Do I Need A Blog As A Writer?

One of my fellow writers recently asked the following question in one of the writer group chats I’m in: “Do I need a blog as a writer?” I wanted to answer but paused to think about it. See, here’s the thing: I currently work at a digital marketing company (and have done so for the past three years or so) and guess what is the number one recommendation we give when a new client shows up without a website?

“You need a website with a blog page.”

It’s become a knee-jerk reaction for me but I stopped to think if it’s actually true or just one of those things marketers say. For any of my thought processes to make sense, there are a few things you need to know about me…

Disclaimer: My Personal Bias When It Comes To Marketing

I have never liked the way that most salespeople try to sell me stuff. They make it sound as though whatever they’re pushing is essential for my life, love, and well-being. All this so that they can part me with my cash and make themselves rich in the process.

And that thing they sell? It usually turns out to not be that one product I needed to survive the rest of my life. So, in short, I’ve come to think of marketing as a bunch of lies told to you by a person with a practised honest-looking smile so that they can make a quick buck. (Yet here I am working in Digital Marketing. It’s a long story mostly filled with sentences like, “I got bills to pay,” and, “My kid needs to eat.”)

So… Why Am I Running A Blog About Digital Marketing?

I’ve started this blog precisely because of this bias of mine. I don’t like it when a person tells you how to market your business and then leave out important facts so that they can benefit financially from your lack of knowledge on the matter. I’ve seen it happen before, and it’s not pretty. As an example of what I’m talking about, think of that stereotype of mechanics. You take your car into their workshop for something small, and end up being stuck with an enormous bill for the stuff that you should be happy about catching before it turns into a huge issue. Or so they claim, anyway.

With my blog articles, I wish to give you all of the pros and cons about digital marketing and its various tools, so that you can make informed decisions. You’ll be able to walk into that marketer’s “workshop” and can call BS when they try to upsell you on a product or service that you don’t actually need. 

With all of that out of the way, let’s get down to blogs and writers, and see how it could benefit or hinder your personal journey if you were a writer with a blog.

The Difference Between A Website And A Blog

Oddly enough, when I first read the aforementioned question, I assumed that the writer asked if they should have a website. I misread since I was in a hurry, and later realised that they were asking about a blog specifically. First, let’s just get on the same page about the word “blog.”

A blog is updated frequently.

A website can serve its purpose without regular updates.

So What Can A Blog Do For Me?

Great question! Here’s what blogs are used for from a business perspective:

Deliver Value 

A blog article is the perfect place to give your reader some value. This value depends on your target market. For example, if you’re reading this, you wanted to know the answer to the question, “Do I need a blog as a writer?” Hopefully this article will deliver you with the value you seek. That’s the goal of this particular blog. (Please let me know in the comments below if you’ve received an answer to your question! Only with your feedback, can I improve this website.)

Be Seen As An Expert In Your Field 

Out there on the interwebz are so many brands that want customers to see that they are the experts. With blog posts, they can showcase just how much they know. This one is a little tricky for me, personally. Anyone with a great profile picture and a few articles can convince their target market that they know what they are doing, while it can actually be a matter of smoke and mirrors and the expert is faking till they make it. Of course, this isn’t true for all industry leaders. This is a whole can of worms for another article.

Just a little disclaimer from me so we can cut through that kind of BS right now: I’m by no means an expert. I’m drawing from years of experience, of course, but I am still learning as I go along and I do the appropriate amount of research so that I can help myself and you, dear reader, as best as I can.

Cultivate A Tribe

This one takes patience, time, and consistency to actually work. With an estimated 500 million blogs out there, you can imagine that it would take time for people to notice you. SEO will help, of course, but you still need to be consistent, engaging, and bring value to your readers. 

Blog For A Writer – The Pros

Build A Following 

A following is what most writers with a blog be aiming for. After all, you want to ultimately sell more books and, for that to happen, you need fans clamouring for more. There are various ways to find new readers, and a carefully cultivated blog is one of these ways. This perhaps comes with a caveat. If you write non-fiction, your blog will be about the subject you write books about. Fiction writers… well, a blog might not work for you in the same way. But don’t despair. You could use a blog to give your ardent fans a behind-the-scenes look into how you come up with the worlds and characters that they love so much. You can even showcase some of your short stories, like I do right here on this website.

Practise Your Craft 

Painters get better by painting, drivers get better by driving, football players get better by… footballing? Well, you get the idea. For your blog, you’ll be writing and as such you will be improving as a writer. Unless you pay someone else to do it, of course. In that case, you’ll still get your practise in with your own writing… you do write, right?

Become More Disciplined With Dreadlines… Uh, I Mean, Deadlines

Remember when I said it’s vital to be consistent with your blog? I highly recommend establishing a calendar for when each post will be released, and stick to it like glue. This will help you to start treating deadlines as your ally. So if you find that it’s difficult to sit down and do the work, you might find that deadlines are a powerful tool to do just that.

Become Part Of A Community 

Here’s one point I forgot about and found in both this great article on The Writing Cooperative’s website as well as this article by The Creative Penn.

Writing can be a lonely profession. After all, you sit down in a room all by yourself and do the work. With a blog, however, you can find other bloggers out there that are going through the same daily grind as you, and that is always a solid foundation for a friendship. Bonus? You’re finding fellow writers. Bloggers are usually writers… I mean, how else are words finding their way into that article?! (Oh yes… Hired help. I’m one of those hired helpers. I love writing blog articles, so get in touch if you want to hire someone to write articles for you.)

Writing Is Fun!

I love writing, especially blog articles. It’s one of the hardest professions I’ve ever come across, and there are days when I don’t feel like writing because it’s excruciating. But the rewards of writing far outweigh the struggles. If you are into writing, and just want to have a platform to have your say, then blogging in itself will be worth your time.

Blog For Writer – The Cons

This Ain’t An Instant Quick-Fix For Income

As I’ve said before, blogging requires consistency in posts and diligence to grow your audience. In other words, having a blog as a writer won’t guarantee you a steady income from the first day… if ever. You know what can classify as an instant quick-fix for income, though? Throwing money at your problems. I want to talk about paid advertising in a future article.

Time Is Your Most Prized Possession, Especially As A Writer

I know so many writers who don’t write because there’s not enough time in the day. Me personally? I have a day-job in digital marketing, a family that barely sees me because I’m usually in my room working or recovering from work (and an 8-year old son who starts to resent me… just being honest), food to cook, house to clean, other relationships to maintain… and those mobile games aren’t playing themselves, y’know. I need to make time to write, and I’ve found that the best time for that is to wake up around 4am and getting the work done. (Then the holidays happened and now I’m back to waking at 6am and just having a messy schedule which frustrates me and my family.)

What am I driving at here? Time. We all have some, and it’s running out for all of us. Unlike money that you can earn and add to your bank balance, you can’t add hours to your life. If you’re already stretched very thin, then having a blog as a writer might not be a great idea for you. 

How To Decide If You Need A Blog As A Writer?

This is something you’ll need to decide for yourself based on the advice above. First understand your goals. This will help you to create a plan, which in turn will dictate what you end up doing. If you want to take the plunge and hire someone to make you a gorgeous website, then I highly recommend my friend and colleague over at Soul-Comm for your website needs. In the interest of openness and honesty, I’ll add that she would probably ask me to help with the words for your website if you choose her services. But I still love the look of the websites she’s done in the past, so I’d still recommend her even if she didn’t hire me to write.

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