It’s time for some hard truth.
They say, “if you want to grow your business, you should build a website and start a blog.” Turns out that, “fifty percent of consumers say content marketing (blogging) has a positive impact on purchasing decisions” according to QuickSprout. Companies that put out useful information on their Web sites are going to help their businesses thrive.
But how long will it take?
You can’t put up a blog on your site, write a few posts, and expect customers to come flocking — that’s just not how online content marketing works. This strategy is not a quick improvement by any means.
I started SwimUniversity.com in 2007 — that’s seven years ago! And I haven’t been constantly writing blog posts the whole time, but I have been in recent years.
I have a friend who started a men’s fashion blog, and it took him four years to see success and income from it. After talking to a few other bloggers, this seems to be the magic number.
Yikes. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but there have been studies and experiments where blogs have been able to reach one million visitors a month by posting incredible, in-depth articles for 365 days straight.
Ok, that may all sound like bad news, but it’s the truth. Blogging will not bring you customers overnight. It’s a long-term marketing strategy, and if you value your business (and want to be current) it’s something you should think about investing in.
Here is my recipe for creating an incredible blog that will bring you customers.
1. Start a Blog
Seems obvious, but you need a blog. I recommend using Wordpress in this case. If you don’t have a Web site, you can also try Wix and SquareSpace.
2. Write Everyday
Here’s the tough part: you need to write at LEAST 1,000 words a day, and publish at least six times a week.
Start by collecting a giant list of questions your customers have been asking over the years, and write a 1,000 words addressing each of those questions. I bet you could come up with at least 100 questions to answer on your blog.
They can be from very specific issues to questions about products. In fact, if they are, let the manufacturer know you wrote something helpful and ask them to share it on social media if they have an account — that’s going to bring you traffic. That traffic could turn into sales if you have a lot of other content that will help them out when they arrive at your site.
I know everyone isn’t a great writer, and on the internet, you don’t have to be, but it’s nice to read something well-written. If you’re not a writer, or just don’t want to do it, I recommend hiring someone. There are plenty of freelance writers out there that would kill for a job like that, and you would be doing them and yourself a huge favor.
“Build it and they will come” doesn’t work online. You need to tell people you have something worthy of their time. And in the process, Google will become aware of it too. This part takes some serious time, even more than writing.
I use the 80/20 principle, where I spend 20 percent of my time creating a blog post, and 80 percent of my time promoting it on social media, emailing it to my colleagues and telling my subscribers.
When you start a blog, you should also have a way of capturing email addresses so you can send readers an email every time you post something new and helpful. I recommend using MailChimp for this — the first 2,000 subscribers are free to use the service!
Sound like a bummer? It shouldn’t be. It should be motivating.
I was able to build a successful online business by doing these 3 simple steps above. I spend my time creating content — whether it’s writing a blog post, filming a video, or creating an infographic — and the rest of my time promoting it.
To be honest, I didn’t spend much time on my site until 2011. My content was weak (500 words and under) and I had no rich media, such as videos or infographics on my site.
When I started getting serious, things quickly changed. I tackled the Web site full-time and continue to make it as useful as I can to real people. That means, I didn’t waste my time writing content just so Google would be happy — I made real people happy, and Google came second.
So when you start your blog or your company Web site, don’t worry too much about SEO (search engine optimization), worry about your customers and how they’ll feel after consuming what you've created. They will be grateful, Google will be grateful, and over time, you will have an unstoppable business model — hopefully in less than four years.