Blogs serve several functions. It demonstrates your thoughts and ideas. A blog explains your professional capabilities. A blog seeds thinking prospects with ideas how they might use your services. That is, if you prepare your blog to be ready for such opportunities. Let’s look at what you need to consider to take advantage of what comes to you from building relationships on the web.
Note: This advice is for those of you who WANT to use your blog as a business builder. If you’re blogging for fun and love, just skip this post entirely.
Basic Blog Appearance
Imagine you’ve shown up for a job interview. You’re wearing scruffy jeans, a Hawiian shirt, and cheap shoes without socks. (By the way, this is exactly what I’m wearing as I type this). What is your prospective employer thinking? I imagine something like this: “clearly, you don’t take yourself seriously. I won’t, either.”
Think about your blog this way. When someone comes to your blog, is it dressed up for business, or just casual and laying around? Do you have unnecessary widgets in the sidebar? Are there 2,478 ads blinking and fluttering around? Look at your blog with the eyes of someone looking to do business with you. How might you tidy up the design to feel more professional? (Hint: It doesn’t have to cost money for this to happen.)
I’ve written about this a bit before. I’ve shown you how to make your blog design work for you. The “About” page in your blog is so important. I can’t tell you how many times I land on someone’s blog for the first time, and decide that I want to know more about who publishes the blog. Often, there’s nothing of value there.
When you write your About page with business in mind, you need to go even further.
Make sure the About page speaks about you from the perspective of the capabilities you possess and that you’d like to share with prospective business colleagues. Meaning, don’t just write about who you are, where you’re from, and who lives at your house with you. Make sure it gives people the following three things:
- What you’ve done as it relates to what you hope to do for them.
- Some measure of your social proof.
- What you intend to do going forward.
When I talk about what you’ve done and how it ties to what you intend to do, I’ve covered that in ” write your LinkedIn profile for your future.” I mean that you should give people a sense of why they want to do business with you.
A measure of your social proof is just another way of mentioning any accomplishments or affiliations that relate to what you do for people. Are you a three time top real estate sales award winner? I’d want to know that. This might include your online social proof, like whether your blog is in the top 200 on Technorati, or you’ve won an award or something. That’s a good thing to put there.
The way you mention what you intend to do is by saying what you’re focusing on. Say things like, “I build community sites for small town sports teams, focusing on helping people get to know each other.” Don’t necessarily write about things you haven’t yet done, unless what you’re saying is that you’re learning how to do X. Talk from the perspective of what you want to be doing for work.
Your Blog Content
Here’s where all the real work happens. This should be obvious, but people who read your blog come away with an opinion of your capabilities. If you write about how cool Batman’s movie is, they’ll love that you like Batman, but they might not think much about doing business with you.
Write posts that give people a sense of your business capabilities. For example, Chris Webb helps people interested in the publishing business. By reading his posts, I learn about how I publisher looks at books, but I also learn how Chris thinks. If I were someone looking to hire a powerful idea exchange expert, I’d know what Chris thinks, and be able to make my choice. (Chris is also my publisher for my upcoming book with Julien Smith.)
You can get relatively creative in how you build blog content that’s useful to helping you find business. Jeremy Vaught made a cool move last year. He wanted to work with Seesmic, a video community platform. Jeremy bought SeesmicBlog.com and started blogging there, with passion, about Seesmic. Soon enough, Loic LeMeur and team reached out and got Jeremy involved in the project officially. Clever, eh?
Having a blog that shows your business potential beats having a resume. Even as great as LinkedIn is, it’s never as fresh and reinforcing as writing great blog posts that give people a better sense of what you offer.
What Do You Think?
How are you approaching your blog as a business tool? What would you do differently? Have you found success through your blog posts?
Photo credit, Rochette et al