To blog or not to blog, that is the question.
One thing I keep getting asked by small business owners is whether they should be blogging or not, and if so, what on Earth about?!
It does feel like every business (large or small) has a blog nowadays, so I totally understand the growing pressure and Fear Of Missing Out with this marketing activity.
Despite the fact that I spend most of my week writing blog posts for various spots around the web, I'm surprisingly unbiased. I always try and be realistic about 'this whole blogging thing', and try to advise people on what they really need.
Cons of blogging
Pros of blogging
- It takes time to write
First you need to brainstorm ideas of what to write, then you need to plan it, write it, format it add imagery to it etc. All of this can take hours a week depending on your schedule.
- It takes time to promote
Even once you've finished your blog post, your work isn't done. You have to promote it so that people read it, which means social media scheduling, sending it to your email list and more.
- It won't benefit everyone
You could end up spending all that time mentioned above on blogging and find that it's not beneficial to your business at all!
- Show your expertise
Having a blog allows you to show off your knowledge by writing about your industry
- Add personality
Have your customers get to know you a little better by injecting your brand voice and personal elements such as a look behind the scenes or information about you as a person.
- Increase website traffic
If you're promoting your blog posts right, there are going to be hundreds more places online for customers to find you through blog post links.
- Benefit SEO
I'm not an SEO expert, but what I do know is active websites (that regularly publish content, say, on a blog) are highly ranked websites.
When you might want a blog
You might want to consider blogging for your business if:
- Your business has regular changes/launches
If you've got a lot of news and updates to share with your customers, then you probably need a blog to get the info out there without having to email people every other day.
- Your business involves expertise that your customers may find interesting/useful
Or if you have that expertise. I write about marketing because my target customers are small businesses who would find that useful. If you own a doggy day care centre (shh, I like dogs okay), you could write about dog training and health as that's something your customers are going to find interesting!
- Your brand is very personal
If your business has a big personality, or focuses on personal connection with customers, a blog is the perfect way to let that unique personality stand out!
What to blog about
There are a million and one articles across the internet about this topic, and probably hundreds of books too. But here are some basic ideas:
- Behind the scenes look at the process/the product/the location/the team
- The story of how your business began
- News/updates/launches within your business
- Different uses for your product
- Though pieces on industry news/trends
- A 'transparent pricing' blog post
- Describing your process(es)
- A 'why you need [INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE HERE]' post
- Local event, or exhibition, attendance heads up + round up
- An 'experience' blog post ('what we learned from...')
How often should I blog?
Creating a blogging schedule that works for you and your business is really important. If you start to grow a following on your blog, people will appreciate consistent, regular content, so you don't want to start out with a schedule that you can't live up to.
I blog here once per week, mainly because I don't have time to do more than that, and also because I'd rather publish one great, content-rich post per week than three mediocre ones.
I'd recommend starting out with one per week, and see how it goes; you can always ramp up or down once you know how long each post is going to take you.
If your articles are super-indepth, long form and are taking you a day to write, there is nothing wrong with aiming for twice a month. Once people see the value you're delivering in each of your posts, they'll look forward to your bi-monthly publish, and you may find you get more engagement.
If you're struggling to get two blog posts out per month, you may want to reconsider whether blogging is worth it to you. It's obviously taking a lot of effort out of you to do it, and with less than two posts per month it will be hard for you to see any results.
What if i don't blog?
There are other ways to get your awesome brand and personality 'out there', by the way. One thing I always recommend to product businesses & photographers is Instagram, because it's so visual AND you can use it to 'micro-blog' (by which I mean writing a long, interesting and attention-grabbing description for your photos).
Equally, you can 'micro-blog' on Facebook, as the word-limit is so huge! Try things out and do what suits you best.
At the end of the day, I'd say if you're incredibly busy, don't start a blog. It is very time-consuming and you will just start to resent 'having' to do it each week (or however often). On the other hand, if you have some free time (or have an assistant/staff member who is interested in helping), you may find it can be extremely valuable for your business.