Let’s start with the question:
Why does your small business need a business blog?
I could say, “Because I say so!” But then who am I? I am Not a Business Blogging master guru rockstar gangster ninja… OK, I might be willing to roll with Blogging Gangster… no, NO! Ego Ryan, control the ego…
Wow, huge digression, sorry…
Like you, I am a small business professional and in the Winter of 2009 I was looking for a way to expand the reach of my small business (The Murray Group Insurance Services, Inc.). I created this blog as both a way to brand myself as a professional in the greater Albany, NY business community and provide an online insurance resource for my clients. After almost three years of blogging I can say, that relatively speaking, my business blogging experience a success (see Blog Traffic Increase).
In preparing for a presentation I will be giving here in the Albany area titled “One Hour to a Successful Business Blog” I came up with the following list of 7 reasons your small business needs a business blog. I’ve broken the list up into two blog posts to make the content a little easier to digest.
What I selfishly want to get out of this blog post is YOUR thoughts on why a small business needs a business blog. I’ve given you three of my ideas below and you will get four more on Monday. In the mean time let’s get a discussion going…
Here are the first three reason your small business needs a business blog!
1) Take Control of Your Brand
You know what really burns my buns? When people talk behind my back.
Let’s say I have a meeting with Johnny and I accidentally forget that I am chewing gum for the first five minutes of that meeting. If Johnny doesn’t like that I was chewing gum during our coffee meeting there is a very good chance that Johnny is going to return to his office and tell his co-work Sally that I chew gum like a pig and have the worst manners in Upstate New York.
Sally, being a gossip and finding the information intriguing tells her two best friends at spin class, Stacy and Tanya, that her co-worker Johnny had a meeting with Ryan Hanley and that Ryan Hanley had absolutely no manners at all and was SO rude…
Well Tanya remembers that one of her good friends Steve had mentioned that he had an appointment with Ryan Hanley. The first thing Tanya does the next morning is call Steve on the phone and inform him that Ryan Hanley is a low-class rude piece of trash that is not worth wasting time on and is probably a communist too…
Then I get an email from Steve politely apologizing for having to indefinitely push our meeting.
Wouldn’t you like to have control of your business brand?
The point of my outlandish scenario above is that word spreads fast in 2011. When you hear something negative, or positive for that matter, about a brand what is the first you do? You go to the company website and try to figure out if you believe the story.
A business blog allows you to dictate the image that potential customers and business partners see. By writing about who you are, who your employees are, what you stand for as a small business, the organizations you do business with, and charities you give to, you are taking control of your business brand.
Not having your brand dictated to you.
2) Build Trust
Trust comes with time and a dedication to Deliver Value First. In an increasingly distrustful world, your blog, when organized and executed correctly, can help to break through the tough exterior of the consuming public. Your blog needs to act as a window to the soul of your business.
Transparency, Personality, Community…
The corporate image has been marketed to death with over-promising and corporate trust has been broken by under-delivering. Your potential customers want to see a face and hear a voice, they may not want the traditional old-school relationship all the time, but they want to know it’s there. They want to trust it’s there… Your business blog can do that.
3) Get Found Through Search
You have probably heard of SEO before. If you haven’t, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. A properly optimized blog is easily found by potential clients when they search in Google or Bing or Yahoo.
The 10,000 foot view of Blogs and their relevance to search is this: Google gives preference in search results to fresh, original content that is relevant both in Keyword and Geographic Area to the search performed (we’re not going to get into backlinking right now).
What this means is your Blog posts need to have a purpose and you need to choose the words you use carefully. This may seem obvious, but your blog posts can only be searched for words that are included in the Title, Tags or Body. If the words your potentials clients are using to search for your business aren’t being used in your blog posts, those potential clients are NOT going to find you.
Use Google Keyword Search to determine the search terms that will drive the most traffic to your blog and use them in your blog posts.
There is so much talk throughout the entire small business community about the importance of social media in 21st century marketing. I agree that social media is important, but it is my personal opinion that social media has a very low success ceiling if you don’t have a quality business blog as the centerpiece of your online presence.
Your blog is your home base… Your blog is where you turn introductions into relationships.
The next 4 reasons your small business needs a business blog (link to Part II)!
Why do you think small business needs a business blog?
I am Ryan Hanley