Start a blog before you start a business.
I know what you’re thinking, “Why would I start a blog when I should be focused on starting my business?” To be honest, that’s a perfectly good question, but as an entrepreneur I’m going to need you to think outside the box.
Let’s start with an assumption: The year is 2013 and unless you’re operating a lemonade stand in the neighborhood, you’re going to need a website or some sort of web presence to compete and succeed in business.
Now of course there are exceptions to this rule. Warren Buffet is famous for working at a desk that doesn’t have a computer anywhere near it. The Berkshire Hathaway website also looks like it’s straight out of the year 1995 (It probably hasn’t changed much since) but you’re also not Warren Buffet.
Now that we agree that you’ve got to have some sort of web presence, the question is “what type of web presence should you have?” Sure Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus are great but there’s not much substance on these sites. You can’t possibly express yourself in 140 characters or less either. You need a way to brand yourself, interact and educate your prospective customers, and retain complete control over your message. The best way to do this is through a blog.
We also need to make a second assumption: The world of marketing has changed and it’s largely due to a fundamental shift in consumer behavior.
What does that mean? In the good old days companies were able to buy, beg, and bug consumers in order to push products and brand messages. Today, consumers are increasingly less responsive to intrusive form of marketing. We have spam folders to filter our inboxes, “Do Not Call” lists to stop the telemarketers, and television viewers can even skip commercials these days.
So what does this all mean for you and your business?
Because the world of marketing has changed, you must also change the way you market your business. Today you can’t buy, beg and bug consumers. Instead you have to earn their interest and the best way to do that is through education and thought leadership. What is the best way to educate prospective customers and exert yourself as a thought leader today? Well through a blog of course!
A blog is a platform that will allow you to speak about trends in your industry, the many features and benefits of your product / service, and inform your customers about company news.
You can even start blogging before your business has launched. Blogging is a great way to build hype and mystery around a company or product launch. You can allude to the many awesome benefits and features of your new product / service without revealing what the product or service actually is. While you building hype you can also start to build a mailing list for people interested in receiving more information about your launch. By doing so you’ve effectively started marketing before your company has even launched!
Blogging only works well if you spend some serious time on generating some epic content. Think of your blog as a brochure on steroids. Remember brochures? Those three-paneled printouts that told you all about a company and their products and services? Well your blog is your brochure but instead of talking all about yourself (no one likes a person who talks all about themselves) make sure you give insight about your industry. Talk about the future, the past, and where you fit into the picture. Make predictions and make bold statements. Encourage and inspire your readers.
Another thing – don’t just blog for yourself. Write some awesome content and ask the trade journal in your industry to post your content on their blog. Find another big blogger in your industry and ask them to post your content with a link back to your site. Becoming a guest blogger will help you build an audience and again, you can do this before you’ve even launched your company.
What’s more is that blogging is one of the most cost effective forms of marketing. Besides the time it takes you to write your content, blogging is easy and cheap. Think of blogging as an investment. If you spend time, do your research, and write great content, it will yield you high-returns in the form of increased traffic, new customers, and lots of revenue.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur you’d be wise to spend some time blogging before starting your business. After all, without a solid sales or marketing plan, your million dollar idea isn’t worth a million dollars, is it?
This post was written by Jordan Fried. Jordan is an avid blogger and internet marketing consultant. He writes about online marketing, blogging, and inspiration for entrepreneurs at JordanFried.com. You can also follow Jordan on Twitter @JordanFried
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