When I first started Sophie Zen almost three years ago, I really just wanted a blog as a place where I could express myself. I’d experimented with it before and loved the way it opened up a whole new world - filled with beautiful opportunities to share and connect with others. But the universe had other plans for me and by the time I actually launched my website, I had a business too!
This business (as well as finishing my last year of university and making it to graduation) took priority over everything else in my life. And as much as I loved blogging and expressing myself through writing, it never felt like I had enough time.
Fast forward to a year and a half later and I’d just moved to Melbourne and gone full-time in my business. I was still learning what ‘full time business’ looked like to me and decided to experiment with blogging again. It was during this time that I wrote the 'Lady boss guide to building your biz with hashtags’ and was blown away by the positive response and the amount of people who not only read the blog post but also reached out and shared their stories and experiences with me. Publishing that blog post changed the way that I viewed blogging and reminded me how powerful it could be.
However, it was around this time that I also noticed a lot of people asking the question: Is blogging really worth it?
The online world was definitely changing and the way that we consumed and wrote blog posts was changing with it.
So as I moved into my second year of business in 2017, I decided to explore the question for myself and commit to writing regular blog posts. By the end of the year, I wanted an answer to the question. I wanted to know whether blogging was really worth it too!
Twelve months and twenty blog posts later, I’ve found myself an answer which I want to share with you in this blog post.
My experience with blogging
After a year of (mostly) regular blog posts, I’ve decided that blogging is definitely worth it for me and my business. This doesn’t mean it will necessarily be worth it to you so to start, let me give you an idea of how I approached it in 2017.
After a couple of months of experimenting, I quickly found my intention for blogging: I wanted to write content that would help my clients. I felt like I was often repeating myself or answering the same questions for a number of clients so I decided to tune in, take note and then write content to support them. Having a blog also meant that I had lots of resources to send clients who needed extra information.
Just because I was writing blog posts for clients, doesn’t mean that I didn’t share my blogs with my wider community. I still did - and they still loved them! But giving myself a very clear intention to write for my clients made my job easier and made it super clear about what I was trying to do.
Insight: Be really clear about why you are blogging. It’s a lot of work and there needs to be a good intention behind it.
I decided early on in my blogging journey that publishing one blog post each fortnight would suit me and my business. I also matched this up with my newsletters - which I published every alternating fortnight. While I could have easily tried to write a new blog post each week, I decided that it wasn’t a good use of my energy as I still wanted space to create other content in my business.
Later on in the year and in the lead up to the launch of Sacred Social, my blog posts increased to one a week. This was a conscious decision that I made in order to be able to effectively and consistently share the messages from my program. Writing the blog posts also helped me in writing the course content for Sacred Social (I’ll talk about that more soon!)
Insight: Make conscious decisions about how often you publish blog posts and work with your energy, not against it!
Having the intention of writing blog posts specifically for clients also gave me lots of inspiration for content. Ideas often came from coaching sessions or conversations that I was having with clients or my community.
Here are some examples of blog posts and where I found inspiration for them:
Create a ‘social media official’ event: This idea came to me during a workshop that I was running where the guests were feeling really stuck on how to promote their events on social media. So I decided to gather up my best tips and write a blog post for them.
My signature six step process for next level social media: I got the inspiration for this one after hopping off a call with a potential social media management client. I felt like I’d really struggled to explain my social media management process so decided to write a whole blog post that spelt it all out.
Three reasons why you need to batch and schedule your social media content: This is a blog that I wrote in the lead up to the launch of Sacred Social. During this time, I decided to write one blog post that covered content from each of the modules. This blog post was written about the Sacred Presence module but I decided on this particular topic as I’d been having lots of conversations with clients and friends about it.
Insight: There is inspiration everywhere but make sure that the content you’re creating aligns back to your intention for blogging.
Blog posts don’t write themselves and it definitely takes some work. To support me in regular blog posts, I made sure that I had good systems and processes in place.
Here are some ways that I did this:
- I mapped out each step that it took for me to write, edit and publish a blog post
- I added these steps to a template in Asana which I copy and paste every time I’m planning a new blog post
- I followed the template in Asana for every blog post that I wrote
- I mapped out my editorial calendar three months in advance so that I could add due dates and schedules in Asana
- I kept all of my content (including ideas, drafts and published blog posts) in Evernote so that it was easily accessible and I had everything I needed in one place
To go with these systems and processes, I’m also a huge fan of my creative writing date ritual (which I talk about more here). Each Monday morning, I would go to my local coffee shop with my laptop and write a new blog post while sipping coffee - and sometimes ordering cake! I loved this ritual so much that it actually became a highlight of my week and something that I looked forward to!
Insight: Make blogging as easy and enjoyable as you can - whatever that looks like for you!
My blog posts aren’t small and they take at least three hours to write, edit and publish. This means that when writing a blog post, I needed it to have the biggest impact possible. The main way that I did this was by repurposing my blog posts as social media content. This meant that one blog post could fill my social media schedule for a week (super productive way of doing it). It also meant that I could outsource my social media and know that my words were still being shared in the form of repurposed content.
I also like to take other content that I’ve created in my business and turn that into blog posts. For example, this blog post was taken from the notes of a webinar that I ran with my business bestie and turned into a blog post to have even greater impact. Writing regular blog posts in the lead up to Sacred Social also helped me to map out ideas for each of the modules and get some content down on paper. I was also able to get some feedback on content and see what people were responding to and what was missing the mark (so valuable!)
Insight: Make the most of the content that you create and repurpose it to make the impact bigger.
The benefits I’ve received from blogging
That’s how I’ve approached my blogging strategy but it doesn’t quite explain why I think blogging is worth it for my business. So here are just some of the benefits I’ve received from blogging...
Ability to support my clients
My main priority in business is to look after my clients and to make sure that they have everything they need to thrive. The fact that blogging (something that I love to do) can support them on another level is a massive win for me! It also saves time when clients email me with a question. Being able to direct them to a blog post that I’ve already created is super powerful and just as effective as writing a full response. I love it!
Recognised for my zone of genius
I have no doubt that my blog posts have allowed me to be seen and recognised for my zone of genius. Anyone can start a business and start making bold claims but not everyone can back that up. I’m not saying you need to write blog posts to prove yourself in business but it’s definitely helped me to educate people on what my zone of genius is and how I can support them.
Promoted my offerings
Blog posts are another great way for me to promote my offerings (without posting about them a million times on social media). My blog posts aren’t hugely popular (I’ll talk about the stats soon) but I love that the people who do read them are actually interested in me and my business. It’s a smaller audience but it’s a more engaged audience - meaning I can promote my offerings to people who might actually need or want what I have to offer.
Felt more supported in my business
I mentioned this before but I want to highlight it here: regular blogging has allowed me to outsource my social media and feel a lot more supported in my business. Blogging might seem like it takes a lot of time but by being strategic and repurposing my content, I’ve actually saved a lot of time in lots of other areas of my business.
So that’s my experience with blogging and some of the benefits I’ve received but let’s take a look at the numbers...
Unique views to my website* in 2017: 2,093 users
*This includes all pages on my website, not just my blog.
Now that might not seem like a lot (and maybe it isn’t!) but that number represents 2,093 people who took their time to go to my website this year. And if I hadn’t decided to take the chance and create Sophie Zen back in 2015? That number would be zero. So I count it as a win!
Insight: Focus on the people behind the numbers.
And in terms of my most viewed blog posts in 2017, here are my top three:
1. The seven pillars of sacred social media that will transform your online presence (241 unique page views)
2. Lady boss guide to building your biz with hashtags (141 unique page views)
3. My signature six step process for next level social media (126 unique page views)
Interestingly enough, these blog posts all have something in common. They were all written with the intention of being pillar blog posts. This means that the blog posts were long (1000+ words), they covered everything that I knew about that particular topic, were written in a ‘how-to’ format and linked to other blog posts, content upgrades and opt-ins. Basically, pillar blog posts are super, super helpful to anyone who reads them. Because of this, my pillar blog posts were also my most-shared blog posts which increased their reach and views.
Insight: Pillar blog posts are powerful!
And if you’re still not convinced that blogging is ‘worth it’, here are some my favourite bloggers to inspire you:
I don’t believe that blogging is going to be worth it for every business owner but if anything that I’ve said in this post has resonated with you then it might be good to explore it some more!