The benefits of blogging are huge.
If I had to name the three things I’ve done over the years that have enabled me to break free from working for others and create an income and lifestyle based on my own terms, consistently building e-mail lists and speaking – whether at conferences or via digital channels – would be number two and three on the list.
But number one – by a long shot – would be blogging.
That may go against what you hear in other places. Blogging just isn’t as trendy as it once was, and truth be told, I don’t spend quite as much time on it as I once did (more on that in the future). But when I reflect on what has fueled the success I’ve had to date, it’s clear to me that nothing else has been as big a factor.
There are at least three huge benefits of blogging.
The first is that if you blog consistently and do it relatively well, you will build a body of work that showcases your expertise.
Doing that helps you to hone and focus your expertise and figure out which parts of what you know are most valuable to your prospective audience (through Google Analytics, comments on your posts, and tracking which posts gets shared the most, just to name the most obvious options). The feedback you get as a result of effective blogging is invaluable for ensuring that you ultimately develop the right offerings for monetizing your expertise.
Building a body of high quality content is also your ticket into getting found on Google and other search engines.
You can spend all sorts of time trying to figure out the latest and tricks for search engine option, but the one factor that has remained consistent over many years is high quality content. Write content that people find value and publish through a highly optimized distribution platform like a blog, and you will be found. There is a good chance, for example, that you got to the Learning Revolution site originally because you found this post – which drives thousands of unique visits per month – through a search engine. (This entire site, by the way, is built on WordPress – the world’s most popular blogging platform – using StudioPress.)
And that leads me to my final point: your blog is a powerful point of conversion, one you totally own and control.
This is a key reason I don’t advocate betting too many of your chips on platforms like Udemy. They can be valuable parts of your marketing mix, but you really need a home base where you call the shots and control the data. A blog-based Web site, built on a platform like WordPress, is almost always your best bet, whether you are looking for e-mail sign-ups, social shares, or e-commerce sales.
So how can you up your blogging game?
Well, the main inspiration for writing this post was that I noticed that Darren Rowse over at Problogger is running what he calls a “new incarnation” of his 31 Days to a Better Blog challenge. 31 Days to a Better Blog is completely free (though Darren does also offer a related paid product) and there’s no telling how many people it has helped. I remember following along way back in … hmm, 2007? … when I was building my first blog, Mission to Learn. No one knows blogging like Darren.
The “new incarnation,” by the way, is that 31 Days is now being delivered as a podcast, one of my favorite digital speaking channels – and the subject for a future post.
Check out the 31 Day challenge podcast, and while you are at it, let me know the address of your blog, if you already have one. I’ll highlight reader blogs in an upcoming post.