As a small business owner who blogs weekly, I field plenty of questions about my experience. Most of the questions are from other small business owners who are thinking about blogging to market their business. The most difficult conversations are with entrepreneurial sorts who are just starting their business and are looking for a quick way to generate revenue.
I know how they feel. When I started my human resources consulting business, I was transitioning from a career giving legal advice. I had no clients and a small network of contacts. I began blogging when other methods of increasing my client base seemed to have failed. But after almost five years of blogging, I can’t tie a single dollar of revenue directly to my blog.
So my biggest lesson in blogging is that it won’t jumpstart the revenue stream of a business. What it has done is establish my company’s digital presence so potential clients know we exist and it keeps me in front of potential referral sources who are also loyal readers. That’s a return on investment that money can’t buy.
I continue writing my blog because I enjoy it. It’s a wonderful way for me to demonstrate the scope of my knowledge on human resources and employee issues. It’s also a fabulous way to examine how humans work together in groups. Our relationships with our co-workers are the longest term relationships we ever develop outside our families. That means drama.
Drama can take many paths from bitchiness to physical violence. That brings me to my next lesson in blogging. Some drama is simply too controversial to cover in my blog. Drama related to race, religion or politics is so polarizing that any conversation is immediately short circuited by the reader’s existing beliefs.
My readers reflect the diversity of our country. If they want polarizing arguments, there are plenty of other bloggers who would love to have them as readers. But who wants an HR expert who causes workplace drama?
So I touch on these subjects very carefully while leaving the controversy to others. I prefer to look at topics that illustrate the absurdity of human behavior in common workplace settings. I would never mock anyone’s behavior because that’s cruel and petty. But we’ve all seen (and will sometimes even admit to) creating workplace drama. In hindsight, it’s often funny.
That’s the other big lesson of my blog. I want it to be enjoyable. HR is so boring if we only look at the rules and what is prohibited. If my blog is full of pontificating pettifoggery, no serious small business owner will want to hire my company to help with their problems. But if the business owner has a chuckle about a situation she or he faces every day, they can face the day with a smile.
About Norma Shirk
My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps employers (with up to 50 employees) to create human resources policies and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy. To read my musings on the wacky world of HR, see my weekly blog HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which publishes every Wednesday morning.
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