Sunday, June 17, 2012

Top 5 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Blog

Social media, and blogs especially, are all the rage when it comes to small businesses. Blogs offer a great forum to interact with customers, gather feedback and understand what customers like and dislike. In addition, there are additional benefits of a small business blog, including proving your value by providing engaging content, driving traffic through that meaty content and learning more than you ever imagined about your customers. Need some more reasons to start a blog? Here you go:

Reason #1 -- Start a Conversation

Having a blog enables you to build a relationship with your customers. The way the blog posts are written (light and fun or serious and formal) and the topics covered will help shape a small business' personality and style. As a small business owner, you will need to determine if you will personally write the blog posts or if you will outsource that work to a freelancer.

Conversations invite feedback from customers, which can be vital for products and services that are offered. Engaging customers is a great way to build loyalty and provide customers with a sense of community.

Reason #2 -- Become an Authority in Your Field

You should be able to provide commentary about newsworthy items relative to your business. Was there a recent news story related to a key product offering? Provide a blog post outlining the small business' view. Giving opinions and comments begins to build a small business owner's authority. Blog posts allow owners to showcase their knowledge and expertise -- a great business builder!

Reason #3 -- Provide Potential (and Current) Customers With a "How-to"

What better way to showcase your knowledge and expertise than with a how-to blog post? Be sure to include photos (a picture is worth a thousand words) and even upload a short video. Customers will appreciate detailed instructions on how to use a product or how to order a service.

Reason #4 -- Tell a Story (With a Happy Ending, Of Course)

Everyone loves a good story, and including a personal story in a blog gives you and your business a personality. How did the business begin? Offer a great customer service story (what better way to highlight the importance of customers).

Reason #5 -- Offer a Product or Service Review

A blog post is a great venue to demonstrate why a product or service offering may be superior. While this isn't the time to bash competitors, it is a great way to highlight key differences and benefits.

You can offer one type of blog or combine all of these to keep your blog posts interesting. Creating an editorial calendar can make the frequency and types of blog posts you create easier to monitor. For example, Mondays may be a product or service review, Wednesdays offer an opinion and Fridays have a how-to blog post. A great tool for creating an editorial calendar is Google Calendar.

You'll want to create a blog that has your business's domain name attached to it. To get started with a small business blog for free (there are costs with a domain name and hosting), check out Wordpress or Blogger. It's that simple!