clients and potential clients and it’s done wonders for my ‘authority’ and reputation.
Would I recommend a regular blog as a business tool? Emphatically.
And there’s one other significant point. Week by week, month by month, the blog has built into a book. 100 posts at an average of 650 words is 65,000 words – a book in anyone’s language. That’s something I could never have dreamed of – if you’d said to me two years ago, ‘go and write a book for the owner of an SME’ I’d have said ‘no chance.’ If anything illustrates the value of simply making a start and taking it one step at a time, that does.
Coming to an e-book store near you? Quite possibly.
And now to make some notes for 101…