Your blog is not your journal. This often comes as news to the business owners, podcasters, and influencers I work with on a daily basis in my Blog Your Way to Visibility Coaching program. We need to stop clinging to the days of LiveJournal, when blogs were popularly seen as an online diary of sorts. Times have changed, and blogs are a written form all their own – especially for women in business!
Here are 5 important reasons why your blog is not your journal (and what you should be posting on it instead!)
First of all, we realize more than ever that once something’s out on the internet, it’s there forever. You can’t take back all of those heartfelt, vulnerable overshares any more than you can scrub the web of your embarrassing drunken photos. Sure, you can do your best – but the only sure-fire way to craft a consistent business image is to not put those diary pages on the internet in the first place!
Secondly, even for the true, aspiring writers among us, a blog is still a public platform meant for polished works. You’re building a writing portfolio and just like when submitting to a publisher, you’ll want to put your best foot forward.
Journals and diaries serve a completely different purpose. They’re meant to be written with no audience in mind for your own personal note-taking, catharsis, or development. Essentially, journals are a therapeutic tool for processing unresolved or current events effecting your life. They’re fantastic tools while you’re on the journey.
On the other hand, blogs are meant for the time after the journey. That’s true even for blogs meant to share the personal thoughts of an influencer or the personal essays of a hopeful writer. Blog posts, like all other published works, should be written once you’ve hit the final step in the therapeutic process for an event; meaning making. Once you’ve had time to reflect on your deeply held – rather than fleeting – opinions, as well as where an event fits into the story you tell about your life, it’s time to write and share. You’re also detached enough at this phase to keep clear communication in mind for an audience, rather than writing purely for your own emotional satisfaction. This is the place that all blog posts should be created from. It allows you to tell valuable stories that:
- serve your portfolio
- make you proud years from the publication date
- connect with an excited readership
Building off the importance of writing with an audience in mind, your blog is the place where you can really show them your personality. For anyone building a platform, it’s critical to build your like/know/trust factor with an audience. When new followers can say, “I know who she is, and she’s my kind of person,” they’ll be excited to stay around, sign up for your email list, and share your work with other people.
For business owners, especially coaches, clients that resonate with you are far more likely to buy from you when you promote an offer, or ask for one of your services. This is an amazing way for your website to do prospecting for you while you sleep. It also shortens the sales cycle so you don’t have to chase after new, potential clients. They’ll come asking for you!
It’s critical that you present a polished image and offer considered opinions and portrayals of yourself if you want potential clients to self-select themselves as your ideal client. Your blog enables them to decide whether you’re the kind of person they like, and to see themselves in you, so it should present you accurately and well (unlike spur-of-the-moment diary entries!)
Your blog can build and sustain that all-important Trust factor with new and returning followers. How? By giving you a platform to showcase your leadership qualities and expertise in your niche. Journal and diary entries encourage you to write in a self-indulgent, vulnerable state which doesn’t position you as a professionalt!
Imagine an expert Egyptologist in the classroom…
She stands confident and cares for preparedness and her professional image. She shows up in her Egyptologist persona, and dresses smartly for the classroom.
Our Egyptologist doesn’t complain or cry to her audience (students) about her unresolved personal issues because they have no bearing on Egyptology and would distract from the theme of the class. Instead, she injects personality into the classroom with anecdotes that are relevant and help her audience see themselves in her, like recounting about the gap year she took to Egypt which helped her discover the field. Also, when sharing her knowledge, she gives forethought to her audience and crafts lessons with them in mind, such as explaining new terms in an easy to understand way.
When our Egyptologist is on the job, she’s a professional, she’s considerate, and she keeps it relevant. That’s why her audience of students trust her!
When you have a blog designed to build your platform you need to show up as your expert self at least 50% of the time so people trust you. Particularly if you’re aiming to get published, featured on other blogs or podcasts, or score speaking gigs. Don’t mix personal (diary) content that’s irrelevant to your brand image into your professional publications (blog posts on your niche.)
Critically, blogs also serve as the content marketing arm of your platform by drawing people into your website and helping them stay around long enough to connect with you. But how do people find you?
Blogs increase your website’s presence and do wonders to boost your ranking in Google search results. However, it can only do so when you build SEO best practices into your blog posts. This means that blog posts require a certain amount of structure (a mix of headings, subheadings, bullet points, etc.) and forethought (topic, keywords). Inherently, this makes a blog post a different sort of writing exercise than off-the-cuff diary entries that have a circular flow and no structure at all.
Let’s Sum It Up: Your Blog is Not Your Journal
Blogs are a unique written form all their own and we should approach them as such. A strong, consistent blog serves you 24/7 and builds your platform, while treating it as a journal detracts from your brand image and confuses your audience.
If you confuse them, you lose them. Reason enough to realize: your blog is not a journal!
Spots are now open for my signature, online program Blog Your Way to Visibility Coaching! Learn more or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to support you in creating a consistent blog that serves you!