In my last post I outlined six great reasons why you should be blogging consistently and regularly and also gave you my recommendation for the best blogging app for the iPad.
For the author-entrepreneur, blogging should be as easy as falling off the proverbial log because…
all blogging is simply writing.
Unfortunately, I see many people, some of them my friends and colleagues, who are forgetting this simple truth.
Now don’t get me wrong. Many of these hard-working entrepreneurs are spending a lot of time writing a quality article every week and putting it out in a newsletter to their list like clockwork.
Some of them include their entire article in their newsletter and others choose to place a portion of that article in the newsletter and then send the reader over to their blog to get the “rest of the story.”
The first group (those who put the whole article in their newsletter) then have to write additional content for their blogs, if they blog at all. And those in the second group (the ones who send visitors over to their blogs for the rest of the article) are too busy thinking about their next newsletter issue and all the other things that must be done in their businesses every week to work up much enthusiasm for additional blogging.
I am arguing that if you produce a weekly or even bi-monthly newsletter, you probably don’t post on your blog as much as you know you should or worse yet, you don’t blog at all, regardless of how much you like to write.
This is exactly what happened to me over the past year.
I had committed myself to producing Zen Minutes, our content rich, graphically beautiful newsletter every single week with each issue containing multiple sections including a note, a couple of different calendars, recommendations section, personal reflections and a portion of a quality article which would then send readers over to my blog for the rest of the article where they would (hopefully) leave comments.
But late last year, I started to look at the return on all the time each week that I invested in my newsletter.
Was the newsletter attractive? Check.
Graphically rich? Check.
Delivered great content? Check.
Was I getting a great open rate? Not so much.
Was I making sales and getting clients from the newsletter? Not nearly as many as I would have liked.
Was it time to kill the newsletter? Hmmmm….
At first I balked. After all, we had put a lot of time and energy into the production of Zen Minutes and I loved the look of it. What I didn’t love was all the time involved and the pressure of the weekly production schedule but most of all, I didn’t like the return I was getting on my time and effort.
My friend and colleague, businesswoman Sue Painter, alerted me to a quote from former piano student, Ellen Gibson in an article from the January issue of O Magazine: “we sometimes stick with a doomed endeavor longer than we should in order to justify our original decision and the time, money, or effort we’ve already put into it…psychologists call the phenomenon ‘escalation of commitment to a failing course of action‘…”
And then realization hit me like a thunderbolt…
here I was doing something which required tons of work and time, which was producing negligible results for me and to top it off, it was preventing me from blogging regularly, which would be much more likely to produce the tangible results I wanted. In fact, a summary of new research in this article from Social Media Examiner found “There is a strong correlation between how frequently a blog posts and the amount of traffic generated. In fact, businesses that post daily will generate 5 times more traffic than those that post weekly or less.”
Not to mention that business blogging maven Denise Wakeman has been telling me this for years!
But instead of giving up Zen Minutes entirely, I decided to keep my favorite part, the very section on which we had gotten the most favorable feedback from our readers…
the Note from Ellen…
Here’s how the Note works: each week I feature a photograph of a plant; a flower, a tree or perhaps an herb, that has a special affinity for the Southern United States. After all, I’m a native Southerner, was a biology major in college and my parents ran a commercial greenhouse in Georgia, so I know a thing or two about Southern flowers. My business partner, Carol Brizzi, is a accomplished photographer and often supplies the images.
I then talk about that week’s flower a bit and relate some characteristic of the plant to an aspect of marketing. After all, most of us learn best through story and metaphor.
Then, in addition, I bring my readers just the information they need that week to stay on top of what’s going on.
For example, in this week’s Zen Minutes, I’m featuring a photo of a red geranium that I brought indoors to overwinter, as here south of Atlanta, the gorgeous red blooms and succulent spicy scented leaves would have long been decimated by now. You can see how I used the image of the red geranium to talk about business by taking a look at this week’s Zen Minutes here.
I love writing the Note from Ellen and Carol loves the photography part. Our readers have already told us they love the Southern flowers business metaphors. Time commitment is minimal and we can also deliver the one piece of information I believe our readers need to have in their hands.
And, I’m no longer bogged down by a time consuming, low return on investment task just because I had previously made the decision to produce a weekly newsletter.
As a result, my blogging productivity has soared…
I’ve also been inspired by The Business Goddess, Laura West, who produces a lovely brief communication she sends out to her readers each week.
Of course, if your newsletter is working for you, then by all means retain it. That’s not the point…
The question to ask yourself is this:
What time consuming, low return on investment activity in my business do I need to kill off before the day is out?