In short – probably. There are pros and cons of having a blog if you are a small business and ultimately it’s your choice. Hopefully, after this post, you will know if you should go down the blogging path or not.
First, let’s have a look at some of the things having a blog can do for a small business.
Having a blog section on your site can help you create awareness of your little business and help you grow your customer base. It can also help to attract partnerships and business opportunities. Well, the blog section has to have blog posts and be up-to-date to do this, though, so a blog section with one lonesome little post isn’t going to get you results.
It can also help boost your reputation within your industry as having a blog provides you with a way to voice and showcase your knowledge. This is a good thing as people are more likely to buy a service or product off people they consider to be experts.
You can also generate traffic to your sales pages by linking to them from within your blog posts.
Blogs are also good for converting readers into subscribers. Why are subscribers important? They can be turned into customers or clients. The earlier you start your blog and building your email list of subscribers, the earlier you can reap the benefits of a subscriber list. A blog with a large subscriber list is also more influential than a site with no blog or subscriber list.
But what if you already have Facebook, Twitter, and various other social media profiles – do you still need a blog too? Well, social media accounts have been known to be deleted without warning. Even big co-operate accounts have had their accounts deleted so can you guarantee your account is safe? Plus social media comes and goes and has trends. I know myself the social media accounts I had a few years ago are different to the ones I use today. My personal preference has changed and some social media channels have faded into thin air. But with a blog that is growing your email list, you have a list that you own. Your email list doesn’t depend on social media trends or someone taking the effort to log into a certain social media at the moment you have posted something interesting on there. Plus also a blog post is always there until you press delete. A social media status is there till it has been replaced by everything else in the feed. If its Twitter were talking minutes or seconds. A blog post is something they can come back to. Something that is indexed by search engines and can potentially keep bringing you traffic and potential clients or customers.
Let’s also consider if a blog is the right thing for your business with a few negatives or ‘being realistic’ facts
For a blog to work successfully and to bring in the traffic or whatever outcome you are aiming at, it will need commitment. A post every 6 months is probably worse than no blog at all. Your customers won’t immediately think oh wow they are super busy to keep their blog updated. They just going to see you haven’t been bothered to update the blog. You also need to be able to write the blog posts. So if stringing two sentences is your limit then you either have to re-think, outsource or try a different media like video. And you have to be prepared for the long term as it’s not an overnight thing either.
Who are you trying to reach? Probably potential customers but where does your ideal customer hang out? If they don’t hang out online then no amount of perfect blog posts telling them how great you and your product or service is will get to them. If they are ‘old school’ and still reading newspapers and getting info in printed form then that’s where you need to be. If they are internet savvy you then have to figure out how they like their info. Blog posts, email, newsletters, social media? Again figure that bit out and that’s where you have to be.
What do you want your blog to achieve?
A blog has the potential to do lots of things for your business. It can:
- Increase your visibility and search engine rankings
- Build a community
- Expand your reach
- Put a human face and personal feel to your business
- Establish and increase credibility
- Reach potential customers or clients
You need to figure out what you want your blog to achieve for .you and then create a plan.
In your plan you need to consider these things:
It takes time. A blog post isn’t something you can do in minutes. Well, you could but I doubt it would create any traffic or convert a reader into a buyer. It takes time to think up post ideas, research the post, write the post and source images. Then you have to promote your post too to get the most out of your post.
How will you promote your posts?
It uses to be that you could build it and they would come. A phrase that has been bantered for years. But you are not building an arc and there is no flood on its was plus there are 6 million plus other arcs being built too.
You can, though, hire in help to promote and schedule your social media or get to grips with it yourself. Either way, you need to factor in either your time or cost into your plan.
If you have decided that a blog is something you want to create, and your biting at the bit to get posts created you need to go back to the question of what you want your blog to achieve for you. There are 3 types of goals that you will want your blog posts to do.
- To generate leads and sales.
- To create credibility and establish branding.
- To boost traffic and get your name out there.
1. To generate leads and sales – posts that are targetted towards leads and sales are aimed at readers who are looking for answers to their questions. The post can tackle a problem that the audience is facing and give them a solution that they can buy. These posts work best if they contain buyer specific keywords that search engines can pick up.
The aim of these posts is to promote action so you will need a call to action for them to buy or subscribe.
2. To create credibility and establish branding – these blog posts are aimed at demonstrating your in-depth knowledge and expertise in your business. Your aiming to make your business and you the ‘go-to’ people in your niche. So blog posts need to be insightful and useful.
If you’re thinking of outsourcing some of your blog work, these type of post generally can’t be outsourced and its high-end content and ‘your’expertise.
3. To boost traffic and get your name out there – these posts need to be keyword optimized as your aiming at getting traffic from search engines and social media. They are also probably the easiest posts to write and can be outsourced easily.
But was makes compelling content for your posts?
If you have got this far it’s worth reading just a few more lines on what makes a compelling content. Compelling content is …
- will either engage, entertain or educate the reader
- will make them come back to read more posts
This bit is really important and often a newbie mistake. The content has to be unique. The content you have created. Not content you have copied and pasted from elsewhere on the internet.
It needs to be on topic. So if your line of work is dog walking and you suddenly talk about beer making it’s not going to be what your target audience particularly wants to read. Also, no waffling to get the word count up.
Be readable. Don’t try and impress readers by using big long fancy-pants words. If your niche doesn’t use big words, you don’t need to either. It’s better to write more simply so everyone can understand.
Soooooo we come to the end. Do you think a blog section will be of benefit to your small business?