I came across this good article this morning on BusinessWeek on the topic of blogs for small businesses.
It’s a good introduction to business blogging and what it might mean for your small business.
A few additional points that I’d like to make:
- For many small businesses, you want to create a deep and trusting a relationship as possible with your clients. If you (or someone on your team) has the writing skills, a blog is a great way to do this relatively efficiently.
- The personality that you build for your business through your blog is one of the things that is extremely hard for your competitors to replicate or copy. This is equivalent of what the big boys would be called “brand” (i.e. some type of “signal” to your clients about who you are). Since you can’t afford the millions of dollars to build “brand” like the big guys, a blog is a great way to create a personality that your clients can identify with.
- Blogging gives you an easy vehicle to keep your site fresh. This creates a little bit of comfort in the minds of your potential clients that your company is “alive”. Which would you be more impressed with: a website that hasn’t had a change in 6-9 months – not even a press release, or one where the partners of the firm are writing about relevant topics and sharing their ideas and expertise?
- Keeping your content updated on the site is a great way to help your search rankings (if you care about those things). Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complex topic which I’ll talk more about in later articles. For now, just know that one of the best ways to rank high in Google and other search engines is to have lots of relevant content constantly added to your site.
- Unlike classic marketing schpiel that is painful to put together (and everyone has to approve), writing blog articles is pretty painless. Not everyone has to review every article. There’s not an expectation of “perfectionism” (blogging is known to be an “informal” medium, so typos and errors – within reason, are OK)
So, if you haven’t yet started a blog for your small business, it’s definitely something you should consider. Though I have a bias, I think that your blog should be 100% focused on building your brand and integrated with the rest of your business (and not just be “out there”). That’s why I don’t advocate the “free” services (and there are plenty out there) for my small business clients. Also, though a blog is an important component of your website – I don’t think it’s wise to make your entire website just a blog. There are some things you want to say that fit in a blog, and others that don’t.
What do you think? If you’re reading this blog, chances are you have an opinion. Would love to hear your thoughts.