Is it? Let’s think about it. If you are blogging to bring in business and not one client can be traced back to the blog, then, you are in essence volunteering to throw out your expertise for people to read and implement and never ever give you a dime. Heck most will not even give you a hat tip of a share. This is similar to what Carol Roth talks about this in her book The Entrepreneur Equation (which is fabulous) where she calls a business that is not making any money a jobby (job hobby). Let’s look at this from just blogging as you can have a business and not have a blog so you are not giving away free information as you do in blogging (unless of course you are not making any money there either). You can also have a blog without a business which is the question here … is blogging the new volunteer work?
Blogging as Volunteer Work
We like to help people, of course we do. It helps to build trust in our knowledge and who we are as people. A freebie here for something simple is spreading the goodwill of humanity. But are we taking it too far in blogging? Is post after post that is helping readers really just volunteering your time and you throwing money out the window? Is it always throwing money out the window? No, as in time clients may to come to you from consistently reading the blog and when the time arises for them to need your services, they look no further. Ok, great argument and an even better one is that in blogging you are building trust, authority, and a community that can become clients and/or referral agents. But this takes time so in the meantime, aren’t you really just volunteering? Yes, your writing skills will improve no doubt as the more you practice something the better you get at it (and take a peek at the free writing tips that other volunteers are dishing out) but there has to come a time when you have to look at the time and effort vs the conversion rate. Is there a time limit? Should there be? I do not know. I guess when your revenue stream runs dry or when you take some real action and make some really big but yet simple changes.
Taking Real Action
Taking real action sounds like a power talk where you hear something get so pumped up and cannot wait to implement and make the changes. Sound familiar? We have all done it and feel so empowered until we are back into our own world and sit there and try to make the changes to stop being the volunteer in the world of blogging and becoming the business person. It is a part of being honest with yourself and really look at your blog, website, tweets, connections and tap into where changes can be made so that leads can become conversions. Sometimes it is as simple as asking for it. As many here are readers of Chris Brogan’s blog, you probably were just as shocked as I was over Derek Halpern’s evaluation of the Kitchen Table Companies website: ” … but I don’t see the words small business anywhere on this website.” I think that the look on Chris’ face emulated all of ours – are you effing kidding me? Huh? If that was not an eye opener for many I do not know what is.
Do People Know What You Are All About?
Ask yourself. No wait, throw it out there on Twitter or Facebook and just simply ask, do you know what I do? I actually saw this question posed on Twitter:
Have you ever done this? I know I have not. I think a part of it is that um duh, go to my bio and then my website and you will get the 411. Well as we saw above with Kitchen Table Companies, it is not always so clear. We have to think to ourselves how can it be so unclear? I mean we talk about what we do on the blog all the time and we have it on our profile and tweet articles of our own and others so it has to be so clear exactly what we do. Well, I am here to ensure you that it is not. I, like many, suffer from the “Curse of Knowledge” that Derek talks about. When we are talking to a potential client, we can go so fast or too far and not see the signals that they are so lost. It would be like a football fan talking about the movement by movement of the flea flicker to a 4 year old (ok I have actually tried this). They follow, and ask some questions but, at some point, they let you just go on and on as they are so lost that you finishing allows them to have to stop paying attention.
Can We Stop Being the Volunteer?
If you are blogging as a hobby, then this does not apply to you. If you are blogging for business, you have to look at your past articles, your pages and then make changes that clearly define what you want them to do. On a blog, it seems almost elementary that as you want them to read, comment and share as we have all the right buttons but do we have the call to action of HIRE ME? Nah, as this is the taboo of self promotion.Self promotion is not a territory that we like to delve into as it is wrong. Right, as when throw it in their faces asking them for it, no-one will listen. However as we learned from Christopher Penn, a pop up subscribe that we all claim to hate, has garnered results. Does this equate to asking people to hire us? Well if we look at Derek and his behavioral studies (delve into his blog at Social Triggers and see all that he has studied) and how it relates to conversions, we have to wonder – can I really be so brave and bold to go against all the advice and be the the hard sale? It feels like being a goldfish in an ocean but yet if you are not making any money in blogging and driving conversions and sales, you have to make the changes. We have learned, if nothing else, you have to be there before the sale but we have to ask for the sale. If you are not asking for the sale, we are not going to get the sale.
photo credit: vastateparksstaff