“We founded our startup last year. We are developing the prototype”
“We are trying to get into YCombinator”
“We have a website. A cool looking one we spent 6 years developing on Ruby”
If you’ve been anywhere near a startup founder a regular business owner or most entrepreneurs, they are usually fixated on “products”, “prototypes”, and what have you.
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on products because that’s what you’ll finally sell and make a mark in this world.
The trouble is that with the “product first” approach is this: you don’t focus enough on marketing.
You can do what you want: slog away for hours, go on hackathons, drown yourself in code, or spend millions on setting up plants and factories.
None of that is going to move that product off the shelf.
All this is going to do is to make you feel busy, proud, and give you something to talk about in your next startup meet up.
Start with marketing even before you build products because it’s going to take an awful amount of time (and that too assuming you are doing it just right)
To get digital marketing right, there are a million things you’d need to do. Chances are that you won’t be able to, especially “after” your product is launched.
Because by then, you’d have a hungry pool of team members that you have to feed, fancy offices you have to pay for, and even regular pizza and beer parties that you’d have to pay for.
All this while, there’s no revenue. Granted that you’d want to raise funds, but you really have nothing to show, do you?
That’s why you ought to pick a few lessons from everyday bloggers:
Network from Day # [- 365]
Question for you; What’s common between these bloggers?
- Ravi Chahar
- Neena Nandgopal of AlmostPractical.com
- Lea of LeadingAdvocate
- Brandon Cox of Bloggingleaders
- Ryan of BloggingFromParadise
- George of BlogSetTips
They network. They go out their way to comment on other blogs, create a little community of their own, and help each other with their blogging efforts.
Some of them have nothing to sell. They have no fancy A, B, C round funding, and they certainly have no million dollars lying around to pay for offices, teams, and meaningless parties.
They are just doing what they can.
From a relationship standpoint, they are digging for gold. It’s another thing that they get trickling traffic and quite a name among the community.
When was the last time you went out and left a comment somewhere? Who do you know?
It’s about passion; not chasing cash
Most bloggers might start with the intent of making money, just like small businesses do. Blogging has been around and that only a few people ever managed to make a full-time income off their blogs.
Every blogger knows this. Yet, they start blogs on topics they are passionate about. Often, for them, money follows that passion. Look at Jon Morrow’s blog, for instance. There’s not a single ad.
But it’s not just passion for topics; they are also passionate about the act of blogging itself.
Small businesses — most of them — don’t have passion. They just want ROI.
For businesses, it’s always about “show me the cash, honey.”
Bloggers Invest Where Needed
It’s a shame that small businesses don’t half the things bloggers do when it comes to investing in the right stuff for a sustainable and thriving presence on the web.
Bloggers who are blogging for business (theirs) invest in all kinds of things like:
— Worldclass hosting
— Blazing fast speeds for their blogs and/or websites
— A couple of premium themes and plugins.
— They often reach out for help for website customization, redesign, and for website security.
— They invest time, resources, money, and tremendous effort to make their blogs work for their own goals
I’ll challenge you to this: go ahead, type in for “some local service provider” and check out a few websites of small businesses.
Websites don’t load or don’t exist. There’s just “me me me “ written about on every page (if you can read it), and many businesses don’t even think beyond a website.
Blogging For Business: Built for purpose
Look at Carrie at Carriedils.com: She is a WordPress expert and now she’s positioning herself to train, coach, and educate other business owners or developers to make their WordPress websites work for them.
You’ll know why her blog exists and what she intends to do.
Every serious blogger has a sidebar with a giveaway, in-line calls to action, and many opt-in forms strategically placed to get visitors signup and become a part of their own funnel.
Many small business websites, meanwhile, just harp about themselves with corporate gobbledegook.
No calls to actions. No smart opt-in forms. No exit-intent. No pop-ups. No in-line content upgrades.
Bloggers get Serious Relevant Traffic
Because bloggers “blog”, organic marketing is already on.
Traffic comes naturally.
Since their blogs are purpose-built, they are on their way to collect subscribers (who all signup intentionally).
Bloggers setup persistent, dedicated, and often punishing schedules to make sure they blog consistently. They are, although they don’t seem like it, blogging for business.
Plus, they work on security, optimizing site speed, and a ton of things (including nerdy stuff like fixing Crawl errors).
Slowly, over time, their blogs grow in audience size and they pull in all the relevant traffic that comes in from search or social inbound links or both.
On top of all this, they often get linked to by other bloggers (remember the community thing?). This forces Google to deem them as authorities in their own niches.
Most regular businesses meanwhile stalk in the halls of Fiverr, Up work, and other places trying to drive cheap traffic from Vanuatu and Tuvalu.
Blogging: One-person with a team’s worth of work
Most blogs are one-person entities.
Bloggers end up doing:
— Blogging at an established frequency (1 to 3 to 5 blog posts per week or more).
— Amplifying their content on social media and promoting their content, along with others’ content
— Planning, managing and deploying email campaigns (including RSS to email feeds) for their subscribers
— Networking with others
— Managing their blogs
— Dealing with web hosts
— Trying to come up with more ways to make their blog better, bring in more traffic, etc.
— Creating products of their own (eBooks, webinars, reports, paid digital products, podcasts, videos, and membership libraries).
Maybe you forgot, but it’s just one person doing all this. At best, they’ll hire a VA to help them out. Or maybe a WordPress expert.
No full-time staff and No offices (only kitchen tables).
It’s sad to see so many businesses losing out on the opportunity to make the web work for their benefit and give a serious thought to blogging for business, for content marketing, and for digital marketing.
Don’t get stuck in your own ways.
With entrepreneurs with ego the size of a Brachiosaurus altithorax weighing at 62 tons and is the largest ever dinosaur known, businesses are forever at risk.
Image Credit: Seeker.com [http://www.seeker.com/top-10-largest-dinosaurs-1769041759.html]
What do you learn from bloggers?