To Blog or Not to Blog – that’s the question

                   comic from blaugh.com

I had a great discussion this morning with an entrepreneur that’s still in the start-up phase for her new business.  We talked about what her approach is, how she’s going to be different than the competition and ultimately where she wants to go with her business.

She’s in a very conservative / old-fashioned industry that isn’t doing much with websites so one way she’s looking to stand out is to incorporate social media into her marketing mix…and she’s also planning on starting a blog…maybe.

A lot of what we talked about was whether a blog made sense, what she might blog about, how to make it work, etc.

The case for Blogging for your Business

Blogging isn’t a cure-all, but it can be a powerful marketing and customer service tool that allows your prospects and clients to have a direct line into who you are and what you do.

There are several different ways to use a blog to help with your marketing and customer service efforts – here are just a few thoughts:

  1. Blogs are great for telling stories and sharing case studies about your clients – this becomes a great way to illustrate the overt benefits your clients could expect from you.
  2. A blog is a great way to establish yourself as an expert – you know a lot more about your industry and customer problems than anyone else, share that knowledge and set yourself apart
  3. Your blog can be a platform that allows you to share what’s really going on in your industry or even within your company – a great opportunity to present without a media filter or press release.
  4. A blog can be a great tool to educate your current customers on what you’re doing as a company and the best ways to work with you
  5. A blog can be a great way to get feedback and ideas from your customers – what they want, what they don’t like…make them part of the process!

Blogging is essentially free (someone has to take the time to write it, but there generally aren’t hard dollar costs).

Blogging doesn’t require any deep skills – if you’re interested and passionate about what you’re doing you can write a worthwhile blog.  You will get better over time.

The case against Blogging for your Business

There aren’t a lot of great reasons to not blog – it will take time and commitment – if you think you can’t stick with it on a regular basis, then you’re better off not getting started.

Time – it’s perfectly fine to only post once or twice a week – or to share the burden across multiple people if your company is big enough.  (You could also consider getting some writing help if you really don’t have time!)

Commitment – you need to commit to marketing activities to succeed in the long run anyway, blogging will just become a more visible commitment than most.  Once it becomes part of your routine it’s not that big of a deal.

Technology expertise – the initial setup of most blogging software can be daunting and probably outside the capabilities of a lot of people, but once you’re set up it’s really not any more difficult than writing something in Word.

If you’re looking for some help on how to get started and some helpful resource guides – check out FirstSiteGuide.com as a possible starting point.

Should you Blog for your Business?

As mentioned earlier, blogs aren’t going to be a cure-all for your marketing, but a good blog can become the foundation for a lot of other marketing efforts and a place to send people that want to learn more about you.

However there are a lot of things to keep in mind – here’s an article about 10 Harsh Truths about Corporate Blogging that does a nice job on what to expect and what not to do to create a successful corporate blog.  It will take a long time for your blog to really take off (think a year or two) and it will open you up to comments and inspection from your competition – but in the long run that’s a big part of what will set you apart from your competition.

If you’re like most small business owners, your competitors aren’t blogging (and probably aren’t even looking forward) – this is great opportunity to set yourself apart and get ahead of the curve.

Should you blog for your business?  I say absolutely – but if you’re like most business owners you’ll find all sorts of reasons not to!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on blogging for business and any examples of where it’s working really well.  Share your comments below.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

5 thoughts on “To Blog or Not to Blog – that’s the question”

  1. davidsoxman says:

    Shawn raises some great points here. I think the key is to enjoy writing blogs. If you don't enjoy it and it becomes a chore, you'll likely get tired of it and quit.

  2. skinkade says:

    David,

    You bring up a great point that I should have emphasized – a big part of successfully blogging (and being able to commit and do it for a long time) is personally being excited about doing it, learning new ways to communicate and constantly trying to improve. Without that, you're not going to last very long.

    Shawn

  3. mycaddy says:

    Although I agree with your statement that blogging doesn't require deep skills, I think people who can't communicate well really shouldn't be blogging. There are tons of business blogs where its all about every promotion the biz has, no matter how much its disguised. And some people, in fact, most people, really just can't write well.

  4. mycaddy says:

    I agree with your statement that blogging doesn't require any “deep skills” but at the same time, if you want it to be effective blogging, I think it does.

    A lot of businesses shoot themselves in the foot with their blogs becoming nothing more than one long advert and promo. And many don't know how to write well. Most people can write, but let's face it, very few can write well. And blogging may not require good writing- but it certainly requires clear communication, especially if you're representing a business.

  5. skinkade says:

    Being an effective writer certainly helps, but my experience is that anyone that works at it (studies a bit, and more importantly practices regularly) can become a better writer and move into the acceptable range or better.

    The communication piece is where a lot of people fall down – I think sometimes people are afraid of transparency and want to present more than they are and other people just don't value communication so they aren't likely to make it much of a focus in their blog or otherwise. If they can't get past that, then they shouldn't be blogging (and they likely won't be able to stay in business in the long run…).

    Thanks for the comments.

    Shawn

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