Is this Blog Worth the Effort?


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…”

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12 comments

  1. Dick Jennings · June 7, 2013

    Modest as always Ed. The point you’ve failed to emphasize is that it takes a particular talent to be able to write this well, this engagingly, this relevantly, this consistently.

    It’s an old art (in the old days they were called “sermons”, not “blogs”, but the good ones worked the same way and had much the same purpose) but a true art all the same, and you’re really very good at it.

    • edreidyork · June 8, 2013

      Dick – as ever, more than necessarily generous! Thank you. Hope life is treating you well, Ed

  2. Simon Hudson · June 7, 2013

    Is the blog worthwhile?

    Absolutely. I receive over 10,000 words a day of email and other communications so I have to filter. Yet I (very nearly) always read this blog. What is it that makes me invest my attention and constantly constrained time to do that. Simple; it’s the return on investment. If it’s only a few minutes of ‘me’ time away from the stresses of the day then that has value, but, in reality, almost every post has something I can reflect upon, act on or feel good about. And over time that investment grows to a significant return in how I run my business and who I am.

    Great blogs are also about paying it forward.

    If only I understood the football references… 🙂

    • edreidyork · June 8, 2013

      One day, Simon, I’ll get round to trying some analogies which are not football/business. You’ll just have to be patient, or maybe even provide me with some pointers!

      • simonjhudson · June 9, 2013

        My analogies are all science ones (so I’d be just as guilty) or D&D ones (which is worse). I can almost do golf – at least I know how that works even if I couldn’t name any players.

  3. Osmovian · June 7, 2013

    My Friday morning’s once consisted of a stead fast routine. Breakfast with the family, followed by a leisurely trip work on the train, often reading the woeful paper- The Metro. Over the past 14 months the Metro has been replaced with Ed’s blog (yep, I am a slow reader).

    The important part here is the number of times I forward the blog to colleagues, friends and business acquaintances. No doubt many other reads of the blog do this. The reward for a reliable, well written and insightful weekly blog.

    Ps- When you blog on a Thursday due to to travel or holiday it kills me. I spend the day thinking it’s Friday!!

    • edreidyork · June 8, 2013

      So by publishing on a Thursday, I’m bringing your weekend forward, Mark? A compelling reason to continue the occasional Thursday night publication…

  4. tommortonharrogate · June 7, 2013

    Happy 150th, Ed!
    Of course it’s worth it (though I would say that, wouldn’t I?).

    You missed one other massive achievement in the summer of 2010 — I was joint winner of our lads’ summer golf-fest. A highlight in the annals of British sport….. and this year’s version starts on Sunday — no doubt you will inspire me again (as ever).

    • edreidyork · June 8, 2013

      I’m sure you’ll shine on the golf course this week, Tom. Can we look forward to a golf-inspired blog from you on Friday? Simon would be happier with that!

  5. Chris Wilson · June 7, 2013

    Well done Ed, and what a humble and typically Ed blog style way of back slapping modesty mixed with the cautionary “don’t try this at home” slice of inspiration.

    I have really enjoyed your blogs, and like Simon, have always found time for them. They are not stacked up pre-written pieces of strategic marketing, they are current, relevant and insightful.

    So, thank you!

    • edreidyork · June 8, 2013

      Thanks, Chris – I love the idea that some of the blog’s words merit a “don’t try this at home” rider. Let’s see if we can find a few more of those for you in the coming months…

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