Five. That’s a nice number. In fact, it’s the number of the week; and not just because I can’t think of ten reasons why you should write a blog (or even six reasons). Admittedly, it’s often said that people think in threes (so if you’re trying to persuade someone to do something, try it), but that would also make for quite a short list and possibly a rather boring article. So, five it is.
There’s another reason why five is the number of the week: I’m celebrating five years of blogging at Creativepool. [FANFARE] That’s five years of interesting articles, helpful advice, witty (and occasionally acerbic) banterful waffling…and, most importantly, fresh and brilliant content. Well, that’s according to my mum, anyway.
But seriously, from sole traders to multi-nationals, there are some very good reasons to blog, whatever your industry.
So here are five reasons why you should write a blog:
1. Google loves it
So, you’ve got a website. Good. How often do you update it? Oh, there’s the odd word in your About Us page that could be changed, perhaps. Well, from an SEO point of view, that’s not going to cut the mustard. For a website to appeal to the likes of Google and those lovely algorithms, helping it to appear higher up the rankings, content has to be updated and fresh. In short, Google needs to know that your website is active, otherwise it will fall off the virtual radar. Every blog posted is one more indexed page – and that’s good news for your ranking.
2. Other people might love it
Seeing as this is Creativepool, let’s make it a relevant example: let’s say you’re a freelance illustrator. Your work is top-notch and your portfolio is bulging; but apart from people you send the link to, who’s looking at it? Perhaps you haven’t quite got as much work as you’d like – always touting yourself around and worrying about the next month. But does your work really speak for itself? I mean, sure, you are immensely talented and all that…but isn’t there more behind the work than the face-value beauty of it? What’s the story? What’s the meaning? What were you trying to achieve? People love a backstory; just look at X Factor. If your website is more or less just visual, and nobody’s visiting your website, then you’re missing a trick. Blog about your work: tell us what it means, and how and why you did it.
3. You'll become an "expert"
This links with the first two points. A great way of driving traffic to your website is if you’re an expert in your field. Or at least, if people think you are! If you write about your work and the techniques you’ve used in an engaging way (and the content is well written and error-free), then people will come back for more. This can apply to all sorts of people: your peers, potential employers, students wanting to do what you do. If you’re a member of LinkedIn, you’ll know that it’s FULL of people in related industry groups leaving comments on other people’s articles. That gets the authors known – and if they’re any good, they’re considered to be experts. Is there a new technique or trend out there? What do you think about it?
4. It can get you work
You’re probably seeing a pattern emerging now: all these points are linked. If Google loves your website, and other people love it, AND you’re an expert, then you’re on the right road to getting a bigger and better reputation – and consequently more work. But in order to get that work, you need to write your blog in the right way. In marketing terms, you need to include what’s known as a “call to action” (also known as a “clickthrough”). In case you’re not familiar with this, I’m going to talk about it in corporate terms, and then you can relate it to your own niche;
Someone visits your website to read a blog. Oh, look! There’s a link to a free ebook at the end! They click through and find there’s a form asking them for maybe an email address and what relevant things they’re interested in (with the all-important promise that they can unsubscribe from the mailing list at any time). In exchange for that information, they receive their free ebook.
Now, this may not directly apply to you as an illustrator, say. So rather than an ebook, you could offer subscribers a nice PDF download of all your latest work on a quarterly basis. Or, if you’re getting into the blogging swing of things, they could sign up to get a weekly/biweekly/monthly notification of your posts. Realistically, nobody is going to bookmark your blog unless you are a major industry leader, but by delivering it straight to their inbox, they’re more likely to read it. Bigger readership, bigger following, bigger reputation…hopefully leading to bigger bucks.
5. It’s fun
Creativepool is, as you know, “all about the work”. However, there is another very good reason to blog. The four points above are all very important, but writing a blog is actually good fun – and you can do it anywhere. I know only two people who don’t have a smartphone, and these days, there are great blogging apps out there that make blogging on the go a breeze. For me, the best thing about blogging is that it’s a chance to write less formally than I do in my usual job as a copywriter and editor. So why not give it a go?
Ashley is a copywriter, editor and blogger