Why do you blog? What does your blog do for you? Many people equate blogging with business or writing diary like journals but with over thirty different categories in Blog Awards Ireland this year, it is very evident that there is much more to blogging than that.
My Blogging Journey and What Blogging Does For Me
#1. Driving Traffic
When I started blogging in January 2008, I was trying it to see if it would bring traffic to my new business website. I couldn’t afford to spend much on advertising or google adwords so I decided to try blogging and see what happened. Within eight months, my blog was getting about 10,000 views a month and I didn’t even know about things like using highly searched keywords. I still use it to drive traffic to my three websites by blogging frequently on all three blogs.
#2. Free Press Coverage
Within two months of starting my blog, I was featured in a national newspaper because the journalist found me via my blog and decided the story was interesting enough to write a full page feature. Therein started my journey of generating free press coverage for my business through my use of social media.
#3 Friends and Like Minded People
I found myself coming across bloggers with similar interests and as we all started to use facebook and twitter, friendships developed. While social media gets a lot of negative press for the amount of time people spend on it not to mention the cyberbullying, it has so many positive aspects to it too. In the last six years, I have made so many friends via our blogs and for the most part, I’ve found that when we met in real life, that we got on like a house on fire then too. What also brings comfort to some people is when they find that others are experiencing similar emotions to themselves in times of trouble, e.g. when diagnosed with cancer, reading blogs may be as helpful as talking to friends or family who don’t quite understand how you feel. Therefore, meeting people online who have experienced similar experiences or trauma can be invaluable.
#4 Testing Ideas
I like using my blog to test ideas on my readers. Many people ask their audiences whether they might like particular products so they get instant feedback, using facebook, twitter or their blog as the vehicle. When I first wrote a particular blog post back in September 2012, I had no idea that its popularity (and the feedback I received) would inspire me to write a book. Some of the best feedback I receive is when people tell me how much they enjoyed it but also that it is completely different to anything else out there. For me, this proves how testing an idea via your blog can work so well. By the same principle, I know that if an idea within a blog post doesn’t get much response, I know that it may not work so well.
#5 Reach Target Audience
Blogging isn’t just about bringing traffic, it’s about bringing people that are interested in your product or service. When I ran a crowdfunding campaign and self-published my book, my blog was instrumental in generating press coverage and gaining sales. Once you identify your target audience and write for them, a proportion will respond by buying your product or service. It’s becoming more important now for many sectors to prove they have a following on social media, for example, publishers expect authors to have a good social media presence and following, so a blog can be instrumental in generating success too.
#6 Improving Writing & Knowledge
Practice makes perfect and while I’d never claim my writing to be perfect, I do believe that blogging has helped me to develop my writing style. The popularity of my blog also gave me the confidence to try and write the book. It is often said that everyone has a book inside them, maybe the blogging will help more books to evolve! Whenever I experienced writer’s block or feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of having to still write half a book, I told myself that it was just a blog post and then I had a thousand words written reasonably quickly.
I don’t like to describe myself as a social media expert, after all, social media changes so quickly that it can be hard to keep abreast of all the changes. However, I know a lot about blogging, self publishing and Pinterest now and I feel that by sharing my knowledge with my readers, people then see me as an expert and it helps to grow my reputation as a good social media trainer, as a person who knows her stuff. If someone searches for my name, they will come across multiple sources which indicate what I do which means I have a lot of control over my own online identity.
#7 Educate Readers
I am passionate about educating others via blogs and I don’t necessarily mean the content in a curriculum. People learn about a variety of topics from reading blogs such as how to cook various dishes to where their food comes from and how it is produced. I find that I often get a good response from non-farmers to my posts on how we produce our milk and our meat. I would love to see more farmers doing the same to really showcase Ireland’s wonderful food products across the globe.
Blogs contain up-to-date information and research and are usually well-structured and clear to read. If I need to research a topic for my teaching, I will often turn to blogs as my source of information. I will also use my blog to help me understand something before I teach it, in that, I will write a blog post on the subject and having to structure it in an easy-to-follow way ensures that my lessons are going to be well prepared.
Reading other blogs often inspires ideas for my own blog. I don’t mean that I copy their posts but it can often happen that reading something triggers a memory or an idea for a blog post of my own. It’s one of the reasons I try to read a number of blogs every week.
Perhaps this is the most important reason. I love tapping away on my laptop, writing about my interests whether they are social media or farming or both as a two-in-one. I love teaching so I enjoy writing informative and educational posts. Blogging is a great way to engage with people who are interested in your topics.
I think I will be blogging for many years to come. I’m sure there are lots of other benefits to blogging that I haven’t mentioned here. What has been the biggest benefit of blogging for you? If you are an Irish blogger, don’t forget to enter Blog Awards Ireland as nominations are open now.