Blogging has shifted in popularity over the last 10 years. It was all the rage a few years ago but today many businesses are more interested in Facebook and Twitter, and blogging has become less popular.
I think that a blog is still one of the best marketing opportunities for many small businesses. They are relatively simple to set up and can typically be added to your existing website for as little as $500 (possibly less). A blog allows you to easily and quickly communicate with your audience (vs. your website, which may be difficult to update) and allows you to share information about your company.
Here are some of the benefits of having a small business blog:
1) Showcase Your Company
No matter what line of business you are in a blog is a great way to share interesting information about your business. For example, if you are a restaurant you can post “behind the scenes” photos or videos of your restaurant. Show people how the food is prepared or some of your special ingredients. Alternately you can have your chef talk about how to find the perfect ingredients (ie. how to know if a mango is ripe). This works for BtoB also – you can talk about areas where you have special expertise. For example a web development company can showcase a User Experience expert talking about how they map user interactions. This shows that the company does more than just develop websites – they put a lot of thought into them. This can help justify premium pricing and also shows you as an expert in the field.
2) Talk about Company News
A blog is a great place to highlight company news. Press releases are often very formal and don’t provide “real” perspective. Use your blog to talk to people like people and share information beyond a press release. For example, you may have a news release about a new store opening. On your blog you can build relationships by talking about the process of opening the store and share how excited you are. You can also share photos. Blogs are great ways to make your company news more human and allow people to really connect with you.
3) Discuss Company Issues or Policies
If you get a lot of feedback on certain areas of your business, a blog can be a great way to have an honest conversation with your customers about it. Don’t accept walk-ins at your salon? Explain why. Let your customers understand and respond to your business policies. You may also be surprised with solutions that they can offer. When I worked for a photo start-up we had policies that our customers didn’t agree with. When we posted about them on our blog our customers actually gave us great solutions.
4) Show What you Know
This is similar to #1. Highlight the knowledge and talent in your organization. Let people know what goes in to making your product. Share photos and videos. Allow them to connect with you and your staff. If you have a coffee shop you can talk about different kind of roasts and what they mean. This can help position your company as a leader in the industry and really highlight why your $3 cup of coffee is better than the one I get for $1 from McDonalds.
5) Educate your Customers
Whatever your line of business, your customers are often seeking out information to better inform their purchase decision. Sell running shoes? Write blog posts on running techniques and the differences between different kinds of shoes. Help your customers better understand how shoes make the difference in running. Educate your customers to show your knowledge and drive loyalty.
6) Search Engine Optimization
A blog can have a positive impact on your search engine ranking results. Essentially this means that when people google keywords related to your product you show up near the top of the results. This can lead to more traffic to your website and ultimately more business. If I search “Cincinnati Bike Shop” and you show up first, I am more likely to go to your store. Blogs help your search engine results because they are full of keywords which helps google understand what your website is about. They also get updated frequently which helps with your google ranking.
Any other benefits for small businesses to blog?