My wonderful and very talented film maker/photographer husband has, over the last few years, built a successful real estate photography business from scratch. The time has now come to expand, so he’s been busy doing research, planning, and getting his new website up and running. We were debriefing, as we do roughly every 54 minutes of our lives together, when he said, “All I need to do now is set up my blog.”
“Wh… what? A blog?” I asked. “What for?”
“Because I have to.”
“All the experts I’ve been listening to.”
“Right, so who would the blog be for? Clients, or are you thinking of an instructional blog for other photographers?”
“Are you sure your clients want to read you? Aren’t they more interested in the pictures you take?”
“The pictures, probably.”
“Hmmm… yeah. Unless there’s something you’re burning to say in a blog, you know. Is there something you’re dying to tell the world?”
“Well, I already do. Through my pictures.”
“Baby, forget the blog.”
And he did.
Every other week I meet someone who tells me they’ve just got to get to their blog. Everybody has to have a blog! Whether they write it or get someone else to write it, it’s important, it’s urgent, and they have to do it. Why do they have to do it? Because the experts said.
Well, guess what? I’m an expert too, and I’m saying you don’t have to.
My little story above is of a time my husband learned something from me, but I learn stuff from him all the time. One of my favourites is something he’s fond of telling the kids: “As soon as you say ‘everybody’, you’re wrong”. Leaving aside essential bodily functions like breathing, that’s pretty much spot on, which means that any expert who says, “Everybody has to have blog” is wrong.
You don’t have to have a blog.
First reason not to have a blog? As I told my husband, it may not be what your market wants and needs. Yes: you need to communicate with these people, and your communication needs to be clear, focused, individual, and effective. But the form your brilliant communication takes shouldn’t be dictated by “experts”, it should be dictated by the people in your market and audience. You know: the ones you actually want to be communicating with. The ones who will determine whether or not you make rent. It’s their wants and needs you keep in mind when you’re planning your communication and content strategy, and they may prefer podcasts over blogs, or blogs over newsletters, or newsletters over tweets. Create your personas. Research while working on your strategies, or simply make testing and measuring part of them; you’ll know pretty quickly whether your communication hits or misses its target.
The second reason is the kicker for me: unless you have something you’re burning to stay to your market and audience, you’re just adding to the content noise. When I talk about content noise I’m talking about the useless, the passionless, the unconvincing, the regurgitated, the thin, the unoriginal, the flabby, the faulty, and the inane. You’ve got no business adding to the noise!
As Doug Kessler aptly demonstrated in his epic SlideShare presentation, when everyone adopted content as the hot new commodity, it opened the gates to a deluge of crap. As a result of all the crap, people raise barriers against it. We always do this when otherwise quality marketing turns to crap, so don’t kid yourself: no matter what the experts say, if you add to content noise by producing inane blogs, there will be barriers.
Maybe you’re fine with barriers. But it’s not only barriers you’re dealing with. It’s also damage.
Historically, what happens when the quality of anything drops? Correct: its value drops. Crap content devalues content as a whole, but more than that, it devalues the product or service it’s attached to. Fair enough if you don’t care about content itself being devalued, but do you really think that producing a useless, passionless, unconvincing, regurgitated, thin, unoriginal, flabby, faulty, or inane blog won’t damage your brand and your standing? Seriously?
If you need an expert to give you the answer to that one, producing a blog every week is the least of your problems.