Wayne Hurlbert is one of the most influential business bloggers today. Unlike some of the more well-known celebrity business bloggers such as Robert Scoble and Steve Rubel, Wayne’s influence is quiet and unassuming. Yet, he’s influential nonetheless, of that you can be sure. In fact, I sort of think of him as the “Yoda” of business blogging. (I mean that in a good way.) He brings to the table great wisdom and sound business advice.
Wayne is also my friend and colleague and I value that relationship. That’s why I asked him to share the lessons he’s learned from blogging over the past few years, and he was kind enough to share his thoughts.
When did you start blogging?
I first started blogging in March 2003.
When you started, what were your conceptions about blogs? Did you see them as a marketing tool?
At that time, I viewed blogs as a powerful tool for providing information. I didn’t catch the marketing value for a couple of months after starting the first blog. I noticed the potential as a vehicle for promoting other aspects of a business, and for the creation of relationships. I soon discovered the tremendous SEO power of blogs for achieving high search engine rankings as well.
What was the name of your first blog?
What did you first start blogging about?
My first blog was originally designed to provide information to startup roller derby leagues on the business side of sports league ownership. My blogs always were started with the desire to help others succeed. Blog Business World was added a couple of months later to add a wider scope to the audience who I could assist with advice.
What blogging platform did you use to start with? What are you using now and why?
My first blog was on Blogger. I continue to use Blogger for my blogging as I have customized the template to approximate the other blogging systems.
How have you used blogs in your business? How significant a role has blogging played in your marketing efforts?
My blog has always been a promotional vehicle for my consulting services. To that end, I provide informational posts. Prior to blogging, I was a modestly successful SEO and freelance writer. Since adding Blog Business World to the fold, and the value it provides, my client list and income have increased dramatically. That growth is entirely attributable to the blog.
Looking back over the years since you started blogging, what would you say are some lessons you’ve learned as a result? What were some “serendipities” you’ve experienced along the way?
I have learned much more than I ever thought about relationship building online. The power of blogs for that activity is unlimited. It’s the fast track to getting known in your industry, as well as a direct route to the top of search engine rankings. The most important serendipities are without a doubt the wonderful people I have met through blogging. The people I meet every day are some of the most open, honest, and helpful individuals you could meet anywhere. Again, without blogging, our paths might never have crossed otherwise.
How have you grown personally by blogging?
I was a published freelance writer before my blogging activities. My writing has improved immensely as result of the practice provided by daily posting. I have been enriched by wonderful new friendships, an unequalled opportunity to help others succeed, and an online peer support group. Starting the blog has created a complete lack of hesitation in starting new ventures. When a person takes that first step outward with a blog, then other bold steps soon follow, leading to even greater successes.
How has blogging impacted you professionally? What rewards have you achieved as a result of blogging?
Blogging made my business succeed. Period. Blogging has made my reputation as a helpful and knowledgeable expert in my field. Because the blog provides a powerful online promotional format, and builds relationships with others, blogging has built my business. Literally. In a sense, I could say with all honesty, that I owe everything to blogging. At the same time, I have been rewarded with friends and help I never imagined would be available. That immeasurable gift of frienship is the most powerful blogging reward.
How have you seen blogging change or evolve since you started?
Blogs have evolved from personal diaries and technology discussions to a mainstream business marketing tool. Businesses now openly talk about adding a blog component to their marketing and public relations activities. That conversation was almost unheard of even two years ago.
What is your best “takeaway” you’d say you’ve received from your experience?
Blogs build relationships in ways that no one could even imagine. Starting a blog is without a doubt, a potentially life changing event.
Looking to the future, where do you see blogging headed in the next two to five years?
Blogs will continue to evolve as both business tools and informational vehicles. Podcasts, video blogs, and other multimedia will enhance the blogging experience to rival mainstream media. Corporations will add business blogs as a matter of practice, and independent business will use blogs to level the playing field and build niche marketing relationships around the world. Blogs will make all companies, regardless of size, global enterprises. Blogs will be at the heart of that world wide movement to global marketing.