This is a guest post is by Nicole Crimaldi, founder of MsCareerGirl.com: a career and self-improvement blog for ambitious young professionals. Nicole is seriously one of my favorite people (both online and off), and her passion for blogging, Social Media, and building relationships shines through in everything she does.
In a recent podcast interview I did for blogcastfm.com, I mentioned that successful bloggers often run their blog like a business. For many, this notion initially sounds unappealing. These passionate bloggers fear blogging won’t be fun anymore if they run it like a business. I beg to differ.
What makes blogging so much fun is growth.
Growth leads to a feeling of success, which leads to confidence. Confidence helps you be happy and settled in your life and career.
In order to experience the “highs” of blogging, you must experience growth. Growth occurs when bloggers are intentional and strategic.
The 3 Blogging Growth Benchmarks
Blog growth occurs in three ways: growing readership, growing opportunities and growing personally.
- Growing relationships. Meeting new readers and growing your relationships with existing readers is probably the greatest reward as a blogger. Sometimes growing relationships involves tweaking your blog design and narrowing your focus. Other times it involves volleying emails back and forth with these people during a tough time. It is exhilarating to see what started as a little idea turn into a reality, and take on a life of its own and help others.
- Growing opportunities. Some of you know that I’m big on “career insurance.” In other words, you need to have a back up plan if life throws you a curve ball. A blog is a great way to create a stage to launch other things. A great blog can introduce you to tons of great people, it can lead you to opportunities you never thought possible. It can help you generate income if you get laid off.
- Growing personally. Matt and I always talk about how our blogs led us to immense personal growth. The benefits of blogging go way beyond meeting people and opportunities. Blogging helps you grow as a person-and this sentence deserves its own post, so we’ll leave it at that!
Ok, I get running your blog like a business is a good idea. How do I start?
First ask yourself, “What makes a great business?” Think about your favorite brand or your favorite local business. What makes them great?
4 Things that make a great business
- Consistency: If your local grocery store says they are going to be open at 8, I bet they are open at 8. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t make your favorite list. If they always carry your favorite homemade muffins, you look forward to that and become a repeat customer because of consistency. Consistency also comes in terms of service, price, and quality.
- Great customer service: customers come first and the company delivers what they promise.
- Great Communication: a great business listens to its customers, is approachable and responsive. The business adapts to changing customer needs and engages in positive communication through branding/marketing.
- Respect: from the business to the clients, from clients to the business, and from the business to its employees.
Now apply the four principles of a great business to your blog.
- Are you a consistent blogger? Do you post a certain number of days per week? Do you post certain series on certain days? Can people come to your site knowing what to expect? Are people confident that they can find what they need on your site when they need it? Is your topic focused?
- Great customer service. Do you put your readers first? Do you give them what you promise?
- Great Communication. When your readers email you with a question, do you write back (and in a timely manner)? Do you actually care what they are saying? Do you go above and beyond to meet their individual needs? Do you read their comments and respond to them? Are you open to negative feedback and suggestions for improvement?
- If you respect your readers, your readers respect you.
- When your readers respect you, they tell others about you.
- When they tell others about you, you experience growth.
- And when you experience growth, you experience a lot of personal satisfaction!
- What do you think makes a great business?
- What makes a great blog?
- Do you see parallels between your favorite businesses and your favorite blogs?
- What tips do you have for bloggers?
- What do you do with your own blog to stay consistent and focused?