Post by Monica Flores, contributing Women On Business writer
For businesswomen, the question of, "Should I start a blog?" is a big one. Have you thought about it yet? I think the question of, "Can you afford to blog?" is actually, "Can you afford not to blog?"
My big picture perspective on business-related blogging is that implementing, maintaining, and communicating via your blog serves as an effective and easy marketing tool. Smart women in business take advantage of every opportunity to market their business efficiently, and a blog is an excellent, low-cost, and straightforward way to do so.
Typically, the informal nature of the blog acts as an extension of your more cut-and-dried marketing materials such as presentation folders, trifold brochures, and information packets. A blog provides your potential and current customers a "feel" of what it is like to work with you, especially if you share your process, decision-making, or more "behind-the-scenes" information. When you regularly update your blog, your web visitors get a better sense of what drives you and your business– they get a good sense of what to expect when working with you.
One of my clients asked me recently if I thought a blog would be a good idea for her business, a consulting team-building organization which has been going strong with minimal advertising for almost ten years. I said yes. I think that a services-related business can benefit from blog postings that cover topics like: a focus on specific company projects, trends in the industry, a who’s who of people in the field, event announcements, commentary and analysis on newsworthy events. A product-oriented business can blog about specific products, their customers, innovative uses, and new product development.
If you’re looking just at the numbers aspect: consider that each separate page posted via the blog adds yet another page to the search engine listings. If you keep your blog "on-topic" and always mention the key phrases that define your business, you have unlimited potential to use your blog to demonstrate your company’s expertise, knowledge and skills. Wouldn’t you like an additional 20, 50, or 1000 search engine pages that reference your company?
Who can blog?
Almost any business can be blogged. For my web development business clients, we always encourage them to implement a blog, but most will only commit to it if they feel like they can maintain it. A blog is a good idea, but it’s only a good idea if your company takes the lead in actually publishing new content to the blog on a regular basis. If no one is ready, delay the blog until you have fresh page content available.
If you personally are not able to blog, think about if you can find someone with an authentic, authoritative voice who will write for your company blog. Alternatively, you might want to offer a multi-author blog, to which your staff or board members may contribute.
What are examples of business blogs?
A jewelry company may blog about: the origin of their gems, stories from weddings or other memorable moments, what geological forces go into creating jewels, how silver or gold is extracted and processed, samples of innovative designs, and a listing of birthstones and months.
An auto repair company may blog about: different makes and models, common customer issues, "ask the expert a question", domestic cars vs. foreign imports, trends in ‘greening’ the industry, overviews of different parts of the car (transmission, brakes, clutch, tires), and opinions on the future of oil.
A catering company may blog about: recipes, family farms, types of place settings, stories from events, ingredient and supplies sourcing, how nonprofits can make the most of their annual event, and seasonal changes in food.
And on and on. Need more ideas? Ask a question in the comments section, and I’m happy to help you brainstorm.
In general, you will use your business blog to share more information about your industry and your specific place as a provider within your field. A potential customer doing research on the web wants to know exactly what to expect when they purchase from you. Your blog is a great way to enhance your web visitors’ experience of your company and to give them more insight into what it’s *really* like at your business. So, to answer the question of "should I start a blog?" my response is that you plan your approach very thoroughly, and then say: YES!
You can purchase Monica’s book "Fifty-one Ways to Build your Community of Clients Online" at Amazon.com.