Must Everyone Blog?
by Marcia Yudkin
Can you be
successful without blogging? A prominent
blogger recently argued the negative: "Myself personally, I donít know of a single successful freelancer who does not have a blog, period."
Hi there! Iíve been a successful freelance
author, speaker and consultant for 30 years, and I do not have a blog. I have good reasons for not blogging, and maybe you do, also.
I love words. I love crafting artful pieces out of words. For the last
13 years, Iíve published a 180-word newsletter, the Marketing Minute, every Wednesday. I spend a lot of creative energy dreaming up topics, and I write, rewrite and polish each Marketing Minute so that it gleams.
When I lived in Boston, I wrote occasional 300-word essays and delivered them on-air for the National Public Radio station. In those commentaries, stories had to be both to-the-bones bare and plump with detail. Every word, phrase and pause had a job to do. My editor and I would confer on sentence structures and verb tenses, trying to get the flow and nuances exactly right. For me, this was exhilarating.
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Anyone who blogs should do so on average two or three times a week. I do not have the energy for that pace, and while I understand that blog posts donít have to be works of art, I donít believe it benefits me to create a body of work with a lesser standard of quality.
Blogging is more like talking than like writing, and as an introvert, I donít have a lot of talk in me. Just as I avoid parties and live in the woods so that small talk comes my way as a special occasion, I donít read many
blogs. I also don't follow people on Twitter. Blather drains me, whether itís from others or from me. Many of my best clients feel exactly the same way.
According to the everyone-should-blog point of view, my star should be drooping and falling out of the sky by now. But that doesnít seem to be happening. Day after day, more than
2,000 people visit my web site, propelled by articles
both on and off the Internet, press releases, fan recommendations, links on authoritative sites, search engine momentum from my own quality site content, and my books.
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My business hums along fine without any blogging, and if you have enough marketing irons in the fire of other types, you do not need to
blog, either. In fact, if you fall into any of the following categories, you may be actually hurting your business by
Too busy, exhausted or undisciplined to blog regularly. A dead blog Ė one that hasnít been touched in a month or more Ė makes visitors to your site wonder whether or not youíre still kicking. It conveys a message of unreliability, flightiness and possible inability to deliver the goods on schedule, which are all antithetical to the qualities clients want freelancers to have.
Poor impulse control.
If youíre prone to saying mean, hurtful things or getting highly emotional over daily situations, your blog may send potential clients scurrying away Ė without you realizing it.
More than once a search engine has brought me to a blog whose owner insulted people who had written comments he disagreed with. Probably he thought this was snarky and cool. Another blog featured the kind of keyed-up venting most of us indulge in only among close friends. These tendencies make a lousy impression on strangers who show up at a blog with business issues on their minds.
Unfocused or careless.
Canít stay on topic? Take an hour to get to the point? Canít write a sentence that doesnít contain at least two misspellings and a grammatical blooper? If you have those challenges, you could use an editor to tidy up your blog posts before you go live, but for most solo professionals, thatís not a reasonable investment.
Simply not into it. Go into blogging because someoneís said you must, and you will bore anyone stumbling across your blog out of their skulls. Or youíll soon end up with a blog that trails off into nothingness.
Instead, find marketing vehicles you enjoy Ė or that donít betray your indifference (like direct mail or a web site crafted by someone else for you).
If you have enthusiasm for blogging and can sustain the effort credibly, great. Do it. But donít let anyone scare you into believing that itís a prerequisite for business success. Thatís hot air. My Google traffic and my bank accounts prove it.
Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.
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