As your business grows (and grows up), it can be inspiring to look back at a chronicle of what you've accomplished and how far you've come. Having that record is one of the benefits of blogging, and a reason to continue dating your posts.
But when business blogs are completely filled with announcements and personal musings from the business owner, that's a missed opportunity to connect with your prospective clients.
Sure, your family, clients and other supporters will always be thrilled to hear of your latest successes, accomplishments and lessons learned, but what about someone who is just getting to know you? Will those things mean as much?
Let's say you have a prospective client named Rosanne. She's at a networking event and tells your friend Jeff that she's dealing with a difficult situation right now. "I've got just the person who can help you!" Jeff says. He hands her your business card and tells Rosanne that you provide services and solutions for people just like her.
When she gets home, she visits your website to find out more about you, and sees a link to your blog. Here are five possible reasons that Rosanne might check out your blog, and how your "personal update" posts might meet her needs (or not):
- To see how active your business is, and the current state of operations. Congratulations, your personal updates will do a great job with this one. Be sure to create a category that makes it easy to find your latest news, such as "News," "What's New," "Announcements" or "Updates."
- To get to know the voice and personality behind the business – who is the person (or people) she'll be receiving services from? Great, your personal updates can definitely deliver this, as long you write authentically while staying consistent with your brand.
- To get a sense of how well you take care of people, including the care you take to provide helpful information that is clearly written and easy to find. Uh-oh, personal updates won't help you much here. You'll want to add some client success stories as a glimpse into your approach to client care.
- To learn tips she can use immediately to relieve her problem. Hmm, I don't think your personal stories will help here, either, unless you combine them with "how to" articles that break down her complex problem into bite-sized pieces. Of course you can't diagnose or help Rosanne until you get to know her, but you can start caring for her with these basic solutions and resources.
- To assess how knowledgeable you are. Rosanne wants to know that you're an expert she can trust with her problem. After all, she may be considering investing her time, money and energy into working with you. For that you'll need to share your expertise, not just your experience. At this point, Rosanne doesn't want to hear funny stories, rants or creative musings. She wants reassurance that you know your stuff!
(These points were adapted from my previous article, Should You Call Your Blog a Blog?)
Personal reflections are just one example of what I call "connective content." Ideally, you'll want to balance your blog between all three main types of content.
If you do want to share a personal story on your business blog, think about how you can turn that story into a lesson that highlights your expertise and reinforces your brand. How can you make a connection between your experience and the problems you help your clients solve?
Getting people to visit your website is a pretty empty goal for your blog. Make sure you're helping them once they get there. By doing that, you can turn someone from a stranger into a prospective client. From there, you can work together to decide whether you're a good fit.
At the very least you'll attract new readers who are likely to come back (and maybe even bring some friends) – as long you continue to invite them.