Most messages these days are shared with the world via the internet. Between Facebook statuses and tweets, Instagram images and LinkedIn updates, everyone looks to the web to share and receive information. Options have morphed over time, and fads come and go. As a small business owner, it's tough to keep on top of them all. You don't want to jump on a train, only to find out it's going the wrong direction.
To Blog or Not To Blog
Blogging has been a popular means of sharing information for years. In the 1990s, the development of web publishing tools took blog writing out of the hands of only skilled HTML programmers and made it easy for anyone to post. Most blogs are interactive, allowing people to discuss the topic posted, which makes this content different from the static web content (although social media outlets allow for plenty of lively discussions). If you're not already blogging, should you make the effort?
Small businesses should consider blogging for these reasons:
1. You can strengthen your brand and develop relationships with your audience. Providing regular, useful content in a way that allows for readers to respond and comment helps you connect with your customers, clients and potential clients. A consistent voice and message clarifies your company's position in the market.
2. Blogs boost your visibility on the web. Search engines find fresh content, so blogging is a good form of Search Engine Optimization.
3. You establish yourself as an expert in your industry. If you lead the way with specific knowledge on a topic, whether you're sharing your expertise or finding and distributing information that is relevant to your business, you are setting yourself apart as a resource. As long as you're credible, you have the opportunity to share and be shared in the vast world wide web.
Make it Stand Out!
First, decide on the software you want to use to start your blog. Read reviews and choose one that works for you. Second, outline and research topics to cover. Third, decide if the writing of your blog is something you or an employee can handle, or if you need to outsource. A few tips:
» Be Authentic. Whether you, a member of your staff or a hired entity is writing your blog, keep your voice consistent. Your viewpoints might not be appealing to the masses, but they should represent the core values of your company, continually.
» Educate and Entertain. Use this platform to share your business news, provide how-to's, solve problems and highlight industry trends and topics that your readers might find interesting. The harder part is to do it in an entertaining way because blogs are not the platform for the hard sell. Keep it light, useful and interesting.
» Share! One writer did some heavy math, figuring there to be about 106 million bloggers in the world today. That's a lot of people sharing their expertise and opinions. Your ability to share your blog once it's posted will help set you apart. Tweet about your latest entry, share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media avenues that will help boost your exposure. Between offering relevant and lively content and letting your readers know something new is up for the world to see, you should keep your readers coming back.
Blogging doesn't appear to be going out of style any time soon, but readers' expectations and appetites for information are changing and evolving. Ask for feedback, pay attention, and keep your readers coming back!
Does your small business blog?