David Risley, one of my favorite bloggers, has put up a thoughtful post asking whether blogging is “broken” as a business model.
He notes the saturation level of information online, and wonders if it is creating a “community of tire kickers” who will never pay for high-value information products. He asks whether Apple and Google – both of which have just launched systems to charge small micro-payments for information – have seen the future of content marketing. Many of the top Internet marketers seldom post to their blogs any more, and some have quit blogging altogether.
It is true, as David says, that people who pay for content also pay more attention to that content. And it’s true that once an audience is “trained” to expect everything for free, it can be tough to overcome that training and sell them an information product.
But does that mean that blogging has outlived its usefulness for a service-based entrepreneurial business like coaching?
Blogging Builds Relationships and Trust
People have predicted the demise of blogging ever since the advent of blogging. So far that shows no sign of coming true. As for charging micro-payments for information, that may become a viable business model, but it remains to be proven, even for global giants like Apple and Google.
Here’s my bottom line for coaches.
Blogging is still a potent tool for getting in front of your tribe and staying in touch with them. I don’t think paid access (or any other format) is going to replace it any time soon.
That’s because no other format can match a blog for building visibility and credibility with a target audience. Blogging helps you establish ongoing “know-like-trust” relationships with an ever-growing list of prospects, while it builds your street cred. You need a free way to showcase your knowledge base, and show that you’re here to stay, for the people in your market.
And from the reader’s point of view, blogs deliver big value for little cost.
Notice that the luminaries David mentions who have quit blogging are people who already have a HUGE audience. Blogging is about consistent quality output. When you already have star power, there are easier ways to maintain your list.
But nothing beats a blog for building an audience from the ground up. That’s how blogging revolutionized the publishing industry – by making the ability to reach an audience available to anyone.
It’s true that blogging has matured as business model. It’s not just for early adopters anymore, and as more people do it, it gets harder to cut through the noise.
But people suffering from info overwhelm are not going to stop looking for information. They are going to look for information that is better tailored to their needs – content that tells them exactly what they need to know, and saves them the effort of sifting through mountains of material to find it.
That’s an opportunity for your coaching business blog. Differentiate yourself. Here’s how:
- Make sure you are serving a clearly defined, narrow target market.
- Write about the specific set of problems THEY say are important to them.
- Give them information they can use, in easy-to-digest bites, without wasting their time.
Nothing works better to build credibility and trust. Once you have that, your audience will come back for more. And some of them – the ones you most want to work with – will be willing to pay for it.
This model is so well suited for coaches that I’ve created a complete program around creating a site that wins clients. Check it out here: Client Winning Websites and Blogs.
Meanwhile, don’t quit blogging.