Getting Beyond Blogging To An Empty Room

blogging to an empty roomThe first few months of your blog can be lonely. Frustrating.

It will make you wonder if all the work is worth it. It’s not generating phone calls and the submission form lays fallow. You’ve got a lot to do, and this blogging thing might be a waste of time.

Do not fear; do not give in to this temptation. The truth is many blogs fail in the first six months because of impatience.

It takes time to build a database of interesting content, and attract a loyal audience. In theory, the formula is relatively simple: Create interesting and helpful content and get it shared and linked to socially, As you accumulate good stories, your organic search will begin to grow, and slowly but surely, you’ll get engagement and ringing phones and dinging submission forms and downloads.

The challenging part is it takes time. How long? Impossible to say. Each situation is unique. It can be especially slow and difficult if you don’t already have an engaged social audience. It’s going to take more than sharing a blog post to your dozens or hundreds of followers on your social networks.

This is your baby and it becomes part of your life. And it’s important to be in it for the long haul. Following are some thoughts on breaking through that feeling you’re speaking to an empty room.

Embed the blog in the off-line conversation

Remember, it’s going to take more than just posting it once on Twitter and your Facebook page.

  • With clients/prospects at meetings or when you and your staff see them at events and in person: Talk about the blog. Mention you (or someone on the team) wrote a post “on that very topic.” Ask them if they’d like to see anything topic-wise. “This blog is for you. We want to be continually adding value for our clients.” and please share it with your friends and colleagues.
  • With prospects on the phone: Share pertinent posts via email. Make sure your front line staff know the content and have links handy for prospects. Create content that addresses common questions they ask.
  • With friends and colleagues and sphere of influence. When out and about – talk about it. Email relevant posts to people you think would find it of interest.
  • Ask people to share it with their friends and colleagues.
  • As a source of topics – Ask your community what they’d like to see covered and what questions they have. Think about conversations and write posts about it. Then, follow up and share it with those who inspired the post.

Create a direction/stake in the ground/a perspective

When you take a point of view or theme that aligns with your brand and build it out on your blog, you write from the heart or a place of passion. This shows in your content and it will be thought-provoking and interesting. This is the stuff that gets you audience and shares. It will also be enjoyable for you to write about. A client in a very technical industry said he doesn’t want to write about his industry. It’s too boring. We looked at themes that the buyers in his industry are grappling with, and that will drive the content.

It only takes one referral

Last year, a CEO in urban real estate development asked me how it is possible to measure social media. I explained to him how. As I was talking, I need to write this for the blog. I went back to the office and wrote the post (the one I just linked to). I then emailed it to the CEO. “Our conversation inspired me to write about the topic. I thought this would be helpful for you.” Nothing came of that, but I shared it on LinkedIn and a management consultant I worked with ten years ago saw it. He read it and thought, “this would be perfect for my client. ”

He proceeded to share it with his client who called and subsequently hired Big Leap Creative.

If one person is asking the question, you know others are too.

The early days are the happy days. This is the time to be experimenting with your content and your voice, and find that perspective or theme. It doesn’t happen the day you launch. In a year or so you’ll look back and think how bad your original content was. This is your dress rehearsal and the room is empty.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I need to send this to my client who inspired the post.

To my blogger friends and colleagues – please share your  experience and tips from your early days.

Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings via Compfight cc

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  • Danny Brown

    Great article, miss. I recall Chris Brogan once saying it took him eight years to get is first 100 subscribers. I’d have to question his CTA, but still, you get the picture… 😉

    It’s a marathon – no other word for it. You can’t expect to launch among millions of other blogs in your niche and expect to “own” that space, or at least part of it. You need to have a long-term plan, and how you’re going to promote outside the blog (and, offline – don’t forget to share your blog URL on business cards, POS receipts, flyers, etc).

    Your point about having a definitive take is so key. Sure, the easy posts may get you more subscribers, but they won’t grow you as a blogger, or as a business. Take a look online, and see the push-back against generic, 101 blogging, and you get a clear take that people are looking for independent thought. Be that target and you’ll get the traffic.

    Now, I’m off to Buffer this. :)