Writing 100 blog posts taught me to rise above embarrassment, spell my own name and know when to break the rules and when to obey them.
It came so close that this blog post would never be published.
A few weeks ago I was browsing through my blog archives, when a number on the bottom right corner of the page caught my eye.
“101 posts”, it said.
The writer within me went, “Yay, I’ve written over a hundred articles as Pauliina with 2 ‘I’s!”
One second went by.
The marketer within me went, “Damn, how can I have let that kind of a milestone go unnoticed?”
A more thorough search revealed one false duplicate and a couple of empty drafts, which meant I still had time to create something special for my 100th blog post.
The trip down the archives led me to reminisce about how much I’ve learned from blogging and how writing for my own site has allowed me to explore new ways of putting down ideas into words and communicating. Though writing has been part of my professional life for 20 years, I ran into many learnings – and confessions to make.
In Blogging, Embarrassment Equals Evolution
I started blogging three and a half years ago, with a post that makes me cringe and shudder when I look at it now. There are a few other earlier writings as well I felt tempted to delete.
The tone of voice was “not quite there yet” (if you want to put it kindly), and the topic range was also still finding its way (as was SEO).
When you set out to share your expertise, insights and advice publicly, you’re bound to feel embarrassed of some of your ventures early on.
You know what they say: If you are not embarrassed of your first launch, you launched too late. The same applies to marketing activities. When your style, business and strategy evolve, some older content, products and methods will feel old-fashioned.
Still, it’s all part of your journey and how you became who you are now. Showing that journey is authentic and allows your audience to relate to you and your progress.
You Decide How Often You Need to Blog
How often should we create content for our blog? This is one of the most common questions I always receive when hosting webinars and training.
I usually answer that question by saying that each business needs to find a realistic rhythm for themselves and that consistency is more important than frequency.
It’s not like I listened to my own good advice when I was starting out…
Early on, I had an ambition to publish once a week. Many, many months, I did.
And for many months, I didn’t.
Before launching a business communication blog, I used to have a personal expat blog, where I often wrote several posts per week, sometimes daily.
However, it’s very different to write funny daily updates of mispronouncing the word “cheese” and crafting researched articles about content strategy. At some point, sticking to a weekly rhythm became unsustainable for me.
These days I live as I preach: following a bi-weekly rhythm that works for me and also leaves time for other business priorities, such as email marketing.
Can You Write a Blog Just for Fun?
While a business blog must follow a more predictable format and publication rhythm than a hobby blog, it doesn’t mean business blogging is just all work and no play.
Strategy and purpose should be the spine of all business blogs. But I confess: sometimes I write about topics that I’m passionate about and that spark something within me, and think about strategy second.
For example this article about content strategy was born when I read about the way the American retail giant Target used its client data for laser-focused marketing operations. This storytelling article, similarly, was born from my own experience and observations around the discussion about covid vaccines.
Both found their strategic focus in the end but initially I set out to write them because the topics spoke to me personally.
A Blog Is Not About You, It’s About Them
The same way I trail away from my strategic focus at times, I have committed another one of business bloggers’ deadly sins: sometimes I make it all about me, not about my readers.
(Like this post: one thousand words about my progress as a blogger and learnings along the way!)
The name of my blog came from my own experience as well: as a Scandinavian settled in Central Europe, I got fed up with explaining that I know how to write my name.
The lowest point was when I signed up for a gym and wrote my name in the form three times, with double I’s.
The guy taking my subscription reviewed the form and asked, incredulously: “Are there two I’s in your name? Are you sure?”
No, I misspelt my own name three times the exact same way. I’m just that stupid.
So I realised I either had to drop it or turn it around, ultimately I decided to make it my brand.
Not a piece of advice I’d give to a client naming their blog. I would tell them to make it about their clients, not about themselves. Still, making this choice has reduced the discussions about my name’s spelling to almost zero, so it’s not all bad!
Sometimes Messing Up Is Just What Your Blog Needs
Final lesson and confession: as you can see, not even professionals always get it right. Sometimes you break the rules intentionally, sometimes through no fault of your own… And oftentimes it’s exactly in those moments of imperfection when something creative and memorable happens.
In content marketing and communications there are golden standards and best practices that work well most of the time. And there are always moments for a creative spark that steers away from those standards and creates something beautiful.
And that’s why I love blogging and why I continue recommending it as a content marketing project for independent consultants and entrepreneurs to build their credibility and thought-leadership. A business blog is a creative, rewarding way to build your personal brand and make it look, sound and feel just like you.
After all, that’s why your clients and followers will fall in love with you, too.