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Blogging’s hidden cost: tradeoffs

July 13, 2015

paint chips

Photo: Jocelyn (CC)

In talking with an Instagram entrepreneur (Instapreneur™?) over the weekend, I discussed forming a business plan. It doesn’t cost anything, but it compels her to consider two important questions before actually building a business.

1. Is the risk low enough and the reward high enough?

2. What tradeoffs would it require?

That second question is the one we don’t ask enough, about entrepreneurism, about social media or about blogging. We sometimes refer to it by its fancy name, opportunity cost.

She mentioned a handful of Instagram rock stars who have turned their accounts into opportunities: cash sponsorships, travel, fame and so on. Some may have stumbled into it; others may have set out deliberately to build their brands.

What we don’t ask is: What did each successful Instagrammer give up to make it to the top? It could be time spent with family and loved ones. It could be sleep and taking care of their health. It could be regular opportunities in their day jobs and career.

They may have paid a steep price, one that we may not readily pay ourselves in seeing the overall outcome.

We can do one thing at a time. The more we do it, the better (hopefully) we get at it. We can do many things at a time, if we don’t mind doing them in mediocre fashion (this is how I mow the lawn, clean my house and do my laundry).

Blogging is a terrific longterm marketing tactic. It builds site equity. It defines a brand methodically. It engages any number of readers, fans and searchers for relationships.

But it comes at a high cost, even if we don’t spend a dime. We spend enormous amounts of time planning and creating and editing content. After publishing, we spend even more time promoting content. Both before and after may require coordination among colleagues, freelancers, lawyers, salespeople and subjects.

The opportunity costs can be numerous: We cannot engage in other marketing tactics that may yield quicker results and sales. We may waste time on a content management system that is outdated or ill-equipped to meet our needs. We may plunge forward without clear direction on how each blog post fits into the marketing plan or annual business goals.

These are the hidden costs of blogging for standard marketing. Just imagine how steep those hidden costs are to blog successfully in achieving goals and becoming a top marketer.

It’s OK to pay a steep price, but it’s even better to anticipate the price and factor it into the master plan from the beginning.

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