Lately, lots of coaches are asking me:
- Should I start a blog?
- How will it help me build my coaching business?
- How can a blog be more effective at attracting ideal clients than my coaching website?
All good questions we’ll explore here. First…
What is a blog?
There are many kinds of blogs. Some people create hobby-type blogs to post their musings or recommendations. Many bloggers offer political commentary. And, blogging has emerged as a powerful way to establish visibility and credibility with business prospects.
For marketing your coaching business, I recommend a blog that is:
- a stand alone site (www.prosperouscoachblog.com not www.blog.prosperouscoach.com)
- based on the WordPress platform
- branded with your logo, colors, photo, Unique Benefit Statement
- optimized for search engines and Web 2.0
- includes pages for your bio, products & services, resources
- and is where you publish relevant content to your market to build a relationship with them.
Make sure your blog is designed by an expert who understands not only WordPress, but how to use WordPress plug-ins to leverage your SEO and Web 2.0 strategy.
Why can blogs be more powerful visibility builders than websites?
When prospects visit your blog, they immediately see your knowledge capital. At a glance, they can find multiple articles offering solutions you have created with them in mind. The blog showcases what you have for them, whereas a conventional website often comes across as more about what you want to sell them.
A well-designed blog will build your search engine profile faster than a conventional website, because:
- it is loaded with keyword rich content that changes frequently; and
- it is optimized for Web 2.0 applications that build incoming links faster than the older link-building strategies.
Unlike a static website, blogs allow interaction between you and your readers. Allowing moderated comments on your posts builds your online community. Your responses to comments are quick high touch connections with prospects. And the comments are public, which creates a sense of openness and good will.
Plus, there are ways to automatically push your blog posts out to social networking sites, and to your ezine (if you have one).
You can connect your shopping cart, affiliate programs, and landing pages to your blog. The blog you’re reading right now has pages for my bio, products and services, resources and more. And, if you’re using Aweber (or certain other email campaign services), you can allow people to subscribe by email. With a blog like this, there may be no need for you to have a website.
If you already have a website and ezine, don’t worry. You can plug your blog content into your ezine, and train your readers to go to the blog for more. Your website may have a long term future (say, as a home for your sales pages and shopping cart), or you may decide to phase it out.
These days, I send all leads to my blog first. It starts the relationship off right, and results in more highly qualified leads for all my programs, products and services for coaches.
Is a blog for you?
Create a blog only if you can answer yes to these questions:
1. My coaching niche market likes to read articles online, or by email.
2. I love to write (and create videos).
Some markets are not oriented around the Internet at all. With those folks, even a website may not be very useful to you. But if your market enjoys your ezine already, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t sign up for your blog delivered by email.
If you really don’t enjoy or aren’t very facile with writing, a blog won’t be a great strategy for you. While you can create video blog posts, review resources and point to other experts’ articles, you’re going to need to write a lot to sustain a successful blog.
How often do you post?
That’s up to you. Top bloggers sometimes post several times a day. I recommend at least once a week. I’m a once a week poster right now, and that’s working for me. My business has enjoyed a significant increase in sales and leads since my blog launched. And I really enjoy the connections with coaches through my blog. It’s a great place to learn about them and answer their questions.
As with any visibility approach, you must have a strategy for your blogging. If your posts are infrequent and irregular, or if the posts aren’t relevant to your market, or they sound like everyone else’s… then your blog isn’t likely to improve your coaching business success. But if you use your blog to stand out, to consistently put your expertise and inspiration in front of your ideal market, and if your blog is well designed and optimized, you’ll likely get great results.