Your small business needs a blog. In 2007 it’s not enough to have a Web site, because millions of other businesses are online too, and everyone is competing for attention. The chances of your five or ten page Web site being found by your target audience are slim.
One way to get your audience’s attention is with a blog. The Web search engines love blogs: they visit frequently to see whether your blog has been updated, and if you link to your primary site from your blog, your site’s pages will start coming up for Web searches. You’ll get the attention you want without exorbitant cost. Blogging is a simple way for small businesses to compete online.
Laser-focusing your blog: what will you blog about?
Your first step in developing a blog is to create a focus for your blog: the blog’s central idea. Start by thinking about your audience and what they want to know about your business and industry. Take a big-picture view. Look on your blog as a way to be loud and proud about your industry.
For example, the Stormhoek wine company blogs about its wines. Thanks to their blog, they’ve increased wine sales five-fold in two years. Stormhoek understood that few people know anything at all about wine, and took the opportunity to educate consumers. Telling people about specific Stormhoek wine increases the chance that the blog’s readers will go and buy a few bottles so they can sound knowledgeable at their next dinner party. It works.
Whatever your business sells, you can make your products and services the focus of your blog. People use the Web to find information – all you need to do is provide it.
Perhaps your competitors have beaten you to the punch and are already doing it. Do an online search and visit your competitors’ sites. Are they blogging? Read their blogs.
Blogging is not about direct sales – it’s about attention and trust
Blogs are most successful when they’re conversational and informative. They’re not about direct sales. You blog to gain the attention and the trust of your target market. Blogging is a way of differentiating your business both online and offline.
Once you decided on your blog’s focus, the next step is to find a blogger who’ll update the blog frequently – say a couple of times a week. In a small business, the business owner usually becomes the designated blogger, since they know most about the business, but it can be anyone in the business who’s enthusiastic about the industry you’re in, the business itself, and about blogging.