Lead Generator #3 – Blogs

A blog can be an effective way to generate leads, particularly if you enjoy writing and are willing to do so on a regular basis.  A well written blog also enhances your credibility and visibility. But the best reasons for starting is business blog are that you can do so immediately — and even at no cost!

Thanks to services like Blogger and WordPress, you can be on the air within minutes. No need for web designers or Internet hosting when starting out. Sure, as your blog grows, you may want to upscale and have your own URL, but there is no reason that you can not start blogging right now.

Don’t expect immediate results — it takes time to develop a following. While a published magazine article will reach thousands right away, it will much longer to reach that many readers with a new blog. Most successful business bloggers were at it for several years before things really took off. But when they did…

A well written blog, however, often leads to magazine articles (both digital and print) giving you wide exposure. Editors are constantly on the prowl for good content, so your blog is also an on-line portfolio. Don’t be surprised to be invited to contribute to leading magazines. You can even recycle your posts — most editors today no longer insist on original unpublished content.

Here are three examples from right in my own backyard in Arizona:

Escape from Cubicle Nation. Pam Slim started blogging about six years ago. As a new mom and a successful training consultant, she wanted to spend less time on the road, so she decided explore “life coaching.”  It took a while, but her blog led to guest postings and magazine articles. Those eventually led to her best selling book. (Click Here)

StartUp Processionals. Marty Zwilling started blogging about two years ago. As a recent retiree and successful serial entrepreneur, he wanted to share his experience and help others just starting out. In less than two years, his blog led to articles in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, where he now has a regular column. He just published an excellent book for entrepreneurs. (Click Here.)

EMI-GURU. In addition to JumpToConsulting, two months ago I added a blog to my engineering consulting web site. I then explored mirroring the blog on a leading technical magazine. They added it to their blogroll, but just asked if I would consider being a columnist instead, using the same materials. Honored, I said yes.  (Click Here.)

What about blogs versus web-sites? I recommend both for consultants. While a blog is dynamic,  a web site is static. The latter is important for details like your capabilities, biography, etc.  Thanks to static pages, platforms like WordPress even lets you combine the best of both worlds. For a simple web site, this can work quite well.

As your blog or business grows, you’ll eventually want to consult with a web designer. Good news — the content is not lost. You can always import the contents of your old blog into a new one. We’ll explore web sites in a future post.

So where do I start? There are dozens of  books and blogs with advice on blogging. Here are three I have found particularly useful:

ProBlogger – Darren Rowse blogs from Australia to a worldwide following. He started out blogging about photography, but it grew into a blogging mini-empire. He sells an excellent e-book — 31 Days to Building a Better Blog. About $20.

Art of Non Conformity – Chris Gullibeau shares his blogging experiences in another excellent e-book — 279 Days to Overnight Success. FREE.

Geeks on Tour – Jim and Chris Guld tour the country in their RV helping fellow RVers (mostly retirees) understand and use all the neat stuff on the Internet.  Join them for $39/year and have access to their library of simple video tutorials. They will show you how you can begin blogging with Blogger in under an hour.

So, if you are thinking about making the JumpToConsulting, start thinking about how to use a blog as a marketing tool. Setting one up is easy (and can be free), but you need to feed it good content on a regular basis to make it a success.

See you in the blogoshpere!

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