Should You Launch Your Own Blog?

You have a lot to say. Maybe you've started to gain recognition from the great work you're doing within your chosen field -- corporate development or graphic design or bee behavior. You see the infinite flow of blog posts and social media chatter and you think maybe you're missing out. Maybe all these professional or personal accomplishments are a bit less bright without a shiny and growing digital footprint to broadcast them to the world.

That's when you ask a marketing professional like me whether it's time for you to start a blog. And then you ask me how.

First things first.

Should you start a blog?

YES, you should launch your own blog, if:

  • You enjoy writing and can do it relatively quickly {or are willing to work at it}
  • You can make the time to write regularly
  • You have stuff you want to say publicly, to the whole world
  • You can live with imperfection; you can publish even if it's not Shakespeare
  • You're ready for people to have opinions about what you have to say
  • You have at least a general sense of who your intended audience would be
  • You're blogging to communicate or inspire interest in a business venture, a side project, or anything that has a life beyond the blog

By now you've figured out if you didn't answer yes to all {or at least most} of the above, you might want to rethink this whole blogging idea.

how do you want to blog?
{choosing a blogging platform}

This question is probably more challenging for most experts-turned-bloggers than the question of whether you should blog at all. If you don't live in the world of content marketing, the sheer volume of options can be quite overwhelming. Most of them can be lumped into two categories.

1. Launch your own site

There are plenty of platforms that claim to make it easy peasy to launch your own blog or website in minutes. Squarespace and Wix are the biggest names right now in the no-coding-needed, launch-it-in-minutes club. WordPress tends to be the favorite of pro bloggers. {I'll compare these options in a future post, and share how I chose my platform.}

Nothing is as easy as 1-2-3 when it comes to building a blog or website. If you're just dipping a toe in here and you have no experience with building or managing websites, building and launching your own blog is likely to come with a steep learning curve. It might require either a deep investment of your time, or a small-to-considerable investment of your money to buy someone else's time to build the thing for you. Maybe you want to learn how to do this stuff, so the time investment will feel worthwhile. Maybe you really want to have your own thing, so hiring a WordPress expert to build your site and be there to help if you get stuck will feel like a worthwhile expense. If neither of these rings true for you, read on.

2. Blog on an existing platform

This is the option I recommend to most new bloggers, especially if your expertise is not in the realms of marketing or tech. LinkedIn, Medium, HuffPo... There are great sites out there that make it easy to get your voice heard. Anyone can publish to LinkedIn, and if you're asking me this question, you likely already know your way around LinkedIn. Same goes for Medium -- you just set up an account and start publishing. HuffPo is a bit more choosy, but by all means, drop a line and see what happens.

By blogging on an existing platform, you skip all the time and energy you'd need to devote to decisions about templates and style and architecture. You just type and click. You can focus on developing your voice, honing your blogging skills, and confirming that you do in fact want to have your very own blog. Then, once you're past the 'just getting started phase,' you can revisit whether it's time to launch your own site.

And it's no longer dangerous to publish your articles in multiple locations {that used to make the Google cranky}, so go nuts and post everywhere. 

are you willing to promote your blog?
{social media for beginner bloggers} 

Contrary to the mantra {if you're old enough to remember this movie}, if you build it, they will not come. Or most likely not. You've got to promote the heck out of that blog if you want to build up your readership. Are you ready to commit some of your time, on a regular basis, to promoting your blog?

You for sure could spend days or weeks or months reading all the pie-in-the-sky promises about secrets like going from zero to 20k readers in under 30 days. Here are a few quick & dirty tips to promoting.

  • promoting your blog on Facebook + Twitter

You can create a branded Facebook page dedicated to your blog, or promote your blog on your personal Facebook page {or both!}. Post updates to Facebook when you publish new blog posts, and recycle old blog posts as they become relevant again. Make sure to always include a photo or video to give your Facebook post the best chance of getting seen. For Twitter, you'll want to use the right relevant hashtags {without going overboard} to get your stuff seen by people who are interested in the kinds of stuff you're blogging about.

  • promoting your blog on instagram

You can totally promote your blog on Instagram. People do it. Just be aware that you can't create clickable posts in Instagram {at least as of now}. So, unlike FB & Twitter, you'll have to put the link to your latest blog post link in your Insta bio & use the old "link in the bio" statement in your posts. And because Insta is so visually-driven, it might be even more important than on other channels to mix up your posts with images that aren't necessarily straight from the blog.

  • promoting your blog on LinkedIn

You can absolutely promote your blog posts on your LinkedIn feed, if they have some relevance to the professional persona you're curating there. If not, I'd think twice. If you do post to LinkedIn, give some thought to the commentary you attach to your post link -- consider why people who follow your feed care about this content. You can message contacts on LinkedIn directly when you've published something you think they might be particularly interested in. And you can post to groups, but I find LinkedIn groups to be overcrowded with self-serving links to blog posts. So you might not get a big boost from a little effort there.  

  • promoting your blog on quora

Quora might still be a hugely underrated channel for getting eyes on your blog. As long as you're actually providing some truly valuable information in your responses to questions on Quora, it's totally fine to add something like: "I recently wrote a blog article on the topic. Check it out here if you want to learn more..."

  • promoting your blog via Personal email + Email newsletter

Especially if you're launching a new blog, sending personal emails to family, friends, + other connections to announce your blog can be a great way to stir up some loyal readers {and maybe get some valuable feedback, too}.

Beyond personal emails, setting up an email newsletter to invite people to subscribe to your blog is the #1 most recommended way to grow your reader base. People are busy. They're not going to visit your blog on a regular basis. They might add you to their Feedly or something. But an email newsletter puts your stuff in their inbox on a regular basis. Of course...then you have to ask yourself should you launch your own newsletter? A marketer's work is just never done. :-) 

 

Are you considering launching your first blog? Did you recently launch a blog? Have some additional tips for new bloggers? Post them in the comments or drop me a note! And of course...if you need help managing or promoting your blog, 929 Marketing would love to help!