To all creators who’ve wondered, “Should I start a blog?”
These days, almost everyone has a blog. Whether you’re a recreational sporting goods company or the President of the United States, you realize that blogging can be a powerful tool to build your audience and establish a place at the table with thought leaders all over the world.
With new blogs cropping up faster than radishes in the spring, should you add your name to the growing roster of creators with blogs? Or are you better off passing up the trend to focus more time on your work?
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to add a blog to your list of ongoing creative projects, I’ve got you covered. In this post, I’ll walk you through some amazing benefits and considerable disadvantages so you can decide if blogging is right for you. The decision is yours, my friend. What will it be?
If you’ve ever kept a journal, then you’ve likely felt the powerful effects writing can have on creativity. Once you start letting words flow from your mind and onto a page, you’ll often find that they start pouring out of you as if you’d just repaired a leaky faucet.
“I write to imagine things differently and in imagining things differently, perhaps the world will change.” – Terry Tempest
This is a phenomenon known as flow state, which occurs when we become so focused on something that we enter into a state of flow that dismisses our consciousness to everything else around us. Neural chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin take over and help us achieve an optimal level of performance that improves our ability to form our thoughts into new ideas. In other words, flow state is wildly powerful.
Whether or not you find this flow while writing in your journal or on a public-facing blog, the more you enter into this state, the more creative you’ll be.
*Patreon helps creators like you earn ongoing revenue from their fans.
A quick google search for “blogs about blogging” will quickly show you: there is A LOT of content out there. With the number of blogs increasing daily, bloggers need to find some way to stand out from the crowd. This often means refining the subject matter of their blog, amping up promotion, and increasing visibility through SEO tactics. With Google Adwords surfacing favorable content in search, it can seem almost impossible to ever make it to the first page of search results without a dedicated marketing team behind you.
If you’re already having trouble keeping up with the work you’re currently producing, starting a blog may not be the right decision for you.
Consider for a moment what your blog would cover. Would it be about your creative process? Interviews with your idols? Do a quick search online for the exact type of content you would write about on your blog. If you find that there are more search results than numbers in a phone book and your extra time is limited, you might be better off not adding to the already vast amount of online content.
Most personal websites are a collection of static pages. While this can be a great way to present yourself to those looking for you online, this is often not enough to drive new traffic (and potential new fans) to your site. This is where SEO comes in.
“I’m a strong advocate of blogging. It helps define where I stand in the larger community; enables me to converse with my readers; helps me spread the word about new merchandise and events — plus it’s super powerful for SEO.” – Brad Guigar of Surviving Creativity
Every time you publish a new blog post, search engines index it so that people can find it when they search for similar content online; the more posts you publish, the more entry-points you will have to your site. With all of these opportunities to get new eyes on your site, it’s no wonder that websites with over 200 blog posts get five times more leads than sites with less than ten posts.
If you’re struggling to build your audience, blogging can help new fans discover you by increasing traffic to your work.
When you’re first starting out, your blog might feel a bit more like a private journal than a lead generator. You might spend days packaging your thoughts into a well-formed blog post, excitedly publishing it to all of your social channels, and patiently waiting for a flood of engagement that never seems to happen.
When we first started the Patreon blog, we had a small viewership that rarely interacted with our posts. We’d encourage staff members to share articles with their networks and tweaked the titles of our posts to maximize SEO. It wasn’t until we had over fifty published articles, a consistent posting schedule, and a newsletter showcasing our latest posts that we really felt like we had a real readership.
If you don’t have the time to write and publish content on a consistent basis, it may be very difficult for you to build a following on your blog.
Since blogs can drive a great amount traffic to your site, they’re also an opportunity to create an additional revenue stream for your work. For some, this might mean signing up to Google Adsense and displaying relevant ads to your viewers; for others, it might mean leveraging the blog to sell your work. There are countless ways that you can use your blog to bring in additional income.
If you’re looking for great examples for how to monetize your blog, check out best-selling author, Jeff Goins. Jeff began by establishing himself as a credible expert on blogging by providing tons of helpful advice on the subject for free. Eventually, fans began asking him why he was giving away so much great content for free (sound familiar?). This helped him to realize the potential for creating an additional revenue stream on his blog. Now, Jeff is making a killing from offering premium content to those willing to pay, while keeping his growing audience healthy through a ton of free content.
So what will it be? Are you ready to spend some time building a blog or put more of your energy into something else?
Whether or not you decide to start a blog, you can count on us for constantly sharing good stuff on ours. We’ll help you build your community and optimize your creative business for success.