A blog isn’t the only way to build a purposeful & game changing online presence.
For freelancers, creative entrepreneurs, and small business owners, running a blog may feel like a thing you ‘have’ to do to start to make waves online so that you can keep the work coming in and share your brand message with the right audience for you. And although a blog is a seriously awesome way to share your ideas, build your audience, and flex your creative muscle in the process too, it’s not the only way to build an online presence as a creative entrepreneur.
I believe in sharing valuable and engaging pieces of content that causes our ideal audience to stop and pay attention. I believe in sharing our brand message, our story, and our value through everything we do online so that we can then do the work we feel called to do - but I don’t believe that running a blog is the only way to do this. I love blogging, but I know for many creative business owners it isn’t always the best fit. And if I believe anything it’s that it’s only when we do work that we’re inspired and excited to do that we really show up and be of service to our audience.
So if you’re a creative entrepreneur who really doesn’t want to blog - maybe you’ve been trying to force it for a few years now and it’s just not a good fit, or maybe you’re not comfortable with the written word and you’d much rather create and share in a different way - I have some alternatives for you today to help and encourage you to build the online presence that you really want to build. Blog or no blog.
1. Your Website
Your website is your store front and how you make a first impression to potential customers and clients. Your website is where you share your brand message, your story so far, and what you and your business can do for those who decide to invest in your work. Never underestimate the power of a killer design and visual branding - but it needs weight behind it to actually be profitable and purposeful in the long run.
This is where your brand messaging, your sales copy, your visual branding, and how you share your value through your website all comes into play. Building a website that is unique, purposeful, and let’s new visitors know and understand straight away who you are, what you do, and if you’re a good fit for them is the foundation of a game changing online presence. I really do believe in the power of good content marketing, which I’ll touch on soon in the next steps, but it all starts with your digital home and the story and messaging you share with the world. If you don’t want to blog, your website is still where people will engage with your work - whether you run a shop, sell services, or digital products - and ultimately where they become customers and clients.
2. Your Email Marketing
If blogging isn’t your thing, but you still have so much to say and share and you want to connect with your audience and tribe in a more intimate way, focusing on your email marketing may be the best route for you. Paul Jarvis and Hey Sweet Pea do this perfectly - instead of blogging, they send out weekly emails to their audience and build relationships and brand trust through inboxes instead of RSS feeds. Many of us do both - blog and email - though I think when it suits your brand and your voice, connecting via just email is a great way to create and share with intention.
If the thought of maintaining a blog doesn’t excite you, but creating exclusive content for your email list and connecting via inboxes feels much more up your street, email marketing may be the perfect way for you to build your community and create content that resonates and connects. And although building your list without a blog to promote it may seem tricky at first - your website, social media, and even guest posting can be an awesome way to reach your people and encourage sign-ups.
3. Your Social Media
Many social media platforms have become entire content sharing platforms of their own. Especially with Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Twitter, and Pinterest - you can now connect with your audience without creating long form blog content for your site. If blogging just isn’t for you, but you still want an outlet to share your personal brand, build brand trust, and market and promote your services and products, you’ll probably find that social media is where you’ll be hanging out the most.
You can share personal insights and visual updates with Instagram - it’s pretty much leading the way these days when it comes to micro-blogging - you can share real-time video updates via Periscope - which is an awesome platform for sharing ideas, your expertise, and building trust - you can start conversations and share ideas via Twitter, and you can curate your favourite content and visual inspiration over on Pinterest so that you can connect with and attract like minded people along the way.
Content isn’t just blog content - it can be anything you want it to be - and if you prefer to share short and sweet updates, and with more real-time interaction, social media may be the best focus for you.
4. Video & Audio Content
If you’re super passionate about creating content and sharing your ideas, but the thought of getting it down in words just doesn’t appeal, you’ll probably feel much more at home creating and sharing video and audio content. The great thing about videos and podcasts is that they are perfect for really grabbing the attention of your audience - in a crowded online space, with tons of content to choose from, a quick video or a podcast they can listen to on the go can have more impact and reach with your audience.
Many people, like myself, create multiple types of content - for example I have my blog, my podcast, and my Weekly Letters - but this isn’t the only way to show up, add value, and build an audience online. You can hone in on just one or two platforms and outlets, you can discover where you create best and work to your strengths not your weaknesses, and you can ultimately build whatever content plan you want to. Video and audio content is arguably more future forward than written content alone, so if you’d much rather show or speak your ideas and work, don’t feel any pressure to have to write them down too.
5. Word Of Mouth & Social Proof
What others are saying about you and your work holds just as much weight, if not more than, as what you’re saying about the work you do. Word of mouth and social proof can be a serious game changer - not only can it help you reach a bigger audience, but it also positions you as an expert and someone worth paying attention to.
Word of mouth and social proof is only built over time, when you do good work, and people start to notice. It’s through doing awesome work that leads to testimonials and referrals from past clients and customers, and how you can connect with others in your niche, build relationships, and get your voice and your message out there in a bigger way. Word of mouth and social proof isn’t something you can create yourself - it’s from the authentic and honest referrals and shout-outs of past clients and influential voices in your industry that can only come from doing good work that is worth paying attention to.
Being interviewed for blogs and podcasts, getting involved in online communities, building relationships with clients and customers that turns them into lifelong brand ambassadors, and authentically networking online are usually how word of mouth and social proof starts to develop. If you don’t want to blog, but you want to build your know, like, and trust factor online, social proof and word of mouth referrals are one of the best ways to do so.
You don’t have to run a blog to develop an awesome content marketing strategy, and you don’t have to run a blog if you want to build your audience and convert them into clients, customers, and lifelong brand ambassadors along the way. I love blogging - I shared Five Ways A Blog Can Help Your Creative Business a while back and I still believe every word - but if a blog doesn’t excite you to create, or if it doesn’t feel like the best outlet for you, there are so many other ways you can share your voice and connect with your audience online. Hopefully today's post can be a jumping off point for any creative entrepreneurs who don't want to blog but still want to show up and share valuable, insightful, and engaging content online.
What are your thoughts - do you enjoy blogging? If not, how do you prefer to show up and share online?
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