The simple answer is yes — you should blog as part of your small business digital marketing platform. But this is not a simple question for small business owners. Consequently, the answers are many.
Although blogging is a great way to drive traffic to your small business website, there is a right way and a wrong way to blog. At its best, blogging can help increase brand awareness and increase sales/grow your business; but only if visitors linger more than a cursory five or six seconds.
A well-written and thoughtful blog (think topics of interest to your targeted audience) will help build trust with consumers. How do you build trust without looking someone in the eye? Give them information that educates them and leaves them wanting more and give it to them often. A successful blog should be consistent and frequent; some experts believe once a day or at least a few times per week. But once a week is a good rule of thumb for small business owners as long as your business industry doesn’t trend in a negative way. Also, if your business industry trends in a positive way, small business owners should capitalize on the trend.
Simple, right? Wrong. Blogs will drive traffic to your website for only so long. If you fail to meet a consumer’s expectation you will lose not only potential business but credibility with prospects likely to become your brand ambassadors; online followers who will share the content you create on their own social media profiles as well as forward emails to family and friends. They are the equivalent to how small businesses grew by word-of-mouth during much of the 20th century.
Yelp and a variety of travel sites have made a business being “the” place consumers go before they visit a business, locally or out-of-town. Negative reviews can hurt your business. Without an army of people to troll online sites on behalf a small business, some negative comments and reviews are likely to slip through the cracks. That’s why it is so important to drive traffic back to your website and keep the conversation there; negative comments and all. It’s easier to mitigate negative comments on a small business website for the owner. Brand ambassadors are also more likely to chime in with their own experience.
If a small business owner is still not convinced a blog is right for them, it might very well be they are not equipped to do it right. Consequently, they shouldn’t do it themselves but they should look for someone who can help. Remember, good grammar and punctuation count unless you are targeting a younger, edgier audience who only uses slang.
A successful blog doesn’t end with it being published to a small business website. Small business owners should share it across their social media profiles, with family/friends and VIP clients so they can share. The idea is that each share will get another share and so on...
As long as blogging is part of a small business digital marketing platform and all other elements are in place and working, there is no reason a small business cannot successfully grow their business.