You know you should be blogging, that’ll it help your business, but there’s something holding you back right?
In our last post “Why Blogging is Essential for Small Businesses & So Important for Me” we talked about the reasons why having a blog is important for your business, and things that might help motivate you to start blogging.
Maybe you read the blog, nodding along in agreement. Perhaps it was enough and you started writing your first blog post. If so then glad we could help!
What’s more likely is that you read the blog, nodded along in agreement and then added “write blog article” back onto the to-do list, you know, for later.
If you fall in the latter group then don’t worry. And don’t beat yourself up over it, it won’t help. What might be prove useful is to try and figure out what’s stopping you from blogging?
In my experience there are three reasons why people don’t blog:
- They suffer from imposter syndrome
- They feel they don’t have the skills
- They don’t have the time
In this post we’re going to work though each of the above, and provide some information to help overcome them. Feel free to skip ahead to the one that you most relate to, or read all three.
Starting up my own business was a rollercoaster of emotions and moments of self-doubt. Was I really cut out for this? What if I didn’t get any clients? Surely there were people out there who knew more than me?
Have you had those moments too – when you think you’re just not good enough (even though you are)? When you worry that you’re just not smart enough (even though you are)? When you think someone is going point a finger and out you as an imposter?
Don’t worry; researchers believe that up to 70 percent of people have this feeling at some point. It even has a name, imposter phenomenon or syndrome. It’s where there’s a huge difference between what you know and what you *think* others know.
(If you’re interested in finding out if you have any characteristics of impostor syndrome, you can take the Clance Impostor Scale survey and see where you land. I’ll tell you my score if you tell me yours.)
Ok, great so it has a name and lots of people suffer from it. How does that help me get over it?
While researching this article I read a lot about Imposter Syndrome (two articles in particular stood out which I’ll share with you below) and I’ve come to the conclusion that:
- It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you don’t let it control you
- Its ok to not always have the answer
In a Forbes article by Margie Warrell “Afraid of Being ‘Found Out?’ Overcome Impostor Syndrome” she writes:
“Impostor Syndrome is the domain of the high achiever. Those who set the bar low are rarely its victim.”
So if you’re reading this article (or Margie’s) and thinking “that sounds like me” then congratulate yourself because it’s a good indication that you’re not going to settle. You’re going to aim high and commit to doing your best (just like our parents were always telling us to!). But as Margie goes on to say:
“giving your best is not the same as being the best. Likewise, there’s a distinct difference between trying to better yourself and being better than everyone else. Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome requires self-acceptance: you don’t have to attain perfection or mastery to be worthy of the success you’ve achieved and any accolades you earn along the way.
It’s not about lowering the bar, it’s about resetting it to a realistic level that doesn’t leave you forever striving and feeling inadequate.”
The second post that I’d recommend reading is by Kevan Lee from the awesome Buffer Blog, who sums it up with the advice “Give yourself permission to not know it all”
“I believe part of the reason for the pressures of impostor syndrome is that there is a stigma around not knowing something. If you feel like an impostor because you don’t have all the answers, it’s because somewhere along the line you learned that it’s best to have all the answers all the time.”
He suggests a new statement we should embrace, and I agree, is that we should take power from saying “We don’t know the answer. Let’s find out!”
But I Can’t Write
Maybe it’s not a fear of being ‘outed’ as an imposter that’s holding you back. Maybe it’s a fear of being ‘outed’ as a non-writer.
We all have different strong points; I love writing and communicating with people, I suck at technology (just ask the guys I co-work with!) No one person is good at everything, despite what they may tell you.
“If everyone was super, then no one would be” The Incredibles.
Your blog doesn’t have to be a literary masterpiece, it doesn’t need to win a Pulitzer Prize or be the subject of dinner party debates across the country. It does need to be readable, engaging and get your message, whatever that is, across.
There are a few options when tackling the “I can’t write” reason for not blogging.
- Do some research and learn some tricks & tips for blogging. We particularly like the Firepole marketing article “Not a Writer? How to Make Writing a Blog Post (And Other Online Content) Come Naturally” for a good place to start.
- Make a Plan. Staring at a blank sheet of paper is scary; however coming up with a list of titles to blog about can make all the difference to actually getting started. Top Tip – questions that you are frequently asked by clients (FAQs) make great blog articles, as it’s what your customers want to know and what they are potentially typing into Google hoping to find the answer to. Case studies are another good topic area as they show the specifics of what you do, making it easy for potential to clients to identify.
- Get Advice. Sit down with someone whose advice and/or writing you respect. This can be a friend, business coach or company that provides blogging advice (like us =). Ask them to look at your plan and get feedback. A fresh pair of eyes and someone to bounce ideas off can make all the difference.
- Hire a Ghost Writer. If you’ve tried the above suggestions and you’re still not comfortable with the idea of ‘blogging’ then perhaps a ghost writer is the way forward. Keep reading and all will become clear.
I Don’t Have the Time to Blog
Running a business, raising a family, walking the pets, attempting a social life. We are busy people and it’s simply not possible to “do it all”. Spotty Octopus was born from the idea of wanting to help people get that allusive work life balance back. From the idea of wanting to help people concentrate on the areas of their business that they do best and outsourcing the rest.
We all need people to help us, either because of their expertise (like an accountant for the business or an after school tutor for the kids) or because of lack of time (like a cleaner or dog walker). Or perhaps it’s a little of both, like a company that will write your blog posts for you!
I’ve written more than 150 blog posts, that’s around 180,000 words. You might have read them, but you wouldn’t know it was me and you won’t find them on my site. That’s because….
I’m a ghost blogger.
I feel a bit like I’m at an AA meeting announcing this
“Hi, my name’s Lucy and I’m a ghost blogger”
But how is it possible? How does ghost blogging work? Blogs are all about knowledge and passion, how can someone else write one for you. That won’t work. That’s cheating.
I hear what you’re saying, I hear it from potential clients all the time. You’re not a specialist in their industry, you don’t know their message, you don’t know their voice.
(Sometimes what’s actually going on is their own inner voice, saying ‘I’m not a specialist in my industry, I don’t know my message, I don’t know my voice.” – but that’s for another article)
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, it’s all about listening. And I mean real listening, not the type people do when they’re just waiting for a gap so they can speak. Real engaged listening, asking the right questions and listening some more.
People know what they want to say, they just don’t always know how to go about it. As we said before a blank screen can be daunting, and the dread that the memory of our teachers red pen can still produces in us when it comes to grammar can be a powerful thing.
How Does Ghost Blogging Work?
We listen to your story.
Every company has a story. How they started, why they started, what their passion is and what they want to share with the world.
Listening to someone talk about their business in free flow gives a good indication of their natural tone. You can tell if they’re jokey and informal, or direct and fact driven. Maybe they want to be the customer’s friend, maybe they’re all about being the authority in their area, maybe they’re both.
We come up with a list of topics we can cover. Then we go about setting out a strategy for getting that out there, are we going blog weekly, fortnightly, monthly.
We go away and research the articles, the web is a wonderful place full of amazing pieces of information. These can help support your message and add meat to your article. Once the first one is done we sit down with the client again, did we get the tone right, is the message clear, how’s the call to action sounding?
We go over the strategy, we build up a bank of articles in advance. Sometimes we source the images, sometimes we schedule the social media. Always we listen.
And it works.
Obviously we’re going to say that, it’s a big part of our business (and one of my favourites) but it genuinely does. We’ve had clients see a 300% increase in their website traffic because of our blogs, we’ve built monthly readerships of 500+ and most importantly those visitors and readers have turned into leads and then into sales. Yay for the Ghost bloggers, I shall now hold my head up high.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on ghost blogging, perhaps you never knew it was a thing or you’ve thought about it but didn’t know how it worked? Please share your experiences with us in the comments, and if you found the article interesting please share using the social buttons below.
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