How a neighborhood blog transformed my business

No Comments Yet | by Elise Perkins

About 18 months back I was still fresh into my consulting business and learning more every day. I had clients that were keeping me busy, but the business development side was severely dwindling – likely because I was comfortable.

Being comfortable can put us in bad situations at times: staying at a lousy job for too long, not taking risks to get the things we want most, becoming complacent with your capabilities, or maybe turning down networking opportunities. Clearly, it extends into your personal life as well.

Well, I was uncomfortable with writing under my own name (after ghost-writing for years).

For someone in my profession – having strong writing skills was imperative. However, I had “grown up” surrounded by fantastic writers, very logical, business-y, fact-driven, writers; smart smarty-pants. Given my affection for more creative writing, I was not confident in my capabilities.

I felt like someone else with more experience was better suited to be the expert. That in an increasingly content-heavy world, my opinion didn’t exist. Perhaps people might publicly rip apart my work. It all became too much.

As such, I didn’t start out my business with a blog. I would occasionally pen a post when the mood struck, but there was no rhyme or reason to it. I didn’t have an editorial calendar, nor did I have a focus. It was hard to get going, to say the least.

Then, one month I realized that my client obligations were lightening, and wondered what I could be doing to drum up new opportunities. I had often noticed how my tiny town was getting little attention compared to the glossier suburbs that surround the Washington D.C. area. I knew that we had a niche – excellent ethnic food at good prices. I knew that we had a small following from the annual appearances in Washingtonian Magazine’s Cheap Eats section.

As a food-lover and resident myself, I knew I was an expert; as a communications and marketing professional, I knew how to make something glossy.

Thus, the neighborhood blog: Wonderful, Walkable Wheaton was born in March of 2015, with the support of another friend and local.

In the time since it launched, this blog has not gone viral, nor become an overnight success. Yet we constantly see from our interactions online how it has benefitted the community – by providing a story behind local business owners success, to covering the openings of new restaurants and businesses. We’re providing value to them, and providing a creative outlet to write on various topics. I’m also fortunate to say that it has helped expand my business, even landing a few new clients over the past year.

For many small business owners, marketing themselves can be the hardest part of the whole gig; even for those whose profession it is to communicate. Writing can be a transformative way to expand both your community, as well as position yourself as subject matter expert. And, it’ll certainly get you out of your comfort zones.

What are some tips you have to keep your business moving forward?

About Elise Perkins

Elise Perkins founded ep communications in 2014 after seven years of working for trade associations and think tanks. Today she focuses on building brands for businesses and people, using a savvy mix of content and influencer strategies. She sits on the board of Washington Women in Public Relations.

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