Earlier this week I posted 5 tips for small businesses to succeed on twitter, today I want to take a look at the compelling case as to why your small business should blog. Blogging is a very popular activity, past-time even, for many individuals and businesses. The rewards can be little or large, from families sharing photos and stories to businesses passing on vital information to potential customers or maybe as a source of near direct revenue. Either way there is a huge case for your small business to start blogging, or if you are blogging to continue blogging.
So here are my reasons as to why you and your business should be blogging:
Blogging is great for Organic SEO A business blog with great content will gain linkbacks, it will help to drive traffic and help your business profile online grow.
Blogging builds Persona's Little odd to say but each company has a persona, blogging can help you change how your company is viewed via this persona. This is even more the case with blogs such as Chief Executive blogs or individuals blogging from different areas as you can show your company as being multi-faceted and to have a better persona than your competition - one such example of this would be a blog on The Christie website of their Chief Executives blog, and also National Rail Enquiries Chief Exec's blog.
Blogging extends your profile beyond Social Media Given all the hype around Social Media you will have noticed despite spending a lot of time on social media myself I don't often talk much about it. I still dabble in helping clients with social media but most of my work in terms of marketing is still Organic SEO and Web Design. Anyway ... Social Media isn't everything, its not the be all and end all, your website is pretty close though - it's the one thing you will probably always have most control over and the place you want your best content to be. You can control everything so make the most out of it and remember Content is King!
Blogging shows your businesses is top of the tree Odd saying there, but I use it quite a lot. What I mean by top of the tree is number one in your industry, local market for an industry / niche and the your blogging commands respect from others. Being top of the tree also means that your company, your website and your blog all have authority - both in the minds of people and for search engines (which of course improves your rankings).
Blogging helps to ensure you are a Resource In my post earlier in the week I speak about "being the resource", but on twitter you have only 140 characters ... it's hard to be the resource. So take 20 of them away and link to one of your blogs / articles, make the article a resource as well as your tweets. Being a blog resource means you have great information, usually quite detailed, your website looks good and does what it says on the tin. For example the CheapTents Outdoors Blog can be a resource as it gives advice on such things as preventing tick bites, its not exactly on topic as it's not camping but it is within the realms of the users interest (and this is key).
Blogging "Enables" Your Business A blog can encourage conversation both with new and old customers, plus anyone with a passing interest in your field (this can often include other companies within your market, your competitors). Discussions in your comments are health even if someone is disagreeing with you, it gives you a chance to show that your business can be open minded whilst firmly showing business ethic and of course being very friendly. Comments and discussions will also encourage customer loyalty and encourage others to talk. In this sense it "Enables" your company to network and make the most of your network, indeed blogging also opens the door to a higher chance of press contacting your business should a story arise in your sector of interest.
Blog because your Competitors already do That's right, even if they aren't within 10 or 20 miles of (say your taxi) business, each similar business in your region, your nation, and for some the world are your competition. It is your job to beat them, as you know. Lots of this competition are already blogging, creating great content to increase their search rankings, their search traffic and increase revenue - it's time you jumped on board ;)
Blogging can Help you Sell - if you're careful I do urge caution upon this point, primarily because I do not believe ANY blog should ever be "just a selling tool" or "a chance to promote a product" or even "to say we've a sale / discount this week" ... direct sales do NOT work in blogs. Sure have a few sidebar links to products, services or sales - but do not go on and on about things you sell in blogs. Once in a bluemoon then fine, I can accept that at Christmas you may want to push sales but not every week or month or even day! An idea to be careful is to add a little box at the foot of each post talking about upcoming sales or best selling products ... or even better to sign them up to a newsletter where you can sell to them directly!
Blogs can Keep Giving Blog posts are pieces of content that keep giving, they can continually drive important traffic (and so sales) as well as show that your company over time is an industry leader, increasing its reputation. An email newsletter on the over hand is a "one off stunt" yes it can be archived but in general it's not indexed by search engines and not seen by many people, a blog in indexed, archived and is likely to rank better over time and keep giving back to you (as long as you've some awesome content).
Blogging is Easy, Cheap and Enjoyable No, really it is. It is easy because you maybe able to write post after post for 3 hours, then you schedule your posts across a week or month ... you can do it on a bus, train, plane, in a car, in your garden or even in your office (obviously). It's also easy because you, yourself don't have to do everything, you can ask others in the business or related to the business to help (if they are outsiders say so in the blog, give them a link to their site, and it's likely they will link back). It's Cheap because there are lots of blogging platforms that are free (including the one I love, Wordpress) I advise you host it on your own server at an address something like blog.example.com or example.com/blog - nice and simple ... you already have your own website presumably so adding a blog to it will cost nothing but a little time and effort (<plug>and if you get stuck I can install and configure blogs from just £75 </plug>). And it's enjoyable because not everything you talk about will be work ... for example you can talk about news in your industry or something totally off topic - though it's a good idea to have a tenuous link somewhere.
So there they are 10 great reasons for you to start blogging today. Ok there are more than 10 above if you read between the lines, but there are 10 key points.
If you have any suggestions for this list leave a comment below or tweet @andykinsey