“Social media can be great tools to drive traffic, but it is the blog that will do the most to build a platform,” reported The New York Times blogger Melinda F. Emerson in “Blogging to Build Your Business“.
Emerson interviewed Michael Hyatt, a blogger who writes about leadership and just published The New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Hyatt has been blogging since 2004 and shifted to daily posts in 2010. He has roughly 300,000 subscribers and yes, the blog makes money:
He is proof that not only can your blog help promote your business, it can even become a revenue source — if you get really good at it. Mr. Hyatt said that his blog has several revenue streams, including advertising (banner ads and affiliate sidebar ads), sales of his e-books and speaking engagements. He said the blog generates at least $35,000 a month in revenue. [emphasis added]
Blogging benefits are easier to evaluate than social media, writes Emerson, because one can count unique visitors, comments, interactions, time on site, and other metrics. This is true, although, as we’ve noted, even blogs with minimal comments can still be very valuable to the bottom line.
Hyatt offers several professional blogging tips for readers, starting with this crucial recommendation first:
Create the content yourself: You can’t hire a ghostwriter to blog for you. If you try, you’ll be found out and considered a poseur, which will do irreparable damage to your brand.
Oh, so true! There is no faster way to lose the love of your audience than to pull a Cyrano de Bergerac-style ruse. So, how can you build your credibility through a blog, if you’re not writing it?
Simple. You hire others experts in the field to write it for you, and clearly give them credit. That’s the Six Estate philosophy behind hiring professional journalists. It is also why our Newsblogging Process teams journalists with other pros to polish every single update under your blog’s banner.
What else must you do to create a business-building blog, and “get more blog for your buck”?
Emerson provides the answer when she writes:
You must be willing to give away your best content for free and engage in a continuing conversation for it to pay off for your business.
In short, you must view the blog as a living part of the business, an asset that grows with time and provides real value to your customers and community. No blog, business, or brand is built in a day.
Katie McCaskey is SixEstate's content director. She tests real-world application of content marketing techniques using the cafe she co-owns as a laboratory. She was Tech Editor of Chief Content Officer, 2010-2011, and contributes to the Content Marketing Institute. Connect with her on Google+ or @KatieMcCaskey.