It comes with many things. I’m not even going to put an image on this because of it. I’ll be honest though, it’s tough to keep most habits going. This includes writing regular blog posts. Part of why I do it here is so that I can build the habit for the company blog. Maybe I shouldn’t publish all of the entries. This post is company related and reflects my personal opinions and experiences with content marketing and blogging. Please don’t be offended if you find this concerns you.
“Let’s build a thing.” Ok, why? Is it a hobby? Will it help your business or is it a business? Or maybe you built it to try to be cool. There needs to be a purpose to doing things. Even if it is just to pass the time.
I’ve worked with quite a few content properties now, as well as traditional service-oriented small businesses and very few update their sites regularly and/or effectively. I don’t update my own company’s website. Why do I have a blog? To put it simply, my company blog exists to show that we are an authority on certain topics like search ranking, customer support, and design. It also exists to eliminate redundancy in explaining the same thing over again and over again when published information isn’t available or well-written elsewhere. We haven’t kept up with it. There hasn’t been a need to, we get enough referral business. But we haven’t been building real lasting value by relying on referrals. It looks bad and it’d be better if we didn’t keep one at this rate. As my company transitions from a service to a business, this will be unacceptable.
Case Study #1 - Special interest blog #
A content property owner came to us with a special interest blog, over a half million followers on Facebook, and a livestreaming following that’s just beginning to get established. This property is divested from a much larger collection of sites that monetized viral content through Adsense and Amazon referral and he’s going to grow it. But what is the purpose? We assumed it was a dream to run a profitable special interest media property as a business. He paid his writers and claimed the site was his passion. We were inclined to believe it.
Our services to him #
We built a compelling theme, optimized the load times on the site, created a cohesive branding across the social properties, and also traveled to support publishing during conventions. Occasionally we even contributed posts to the site and helped in formatting complex content. This isn’t enough to get a site like this to rank. He had a focus on high quality editorial content and wanted to steer clear of controversial issues. There lies a conflict of purpose in choosing a path like this. Eventually he ran out of money and stopped producing posts. The property’s readers dried up. They are looking for controversial and timely information. There’s a reason successful blogs like this post lots of simple announcements along with their editorials. People want to be entertained and informed in as few steps as possible.
Conclusion of services #
The property was a hobby, not a business. Sort of like this blog is. Around a third of consultations I entertain at work are of individuals wanting to build their hobby into a business. It can be done but its rare. A passion creates an obsession to maintain and in the absence of money his posts would have continued to be published by himself. A hobby or a business can be a passion, but they often aren’t. For me, I love to travel so that’s my hobby. I don’t fly much because I’m not rich, but I can take time from work to travel and work while I travel. I find ways to make it happen in all financial and life conditions. If I wanted to make travel a business I’d become a truck driver or a commercial pilot. A corporate job isn’t going to cut it for making me happy as it lacks the flexibility to travel.
Recommendation moving forward #
Stop paying top dollar for writers. If this is truly a hobby, self-publish own posts when they come to mind. Stop trying to run it like a business, remove any form of ads and resign oneself to spending a sustainable amount of money to keep the hobby going. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it keeps it personal and removes any stress.
Case Study #2 - Good news blog #
A consortium invited us as site builders to design a property that would feature a blog focusing on good news. This is a dubious niche but the consortium has a history of raising funding for projects such as this. We accepted the project due to its focus on philanthropy, a sector in which our portfolio is a little weak.
Our services to them #
We built a site theme, produced a logo and associated graphics, and gave them ways to run contests on site. We also provided post formatting for news content they were republishing (republishing would have been a good fit for Case Study #1 to keep readers in the site). Along with the above, we also engage in strategy calls and provide guidance on how to develop the property.
Growth is stalled until they locate an angel investor. We require original content and media cross promotion to achieve any sort of growth. This requires money for writers and some paid endorsements. Compounded against us is the fact that humans are wired to focus on bad news and they want to focus on good news exclusively, and it’s an uphill battle.
The Future #
We are waiting out the winter and spring. There’s not much point for us to drop the project as the cost is low enough to maintain, but we can’t continue it long term if the funding doesn’t come together. I have better things to do with my time (like travel).
I’m so done with 2016. Things are looking on the up and up for 2017 though! We’ll see if by the end of that year I’m saying I’m done with 2017 :).