It’s been said many times by just about every social media guru out there. Even if you use only one form of social media, let it be a company blog. Launching and maintaining a blog is especially important for you if you’re a small-business owner, because you’re trying to build awareness for your company and you’re trying to create a deeper connection with current and potential customers.
What’s the purpose of a blog?
The first step in creating a blog is to establish a purpose for your blog and identify what you hope to achieve with it.
Ask yourself these questions to help draw out your purpose:
• Will your blog simply be a place to keep customers in the loop regarding upcoming in-store events?
• Will it establish credibility in your corner of the market?
• Will it be a platform to keep your readers informed not only about your company but also your industry?
• Will it be a two-way feedback-and-communication tool? If you ask for feedback, will you be able to implement customer suggestions?
It’s important that you establish the purpose of your blog to keep it on track, and that you incorporate some level of strategy on how it’s formatted, what content you’ll use, and how often your blog will be updated. Ask yourself these questions before you begin drafting your introductory post.
How will your blog look and feel?
When it comes to design, you don’t need an elaborate blog. Certainly, it should be clean, consistently formatted, and easy to navigate. If you don’t have access to an incredibly skilled designer, don’t worry. The personality and tone of your blog can be easily established with your content. Bells and whistles don’t make the blog—content does.
The nice thing about a blog is that it’s an informal space designed to establish a connection with your readers. Generally speaking, a blog is a place to showcase your unique perspective, position your business as an authority, and color your brand with some personality. This applies whether you’re a brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shop, franchise owner, multilocation chain store, or a home-based service provider. The ultimate characteristic of a good blog is content that is authentic, consistently fresh, and contains value-rich information that will genuinely help readers.
Just because you can, does that mean you should?
There are lots of benefits to launching a blog, including generating valuable customer feedback, establishing an informal “no pressure” line of direct communication, enhancing search-engine optimization (search engines love link-heavy blogs), and the ability to share news on the fly.
Your business blog connects you to your customers. Really, it just boils down to whether you’re a good blogger candidate or not. Blogs take a lot of nurturing and attention if they’re going to be successful. Take a look below to see where you factor on the list, and take a moment before diving in to assess your level of preparedness:
You should launch a blog if:
• You want to drive traffic to your website.
• You sell products or services.
• You have knowledgeable staff members (or other contributors) who can write blog posts.
• You can carve out at least 30 minutes at least two or three times per week to keep your blog consistently fresh.
• You genuinely want to break down the barrier between your customers and your business.
• You genuinely want to provide information that will educate your customers.
• You have a desire to create more transparency in the merchant/customer relationship.
• You’re ready to not only talk, but also listen to what your customers have to say—this one is a win-win when done well.
• You have news to share, and you don’t want to rely solely on the media or your other marketing practices to share that news.
• You can keep up with the industry pulse, meaning your entries will be relevant, top-of-mind, and valuable to your readers.
You should not launch a blog if:
• You’re already stretched for time and have no one else to pitch in with ideas and entries.
• Nothing is more frightening to you than the thought of penning your own entries.
• You tend to drop new activities soon after starting.
• You’re likely to consistently push blog writing to the bottom of your to-do list.
Maintaining a blog has to be a priority. Please keep in mind that this list only touches the surface, but most of the important factors have been mentioned.