Let me first start this post by saying that I am a stranger to how business is done in other parts of the world, mainly western countries (I’ll talk about this in the next paragraph). However, being someone who has been building businesses the jenga blocks style with the habit of periodically kicking the bottom layers so that I can see the towers collapsing, I am confident to say that I have some experience in running a business – the Asian (Chinese) way. Having said that, I’m not (hopefully, yet) an entrepreneur, so don’t come asking me for advice on how to make millions in 5 years.
But I see the similarity between blogging and business (reiterate: Chinese/Asian style), and that’s why I’m writing this post. Oh, the difference in western countries’ way of business? I lied; I don’t even know if there is any difference. (If you are laughing, like having a roaring laughter already, great.)
The first thing that came to my mind when I took up blogging was the word “reciprocation”.
I have mentioned before: we write to be read. It just doesn’t make sense to me if you were to blog under anonymity. I mean, for the sake of God, if you don’t wish to have someone reading your essay-long ranting about the guy with a small dick whom you met last Saturday, there are many options for you to write down this pleasurable memory. You can write it on:
1) MS Word / OpenOffice Writer
3) The walls of your home.
Most of us write to have a sense of belonging within this community that revolves around writing, and that sense has to start somewhere along the line called “being appreciated”. However, before that happens, it is wise to first put in some effort to appreciate what others are writing. Pretty much like business.
Doing business with a (for the sake of my own familiarity, I shall use my homeland Singapore as an example) Singapore registered company, no matter buying or selling, there has to be reciprocation in place to make the whole collaboration successful.
Let’s say you are a plumber doing installations of water piping for a restaurant. You know that the owner is someone who already has few branches in operation, and few more will come in maybe, few months time. The clever thing to do now is to visit one of the restaurants and spend money there.
Of course, you have to throw in a little acting such as giving the person a call.
“Hey, are you there at XXX branch? My friends and I are finding a place to have our dinner, and I thought it’d be great to enjoy the good food at your place, and perhaps to catch up a little with you? I look forward to introducing my friends to you.”
It’s a little guilt-tripping trick here, truth be told. But once you’ve spent money on someone, he’ll spend more money on your services/products when he needs you. It’s a two-way traffic, like it or not.
Ask this question to O.M, one of bloggers whom I respect a lot, and he’ll tell you the same. To have someone appreciating your articles, the first thing you have to do will be to read (and like them if they are good) what others are writing. Not to compare, but to appreciate what they have to share and offer. Don’t be selfish with clicking the star buttons.
Yes, perhaps out of 10 that you have approached, 6 douchebags might not have the time for you. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, because…
#2 Knocking on the doors
Ok, I have a question. Anyone here working as a salesperson? Salespersons, please tap your desk so that I’ll know.
Fine, stop it. You’re an idiot to that think tapping on your desk will send a signal to me.
Let us do some imagining. Close your eyes, take deep breaths and visualize…. Alright, stop (again). Let me know if you can read with your eyes closed. We’re at WORDPRESS, damn-it.
Oh, text to speech? I’m sorry.
Let’s be serious now. Imagine you’re working in sales, and your job is to sell as many high-tech toilet bowls as possible, to as many clients as you can find. Every toilet bowl that you are selling will bring you a handsome commission of, say, $200. If you are able to sell 100 units in a month, you can look forward to getting $20,000 by payday. Nice? Great. Now, let’s move on.
Question now is: How are you going to sell your toilet bowls?
Placing them by the side of the road, and knocking on every car that stopped at the red light, stick your brochure on their windscreen, and introduce the new invention to them once they step out of their cars? Doable, I guess.
Perhaps knocking on their doors? Maybe cold calls? Or even distribute flyers to people walking by so that potential buyers know whom to look for when they are looking for a toilet bowl that by the press of a button masturbates for the person sitting on it?
I did say it’s a high-tech toilet bowl, didn’t I?
Social media people, stop trying to argue into marketing with your Facebook ways. It’s a hypothetical scenario, and you’re getting too worked up. Go grab your beer and stay calm.
The key is this: to have buyers, you have to find buyers. To get someone to buy from you, you have to find that someone who’ll buy from you. Agree?
To have someone reading your blog, you must have readers who will read your blog, and start by finding their whereabouts. If you think that by putting what you have written out there floating in this space called Internet, and waiting for thousands or millions of people to chance upon it and follow you, you’re going to have a good time experiencing disappointment.
You may ask, how do we go about doing it? Well, you can…
I wrote a short story last Saturday, and the rules stated that I had to include a beach towel, a bowl of hot soup, and a cat in any order I deemed fit in it. It was a mini challenge by Daily Post, and it took me around 10 minutes to publish the story on my blog. It was evening time here, and I had 3 hours left before midnight after I clicked on the “publish” button.
The story with a word count of only 620 words (including post signature) got me a spike in traffic. I got 3 pingbacks, the most views for that day, and a notification telling me that I got the best day for follows, which are big deals to me, apparently. All in 3 hours*. (I just got another notification for a new follower at the time of writing this post from that story)
So here’s what I’m trying to say: To have people knowing you, you have to let people know that you exist. That’s why businesses do marketing; they want their potential customers to know them, and when the time comes to buy a toilet bowl, potential customers will know how many options they’ll have.
Likewise in blogging, if you don’t put yourself out there, no one will know that you exist, just like how no one knows that Andy Lawson is actually a real business entity.
If paying to market your blog isn’t what you can afford, or emailing strangers to build a presence of your blog is something that you cannot materialize (damn your email limits, Google), then participate in whatever way you can find. Platforms such as Daily Post is there to help fellow bloggers create awareness, and why are you turning them away?
Businesses don’t work by setting up and have customers swarming in through the help of spell casters’ magic, and the same logic applies to blogs. To gain your readers, you reach out and let them know that an awesome blog is out there waiting for them to read, and a good way to do it is to participate. It will give your blog the exposure (daily prompt: long exposure) that you find hard to achieve, and difference here is you have the privilege of participating in the comfort of your own home, which is nice for introverts like you and me.
You should have realized by now – if you are still reading – that all I’ve mentioned circled around reaching out to get your readers. It’s identical to doing business; the difference being paying with money in order to reach the potential group of people you’re trying to find in business, while you pay for readership with your time and effort in blogging.
While business is about making money, blogging has the potential to make money when your readership grows. Let’s first start with writing to keep it alive.
*Andy Lawson is not liable for any expectations that may arise from the reading of any of his articles. What you’ll get might not be the same as what he’s gotten.
Andy Lawson is the average man on the street that you’ll not even trouble yourself looking at him if he passes by you. He’s sensitive to bullshit, and he hates mediocrity in most people. He is the author of his self-published book: Facts and Fiction of Fengshui: Facts that Masters are NOT Telling You. He doesn’t have Facebook or Twitter, because he hates to be associated with people who tend to be passive-aggressive online, but he does have a very limited set of vocabularies, terrible grammar, a twisted mind that makes himself God in his own twisted world and an ability to communicate with people who wish to be his friend.