For some time I have been promoting Twitter as a good thing for people running small businesses to do, but recently I have been asked “why blog” and what is the value to small businesses and freelance consultants and trainers.
I guess that because I have been doing this for some time that I overlooked the basics. This article is the first is a short series to show why and how to blog for business.
People and business blog for a wide range of reasons including:
- Providing a “space to think”, plan & reflect
- To read their own thoughts
- A place to experiment with technology and ideas
- A place to collaborate
- An element of danger
- To show what you know
- To help others
Indeed people blog for different reasons at a personal level. For business there are different reasons including:
- Being seen as knowledgeable/ the expert
- Providing regular & updated content for your web site
- Customer relations
- Knowledge management
- Search engine placement (SEO – Search Engine Optimisation)
Blogs in many ways are no different from other communication channels, they all have their strengths and weaknesses, and however the key difference with blogs is speed and cost.
What is the value of a blog?
When you build a website, many people think that if you build it, they will come. Unfortunately this is not true. Like having a brochure printed that action itself is pointless without distributing it to people that want to read it. Website are exactly the same. People need to know it exists and what it provides – and that goes for the search engines too!
On the web there are literally millions of sites and unless people know the exact address it is unlikely that it will be found by anything but a few isolated individuals.
A blog is a tool that as a by-product can help you get found. Search engines line fresh and regularly changed information, and while you do not want to change the copy on your site every week, having an article or piece of information to add value and provide the search engines with the “new stuff” is a win/win solution.
By writing quality content (600-1500 words) that is both informative and useful other blogs will link back to you – raising your ‘value’ to the search engines and at the same time increasing the audience for your content
When an individual is looking for an answer to a question or for some information and find your content of value, the chance are they will remember your site and come back – then when the time is right buy your product or service.
Business websites are often cold and inhuman – a blog can add the human face. Good content from a person builds trust, this can lead to sales, or referrals from people that found your content of value.
The best bit – cost
Unlike many other marketing and customer based strategies, blogging or at least providing it is low or no cost… free! Blogging does require skill, dedication and commitment, along with a little bit of forward planning.
Blogging should be done by you the practitioner – not your web team, software developer or PR company!
- A space for new content
- “show you know”
- Add value to current and potential customers
- Tell the web you exist
- Are low cost or free to set up and run
Coming soon – what to blog – and where to blog