The Benefits of Blogging for Your Online Course Business
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.
1. Blogging Develops and Showcases Your Expertise
The first is that if you blog consistently and do it reasonably well, you will build a body of work that showcases your expertise.
The market for online courses and other knowledge and learning products increases daily. If you expect prospects to fork over money in exchange for your expertise, then you need to demonstrate your expertise clearly and work to elevate it over time. A blog is one of the easiest, most straightforward ways to do this.
Writing blog posts helps you to develop 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.
As a bonus, the content you develop for blog posts can very often become content that you use in other offerings, including courses and books.
In fact, I encourage you to think strategically about blogging as a way to create larger offerings. Create an editorial calendar that is essentially an outline for your course lessons or book chapters and use it to guide your blogging over the course of weeks or months. By the time you are done, you will have made a huge leap toward creating your course or book, and you will have valuable content posted on the Web that will help bring people to you.
Which leads to my next point.
2. Blogging Gets You Found In Search Engines
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 tips and tricks for search engine optimization (SEO), 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.)
Now, in most cases, simply publishing a single blog post isn’t going to drive huge amounts of traffic to you over night. It will take time. You need to accumulate a decent collection of posts that – again – demonstrate a body of knowledge around your topical area. Keep in mind, too, that blogging frequently can help drive more traffic. Check out the following stats from Hubspot:
- B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015)
- B2C companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than 4X as many leads than those that blog only 4-5 times per month. (HubSpot, 2015) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
To support getting found in search engines, it is really valuable to pick up some basic knowledge about search engine optimization. Regardless, if you keep at it, you will build a major asset for your business, one that will help make it sustainable by driving search traffic to you over time.
3. Blogging Puts You In Control
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 (or on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn). They can be valuable parts of your marketing mix, but you really need a home base where you call the shots – including how you price your course – and control all of your valuable data – like customer e-mail addresses. That way, no matter what course platform you use – or switch to in the future – you won’t lose any of the valuable Web presence you have built up over time and that is critical to long-term, sustainable online business.
A blog-based Web site, built on a platform like WordPress (free, open-sourced software), is almost always your best bet, whether you are looking for e-mail sign-ups, social shares, or e-commerce sales. WordPress, in particular, is very flexible and offers any number of plug-ins to help you accomplish just about anything. Really, it is a full-blown content management system, but at its core, it has some of the best blogging capabilities available.
Upping Your Blogging Game
One of the inspirations for writing this post (and for republishing it) was that I noticed that Darren Rowse over at Problogger continues to get a tremendous amount of mileage out of his 31 Days to a Better Blog content that he began as a series of posts back in 2007!
Darren continues to run challenges, and he has transformed the content into a full-blown 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course (which was preceded by a workbook developed out of the blog content – often a great intermediate stage between a blog and a course). He also used the original posts in the 31 day challenge to launch his very successful podcast (access the original 31 episodes by scrolling down the page this link goes to).
If you want to get serious about upping your blogging game, I encourage you to go through all of the 31-day challenge posts (listed here), listen to the podcast episodes, and even consider taking the course.
- How to Make Money Blogging
- Use Blogging to Market Your Course Business
- How to Build An Audience for Your Expertise-Based Business
- 14 Ways To Find New Blog Post Ideas For Traffic And Engagement
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