Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 3, 2010 9:09 PM

Your Blog Is Your Business

Your Blog is your business, unless it's not your business.

If you Blog as a hobbyist, that's fine, but if you're Blogging to grow your personal profile, build your business, create some semblance of thought leadership or to simply share some of your thoughts and ideas, nothing is going to really happen, unless you treat it as a serious piece of your business. It's not easy. In fact, if you ask anyone who Blogs regularly, it's one of the hardest things to do.

It's easy to forget about your Blog.

Being impressed by someone who regularly Blogs would be a dwarfed emotion compared to the stat of abandoned and forgotten Blogs. For every Blog that is regularly updated, there are probably thousands of Blogs that have been orphaned. The problem with most Bloggers is that they're not writers. They don't see Blogging as a craft and art that must be practiced, pushed and prodded on a consistent and constant basis.

It's easy to let a Blog drop.

In fact, it's easy to let any of the many Social Media channels that you use to connect and share to drop off of the priority list. Sure, there are days when the inspiration runs dry. Sure, there are days when the day-to-day stuff gets in the way of the words. Sure, it's easy to say that it's "the work" that must come first. But, before you do all of that, ask yourself this: "what was it that made you this busy in the first place?"

It's not easy to let a Blog drop.

Think about your clients. Think about the work you're doing. How did you happen to close those pieces of business? I'm lucky (some might say cursed), but a majority of the success we've had at Twist Image comes from the work we do - right here - on this Blog. When we started Blogging in 2003, we (and I say "we" because although this is my worded playground, it is a group effort and a huge part of the overall business strategy of the agency) had a few clients and a few employees. The mass media and industry publications didn't care much about us, because there wasn't much of a story there to tell. Blogging enabled and empowered us to share how we think about the Digital Marketing landscape with the world. This Blog prodded along (it still does), and whether it's working with a major brand, securing a business book deal or getting talent bureau representation, we stay focused on the fact that a lot of that came (initially) because of this Blog (in fact, it still does). Yes, we needed the work to stand on it's own (both the creative and strategic) and we need to keep nurturing all of those client and business development relationships, but to this day many brands find us (and want to work with us) because of the ideas we share here (amongst other reasons).

This Blog is our business.

So, when you think you're too busy to Blog or other priorities float on to the radar, try not to forget that Blogging (if it's a part of your overall business strategy) is your business and the important work that must get done.

What do you think?

A special thanks to Chris Brogan (author of Social Media 101 and co-author of Trust Agents with Julien Smith) for the inspiration with his Blog post: Your Blog Is Not Your Job.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Ricardo Bueno
    Mitch Joel

    I think you're right. With every passing day that you don't post anything, you give an opportunity for your readers to go elsewhere. Now I'm not exactly saying that you have to write every day (for some people like Chris, it works and I think he's set that expectation). I guess my point is if you don't post consistently enough, there are enough options for good content elsewhere.

    If your goal is to provide thought leadership, build awareness, drive traffic, etc. Then some good thinking and action needs to be taken into building that content and not being afraid to put it out there for the world to see and share.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    I was a guest speaker the other night. The topic? Social media. One of the questions? "How much time do you spend, daily, blogging and on social media platforms?" My answer? Probably as much time as you spend watching tv every night. The difference? The time I invest in blogging and on social media definitely has a greater ROI than your TV watching. It's a good thing I enjoy it, but really. It's so worth it. I spend time writing -- which I enjoy -- AND reading great blog posts like this one. Life is good.

    Reply
  • Posted by Conrad Buck
    Mitch Joel

    I think one of the biggest challenges of blogging is not to post everyday or even understand the seperation of serious or casual posting.

    From my experience, one of the biggest obstacles is to find your blogging voice. It's tempting to write directly for the audience or in a tone and style that you think your reader will want to hear. While of course you have to have some perspective, structure and format, the advantage of a blog is that once you find your real voice and forget about "if I write my opinion, will I get haters," you really won't need to even think about to write about. You'll have too much to write about!!

    If you are tryng to find a job or are using your blog to grow your business then set yourself at least some professional guidelines to keep the tone and direction of the blog in line. You can't forget than everyone can read your thoughts and opinions. Within these set boundaries, once you find your optimum blogging pattern, the rest will usually take care of itself. More often than not, trying too hard when you write only makes you want to close up the laptop and try again the next day which of course then leads to lack of interest and a quickly dropped blog.

    Reply
  • Posted by Eric Pratum
    Mitch Joel

    I like your take here, and I like the title even more...partly because I posted "You blog is your business" in my comment on his post right after it went up. It's nice to see your very well thought out counterpoint.

    My comment to Chris was:
    "While a lot people who currently use Twitter, blogs, or whatever other channels might have a problem balancing time in those versus time that is actually billable, I think that people you are expounding the benefits of these to (agency clients, executives, your boss, etc) are much more likely to think something along the lines of "But, blogging is not my job. That's not how we make money."

    For those of us into blogging, the argument can be made that blogging is not our job per se, but for those that do not currently see value in it or have enthusiasm for it, the argument might not be "Your blog is not your job," but in a way rather, "Your blog is your business," no?"

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    No Mitch, I totally agree with you. I read Chris's post when it came out, Julien tweeted it, and it made a big splash. It made sense because Chris makes things very clear. But now I see it more clearly, I think. You guys don't disagree entirely. You and Chris are defining "business" slightly differently. I imagine he'll jump on here and agree that were're all indirectly doing business blogging.

    This post says what Six Pixels of Separation says so well. I'm nearly through reading it - such a great book! I've read lots of SM books, and Six Pixels definitely has its own voice and unique content. I especially appreciate the clean language - so many SM writers go out of their way to be disrespectful. Like misspelled words, that's kind of wearing off and getting old.
    @Conrad Buck I see no problem blogging daily. Look at Chis Brogan, Seth Godin, Copyblogger - most major SM/business blogs. It works well for them.

    Reply
  • I've only recently started a blog and my blog is currently butt ugly! I'm trying to find my voice, writing has not been a strong point but I'm enjoying the learning process.

    I thought long and hard before I started my blog, would it be worth my time and effort in building my business, I wanted to make sure I didn't start a blog and fade when no response came. Each week I struggle to squeeze out the time to produce a blog article and once I've posted my weekly post I find it is quite rewarding like I've achieved something. It seems like Mitch's posts just flow so well, you really are a gifted writer. I'm hoping that after I written a 100 posts I will have improved my writing skills, which I recognize as being more and more important.

    At this stage my blog is not my business, it's more of an education and I'm committed to learning, improving and building it into an effective business tool to communicate with my marketplace.

    Michelle I agree, just turn off the TV and you have more than enough time to blog and it's more rewarding. The only problem is trying to sleep once I have all these thoughts running around in my head. I now have a journal beside my bed to clear the mind ;)

    Reply
  • Posted by Mark Evans
    Mitch Joel

    I completely agree. Although my blog - markevanstech.com - doesn't attract a lot of traffic, it provides me with a public platform to show my insight and perspective to all kinds of people, including clients and potential clients. It also helps that I see the blog as a labour of love - something that I enjoy doing. And I agree that being a writer can be a key thing (I spent 15 years as a technology) because it means blog posts can flow as opposed to having to grind them out.

    cheers, Mark

    Reply
  • Posted by Mitch Fanning
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,

    Your absolutely right (and there are lots of examples to demonstrate your point). One only has to look at what @fredwilson and his blog (avc.com) did for the VC industry (for example). This is only one reason why he is #60 on Fast Company's list of the top 100 creative people in business.

    Businesses need to become publishers and blogs are just one way of doing this.

    Great insight.

    @mitchfanning

    Reply
  • Posted by Gerard McLean
    Mitch Joel

    Posts like Chris Brogan's and questions like @Michelle_Sullivan gets from her audience are rooted in what "blogging" was, not what it is now. For a company now, blogging is merely an efficient way of creating relevant content. Deeper thoughts here http://gerardmclean.com/quit-building-websites.html

    No business forgets to pay the internet bill because they are too busy or not process payroll because they are too busy or not invoice clients because they are too busy. No business that wants to STAY in business anyway. Blogging (or creating relevant content) on a regular basis is just as much of a critical business need now as those other critical things you do. Find time, hire talent or do both, but your blog IS your job.

    Unless you don't want to stay in business.

    Reply
  • Joel-

    And if you don't feel like writing, why not try a video?

    Blogging has evolved SO much since the days of kids in ripped jeans talking about feelings. Perhaps even the term blogging is outdated. Because, what about all the other media? Video blogs? Online TV shows? Podcasts? Online magazines? Online news sites?

    What is a blog and what isn't?

    I think we are just scratching the surface as to what is possible with online content....

    Reply
  • Posted by Rasul Sha'ir
    Mitch Joel

    As usual Mitch you present some great food for thought. As I read Chris' blog my first thought is that he has a very narrow and limited view as to what a blog is and can be. What your blog is, how you use it and how much time you dedicate to it, all depends on who you are, what you are about, and from a strategic level, what are you trying to accomplish with your brand (and a blog can be included in how to reach that goal).

    The value in blogging should be determined by the type of business you operate. The type of personality you have also can dictate how much of your "business" your blog is.
    No disrespect to Chris but personally I've perused through some of his materials and I have yet to come across any really powerful ideas. I mean his book "Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business". . .Just off the top, who builds a business on TACTICS and TIPS??

    When it comes to blogging and how to orient yourself around it, I'd recommend that folks listen to Seth instead. . . http://www.cnvrgnc.com/journal-old/2009/8/2/the-power-in-blogging.html

    Keep up the awesome work you're doing Mitch!

    Reply
  • Writing regularly is a feat. I do it and I am quite proud of the fact. I have been writing a monthly newsletter since 1999 as a training manager and since 2005 as a business owner. I switch to a weekly column a few years ago and the more I write, the more I realize that I DO have something interesting to share with my clients. At least, that is the message I get from them.
    And the nicest part : I learn from it every time!

    Reply
Add a Comment

Please complete all the fields below, including the spam filter (to prove you're not a robot).

  1. Fill in your email address to have your Gravatar photo included with your comment.
  2. Please type the word pixels here:
TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.twistimage.com/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/2033