A quick quiz to start us off this week. What happened in the summer of 2010?
a) There was glorious, uninterrupted sunshine from May to September
b) England won the World Cup, crushing Germany 4-0 in the final
c) This blog started
Anyone answering (a) or (b) is probably best advised to check their medication but (c) is correct. The blog started and today we reach post number 150 – which begs another simple question. Has it been worthwhile? Have the time, effort and calluses on my typing fingers been justified?
For me there are two ways you can measure the success of a blog. The first one is in simple money terms – trying to estimate the return on investment on the blog. I know how long it takes to write each post (on average – clearly some weeks are easier than others) and I’ve a good idea of which Board members came to me as a direct result of the blog.
So the monetary question is an easy one to answer. And in pure ROI terms the blog is more than worthwhile: in fact it’s one of the best investments I’ve made.
Does that mean I recommend everyone rushes to their keyboard and starts writing a weekly blog? Not necessarily. It’s hard work; it takes real application and not for one minute will it instantly change your cash flow.
Writing a blog is a long term commitment and you need to view it that way: it’s very similar to a radio interview. If you’re on the radio once (I’m talking local radio here) then in business terms it isn’t going to make much difference. But if you were on the radio every Friday morning at 10:15 – over time, that would make a huge impact.
So writing a blog is tough – but if you can do it, then in my view it’s one of the very best forms of marketing there is. I now have a Board member who before joining rang me one day and simply said, “I’ve been reading your blog for the last two years. Every Friday morning without fail. I think it’s time we had a talk.”
And I know of a travel blogger who was sent on a 25 day round-the-world trip by Four Seasons – seriously – on the strength of her blog. But before they asked her to go Four Seasons had read every word she’d written for twelve months. If you’re going to blog successfully, long term consistency is crucial.
So what’s the second way of measuring the success of your blog? I’m sorry to frustrate those of you that like hard analysis and simple facts, but the second way is much more a mixture of analytics and – above all – anecdotal evidence. Yes, I know the TAB members who’ve joined as a direct result of the blog. What I’ll never be able to quantify are those members who’ve joined – and the business opportunities that have opened up to me – because of the way the blog has helped to build my reputation and authority.
It’s brought me publicity, speaking invitations and an identity. “Oh yes,” several people have said when we’ve been introduced, “You’re the guy who blogs…”
So 150 posts and nearly 100,000 words down the line, has the blog been worthwhile? Yes, very much so. Would I recommend blogging to other business owners? Absolutely. But:
• It’s a long term commitment
• It won’t immediately improve your cash flow
• It is hard, hard work
• You must be consistent, both with the delivery of the blog and the tone of your message
• And you must reply to comments that readers make – it’s become a slight cliché, but a blog is a conversation, not a megaphone
However, if you make that commitment, you’ll find that you’ll build a reputation and authority; you’ll find that Google will love you beyond reason – and one day you’ll take a phone call which begins, “I’ve been reading your blog…”