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7 tips to start and grow your blog

Do you have a blog?

I have been blogging consistently since early 2007. First my blog posts were monthly with an occasional extra post. Within 18 months I went to twice a month. Another 18 months later, I went to weekly posts. Occasionally I posted twice a week.

This summer I announced a two-month break when I decided to post every other week.  With this short break the exception, I have not missed a week in a decade. That is a lot of writing!

Why blog?

Not everyone enjoys writing. Not everyone is good at writing. You can get past that, trust me.

Here are six reasons that you might want to give blogging a try.

  1. Blogging can be fun and creative.
  2. It can add to your business growth and lets you connect with your tribe.
  3. Blogging lets you be seen as an expert with a viable business.
  4. Blogging lets you create lasting relationships. And when people know, like, and trust you, they are more likely to become your customers.
  5. Get intentional.
  6. Your blog becomes your place to share your intellectual property.

If you are already on Instagram and/or Facebook, you are likely writing already. You are sharing what you create and your idea. You should be sharing those on a blog.

Here’s a big reason why.

All that intellectual property and all those great ideas you post are clearly yours. You wrote them, you own them. However, should any of those platforms get sold or go under, your content may disappear.

Likewise you’ve garnered many followers on social media. Again, if the platforms disappear, your followers disappear at the same time.

So if you care about  your intellectual property, your business ideas, and your business growth, start and grow your blog.

Here are 7 steps to start and grow your blog.

1. Get intentional

Before you start blogging or if you want to take a look into building your existing blog, consider what your intention is for your blog.

It doesn’t matter what it is — it’s personal to your business — you just need to be clear about it.

Perhaps you are looking for a way to share your art or you want to share your artistic journey. Maybe you want to teach others how to make art. Maybe you want to be a voice for a crafting lifestyle. Maybe you want to connect with like-minded creatives. Maybe you are hoping to drive sales.And, whatever your intention is, it can change over time as your business changes.

For me blogging is about sharing information and building community to drive sales by sending people to my website. I want to build a community of creative professionals who think of me as their go-to-source for business information for arts/crafts. As I said, I’ve been blogging since 2007. I’ve been sending out a newsletter even longer and publishing business content for creatives since 1994.  If I keep that intention in mind when I write a blog post, I’m more successful at it.

2. Provide information

This can be “how to” or just sharing the latest information on an upcoming show or exhibit. It should provide valuable and actionable content for the readers.

This helps to establishes you as an expert, the “go to” person on a topic.

You can also make offers on your products or provide coupons, etc., but the primary goal should be to provide information. That’s why people will want to read your blog.

Take the time to create some type of editorial calendar for blogging, so you know what you will write about. You can share a variety of content from your own knowledge to case studies, success stories and testimonials from people you’ve worked with.

And as your blog grows, be sure to offer internal links to other blog posts that you’ve written if appropriate.

3. Be consistent

Have you ever gone to someone’s website and checked out their blog, only to find the last time they blogged was six months, or even a year, ago?

Gee, you wonder, are they still in business? It goes to building trust with your customers.

Bloggers who keep a consistent schedule about blogging are more successful. Readers start to rely on you for specific information and will return to your blog for that type of information.

Along with consistency comes frequency of postings. The more often you post, the greater your readership, and in turn your business will grow. Posting on a consistent basis increases your ranking on search engines.

Of course, you have to figure out what works for you when it comes to blogging. You have to consider how much time and energy you actually have when coming up with a schedule. It’s not just writing the post. You also have to edit, create, or find graphics and market the post.

In general, one time a week or one time every other week is a minimum. Again, it’s related to what your intention is. If you are trying to become known as a voice for the crafting lifestyle, you would want to post more often than perhaps someone wanting to showcase their art.

4. Share yourself, your staff, other professionals

Money comes through people, and most of us like to know who we are giving our money to.

I think this is especially true in the arts area. The people who do business with you like to know who you are.

This is your chance to share something about yourself. Let your personality shine. Customers or potential customers also want to know the people that work with you. And, if you have friends who blog, take a turn blogging on each others’ pages. It will help each of you increase your audience.

If you own a shop and have employees, let them write some of the posts. They may resonate with some people who don’t resonate with you. It will still be good for your business.

5. Use technology to share your ideas

Technology will let your ideas get further than the initial viewing on your website.

You can connect your blog to Facebook, and you can tweet about your blog. You can share your blog on Instagram and on Pinterest. You may decide to share just bits of your blog rather than the entire blog on social media. The goal is to share so people can then head back to your website or online store. Why? Because that’s were they can buy from you!

Many of my blog posts originate with our weekly e-zine. They then post to our blog and then to Facebook. I find it interesting that I often get comments on the blog or on Facebook from artists who originally read the material in the ezine. You never know where your content will be found.

You should also configure the social media icons on your blog to encourage sharing on a wider basis. I have sharing icons at the end of each post.

6. Participate in blog events

Here are a few ideas.

Sponsor a blog contest. It could be as simple as asking for input on your latest quilt design, perhaps helping you name it. For a prize, you can offer a copy of the pattern.

Look for ways to collaborate with others.

If you are a book author, create a blog hop. In this case, you find several other bloggers and ask them to review your book. They in turn ask for comments on the post and offer a copy of your book to a random commenter. Each blogger advertises the blogs where your book will be reviewed, so more people learn about other blogs.

For the past few years, a group of pattern designers I have worked with have created blog hops to increase their visibility — and it worked.

Currently I know some DIYers who are all tackling a decorating project with their own style and will share blog posts.

7. Blogging is just part of your strategy

Remember that blogging is one part of a strategy for your business, and it’s an important one.

Look for other ways you can connect with your customers, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and your e-zine (online newsletter). While you may not share the exact content, you can drive people to your blog so they learn more about you and your business.

One important note about sharing your content on social media vs. sharing it on your blog. You own the content that is on your blog. If Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest go away, so does your content. It’s important to have your content in a place that you own and control.

Stuck for an idea where to start?

I think many people are stuck with knowing where to start with blogging. Is that you? Do you feel at a loss for a topic?

One idea is to take your customers on a tour of your studio or shop. I admit that I love to tour other artists’ studios. In fact, I enjoy it so much, I created a lecture to share the studios I like. It’s a popular lecture at International Quilt Festival and at some local guilds. I also featured a studio in each issue of the magazines I published (The Professional Quilter and Create Inc.) for the same reason. And, I love to see the shops I want to visit ahead of time, or maybe just to put them on my wish list.

Another idea is to share your story about how you got into art.

A third idea, which can be minded for many blog posts, is to share what inspires you and your work.

It’s your turn!

Do you blog? What are some of your success tips?

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