Everywhere you look, you see blogs. Cooks, parents, fitness buffs all have blogs. Many businesses have blogs too. Some are updated daily, others… not so much. Should you join the herd and create (and maintain!!) a blog for your small business?
Well, that depends on what you want to do, and how much time you’re willing to devote to it.
You SHOULD write a blog for your small business if...
1. You want to establish yourself as an expert.
Blogging well about your business can establish you as an expert. Potential clients learn to trust that expertise and feel comfortable about doing business with you. Blogging to show your expertise is especially useful if you’re just starting out, and you don’t have a lot of experience or client testimonials to show your authority.
2. You want to make your business more approachable.
When you blog, you can create a voice for your company: formal, reassuring, snarky. The voice you create, which should be similar to your true personality, will attract people who enjoy that voice and want to read more of it. The topics you choose to blog about help make you and your business more approachable and relate-able to potential clients.
3. You want to drive traffic to your website.
Every time you create another blog post, you create another page web crawlers can index, which provides just a little bit more of… you. You on the web for potential clients to find. Every blog post is another opportunity for clients to share your work on social media. Every blog post is another opportunity to use good keywords (SEO), and every good keyword is another opportunity to raise your website higher in the search rankings.
4. You want to create a community.
When you create a blog, you have the opportunity to ask questions, offer advice, and make connections. Allow comments on your blog, and RESPOND TO EACH ONE. If your blog is welcoming and useful and entertaining, a community will (eventually) form. And once you have a community, you have an audience to bounce ideas off of, and to learn from, to continue to target your offerings.
5. You have a limited budget, but a lot of time.
Many other blogs will tell you that writing a blog is a cost-effective way to generate interest in you and your product or service. And it is. COST-effective. As Robert Heinlein said, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” You will pay for what you want and need with your money, or your time, or your frustration. (Or some hellish combination of all three.) If you have time, but limited finances, and the blogging process isn’t overly frustrating for you, then blogging is a cost-effective way to generate interest.
6. You want to write content once, but generate potential leads forever.
Or for as long as you pay your Internet host provider. Content you put on the web never ever goes away (ever!), and it is always search-able. If you write excellent content with good keywords that serves one of the needs of your clients, that content will work for you every day it is online.
You should NOT write a blog for your small business if...
1. You hate writing.
If you hate writing, it will show up in your blog. You will struggle to find ideas, you will struggle with the words, you will struggle with your deadlines, and you will eventually stop posting.
An abandoned blog is worse than no blog at all. Potential clients can see you haven’t posted for months, and they’re left to wonder why. Are you still in business? Can you be trusted to meet their deadlines?
If you hate writing, don’t agree—even with yourself—to write a blog.
2. You don't know your voice.
You must know your company’s voice, and communicate in that voice, to attract the clients and customers you most want to work with. If you like nice clients, but you write with a snarky voice, you will attract snarky clients. Is your voice formal and conservative? Snarky? Witty? Reassuring? Until you know, don’t start writing a blog.
3. You don't know your audience.
Who is your ideal client? How does that person make a decision? What does that person value? If you don’t know your ideal clients, you won’t be able to target your writing to attract them. Do some brainstorming; don’t start writing a blog.
4. You don't have a strong passion.
Let’s face it: sometimes a job is just a job. That’s OK. We’ve all been there. But if you aren’t wildly passionate about what you’re doing, if you aren’t at risk of overwhelming someone when they ask what you do, you’re probably not passionate enough to write a blog. That apathy will come through to your clients, and it will make them wonder why they should work with you. No blog is better than an apathetic blog.
5. You are not committed, or don't have time, to post CONSISTENTLY.
It takes TIME to create a blog post. You must research and write content. If you are creating a tutorial, you may need to buy supplies or set up video or camera shots. You need time to revise your content to ensure you have killer headlines, subheads, and good keywords (for SEO). You need time to edit your content to ensure correct spelling and grammar. You may even need time to take photos or search for the perfect (or good-enough) image online to highlight your brilliant content.
This isn’t a trivial amount of work, and it takes real time. Time that must be scheduled and honored.
If you can’t shake out an hour or more a week to create blog posts, don’t start a blog. Seriously, no blog is better than an abandoned blog. Clients can easily see you last posted in October of the previous year, but they’re less likely to notice something that isn’t there at all.
6. You don't have a business website, or your business website isn't designed to convert a reader to a buyer.
If your website doesn’t exist, you can’t ask readers to DO anything that may lead to a sale. If you do have a website, but it doesn’t have anything set up for readers to DO, such as sign up for a newsletter, book an initial consultation, or buy something, then driving traffic to your website with a blog is a waste of time. Save blogging for after your website is ready.
7. You really, truly, hate writing.
I can’t stress this enough. If you really, truly hate writing, get out of the blog business. There are other ways to reap the benefits of blogging without the slog of writing. Create stick-figure graphics. Create videos. Create infographics. Curate links your clients will love (but do include a brief comment about what you found valuable, or just plain wrong, with that link).
Or, if you really, truly, want a blog, pay with your money, instead of your time and frustration. Hire a virtual assistant, social media marketing manager, writer, or editor to be the voice of your company.
So, there you have it. 6 reasons to write a blog for your small business, and 7 reasons not to. To help with whatever you decide, next week I’ll talk about what you can actually write about for your small business blog. And, I’ll add a page of resources for a few people I know and trust who can write your posts for you.
If you know what you’d like to do, I’d love to hear it in the comments!
I'm Val Serdy, and I'm an editor. I love writing, and I love writing about writing.