Blogs have passed their fad stage and are now accepted as serious business tools, but far too many people have entirely the wrong idea about making money blogging. Making money because you blog is a much more common than making money from blogging much more common than making money from blogging. Yes, a handful of people make serious money from their blogs, including from advertising revenue, product sales, and more, but for most of us this is simply not going to happen. I know a very few people making six figures from their blogs, but I know a lot more extremely successful professionals who owe their success in part to blogging. The thought of a professional, whether a consultant, lawyer, speaker or anyone else starting a blog, slapping some ads on it, and raking in serious cash is simply ludicrous! However, many professionals are using their blogs to communicate to their marketplace: demonstrating their expertise, networking, and establishing thought leadership in the process. In short, they are using their blogs to “get slightly famous,” to increase their footprint among their potential customers and partners, and are justly reaping rewards. There are several reasons why blogging is great for promoting yourself. These include: • Visibility — Search engines drive most of the traffic on the Internet, and they love blogs. “Blog and they will come,” although not entirely correct, is not far off the mark. Blogging will expose you and your thoughts to a larger audience. • Expertise — You can demonstrate, and built, your expertise on a regular basis via blogging. You are not claiming you’re an expert, but proving it through what you say. • Networking – Due to the conversational and interactive nature of blogging, the range of people you’ll meet may simply amaze you. Some may become clients while some may refer or otherwise help you and they will also benefit from knowing you. • Building Trust – Blogs are written in a conversational style, much as we speak, and when people read your blog, they get to know you. I’ve met long time readers of my blog who have said, “You’re just like your blog!” Although they had just met me, they already knew me. Why is this important? We tend to like people we know, we trust people we know, and we like to do business with people we know and trust. Blogging is as easy as sending email – no technical expertise required.Blog writing is simple due to its conversational nature. Many successful bloggers will tell you they were never strong writers and often thought they disliked writing before they started blogging. Although it is easy to blog, there are plenty of marginally successful business blogs. Often the bloggers are very happy with their success, since even a marginal business blog can have significant results. In examining thousands of business blogs, I’ve found three factors that distinguish most very successful business blogs: focus, goals, and integration with strategy. Blog Focus: What are you going to blog on? Your blog needs to be focused on your profession – not what you had for lunch, your thoughts on the latest election, or whatever else is on your mind today. In other words, you need to blog about your professional area of expertise. Your blog’s focus may actually be narrower than your professional interests and services. For example if you are a blogging attorney who specializes in family legal issues, you may chose to blog on family business succession planning, or if you are a computer security guru, you may chose to blog on virus protection issues. If your blog doesn’t have a focus and you blog on whatever you’re interested in, it’s highly unlikely that many people will have your same set of interests, say professional bowling, tax liens, and collecting pre World War II postcards, and hence you’ll get few regular readers and far from maximum impact. Blog Goals: Your blog needs one primary goal, and perhaps secondary goals as well. Although your primary goal may evolve over time, it must remain relatively static. For example, your primary goal may be to position yourself as an expert in your field. Alternatively it may be improving customer service by engaging your customers in conversation,or perhaps positioning yourself for political office in the future. If you don’t have a primary goal how can you gauge success? Integration with your Business Strategy: Business blogs are not stand-alone endeavors. They need to be part of your overall business strategy. For example, if part of your business strategy is to position yourself as an expert, hopefully you are doing something in addition to blogging to position yourself as an expert, for example writing books or articles, getting quoted by media, and public speaking. Blogging can help make you a visible expert with lots of contacts, in other words “slightly famous” in your niche.Remember to focus on your niche, not your thoughts of the day, and always keep your blog’s primary goal in mind. Blogging can be part of a strong foundation for professional success, especially if integrated as a core part of your business strategy. For example, if your strategy involves positioning yourself as an expert, then it should be combined with other “get slightly famous’ strategies of your choice, such as speaking, writing books, getting press, or leveraging whatever other strengths you may have. Ted Demopoulos, author of What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting and coauthor of Blogging for Business, is the principal of Demopoulos Associates, a consulting organization specializing in information security and new media. Ted’s professional background includes over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Business and he is a frequent speaker at conferences, conventions, and other business events.