On a regular basis I have clients asking me “what should I blog about?” It is a great question, and it is one with an answer that changes over time.
In the beginning of setting up a business it is crucially important to be very SEO-centric in one’s blogging. In the beginning one needs to plant seeds by becoming visible to search engines and potential customers alike. In this initial phase it is very helpful if one blogs about their expertise not just in a theoretical/insider manner, but also in a practical way that relates to potential clients.
My first blog post was announcing my transition from being a freelancer to running an Internet Marketing firm. The firm wasn’t a created entity, rather it is an evolved one. From all of my years of freelancing emerged a network of clients and a bunch of teammates. As I indicated in the title of the blog, it was time to “get firm” and to take on all of the responsibilities of a long-term provider. In this process we sat down and clarified our principles and offerings, and then we shared them in our first blog:
“Given this growing team, the “free” of “freelancing” has slowly been falling away, and the firm reality has set in that we are a Firm. As I am he-who-controls the business, the check-writer, the master strategist, and the master of ceremony, I have taken the principal position, and now call the firm Kenneth Lewis & Associates : Internet Marketing.
This is not the most original name, but it is one that points to the fact that there is one man who has taken absolute responsibility for the Internet presence of his clients. Additionally, to avoid the pitfalls of other SEO firms, I am keeping myself as the point-man for the public. This way clients and potential clients deal with me directly. This ensures the most accurate information and the highest level of response and accountability.”
“The motto of our Firm, which keeps us connected to our freelancing roots, is “World-class, yet affordable, Internet Marketing.” One need not have bloated overheads and organizational waste to provide world-class services. We have proven that for the past few years, and we will continue to prove that for many years to come.”
And thus was our start.
The next blogs were about our regional businesses. Many of these we have since been removed from our site as they are no longer applicable to our mission. What I did back then was explore the online presence of the businesses in my then newly-adopted town and to publish them. In different categories I gave reports on which businesses where succeeding and which were stumbling in their Internet Marketing efforts and why. It gave me a chance to engage with the local businesses, familiarizes myself with the terrain, and to share my expertise locally. Even though I removed the blog entries from our site’s navigation, I kept them online for anyone who might already have one of them bookmarked or saved in another fashion.
The third phase of blog writing came when our portfolio of clients was expanding and we saw the best use of the blog was to promote our clients. SEO requires us to use all available tools. Unlike most SEO firms that are happy to link from your website to theirs, giving them the all-important “link juice,” we only link to our clients, not from them. At the most we have a non-clickable mention of our domain name on the bottom of a client’s site. For us this is the only ethical approach. This third phase was about blogging to promote our clients. The promotion was not necessarily moving actual traffic from our site to theirs, but rather to send our “link juice” or popularity in the eyes of the search engine to them as a vote of confidence. Eventually we developed more effective tools for promoting our clients that far exceeded our site’s potential and our writing went dry.
When one’s blog writing goes dry it is not because one doesn’t have anything left to say, rather it is often because one needs to set a new paradigm of what to blog about. We were busy taking care of business and in our busyness we failed to address the need for a new paradigm.
The paradigm shift of our blogging efforts that is taking place now is to being an information source for current and future clients. There are many questions that we are hearing over and over again, and it is time to address them publicly. Also, there are many things that aren’t on our client’s radar that we want to bring to their attention. Now the blog is shifting to something almost like a single topic newsletter or an FAQ. And it is only appropriate to begin this next phase by addressing the art of writing a blog post.
As you can see there is not just one answer on what one can do with their blog. We used it as a self-promotion vehicle to announce our Firm’s opening and to reach out to potential clients by sharing our researching know-how. Then we used the blog to promote our clients- as a vehicle of our general SEO work. Now we move into using it as an educational platform- a venue for sharing our expertise. What we have been consciously avoiding is turning it into an industry-centered venue as we don’t want to use this space to talk with our peers in the Internet Marketing and SEO world. We are happy to leave those conversations to other spaces. While ongoing learning is essential for our Firm’s success, it is clear to us all that the core of our Firm is client-service, and it is to that which we dedicate this new stage of blog posts.
Other considerations in your blogging are: do you already have a following, do people in your industry find your insights invaluable, which phase of business development are you in, do you have projects to share or just ideas to share, etc?
So where is your business at? What should you be writing about?
If you would like to brainstorm this question, feel free to contact me to arrange a phone call to talk it through. It is an important issue as it will determine who comes to your website and what signals it gives to the search engines.