I find myself having more and more frequent conversations with other small business executives regarding the topic of blogging. In these discussions, I’ve learned that there are a similar set of concerns and questions amongst these executives.
I thought I’d try and capture some of the most common patterns and share them with you.
- Isn’t blogging just for teenagers and tech pundits? Not anymore. When blogging first became popular, it was often more like a personal diary on the web (the word blog itself is a concatenation of “web log” – a log you keep of your life on the web). This is no longer the case. All types of people blog now for all types of motives. The whole area of business blogging (the focus of this article) is continuing to gain traction. More and more savvy small businesses are catching on to the value of blogging.
- What if I don’t care about driving more traffic to my website? Just like attending tradeshows are not just about handing out more business cards, blogging is about more than just driving traffic to your website. Blogging is about creating awareness for your offering and sharing what makes you unique. The idea is not just to drive more random traffic, but to increase the number of right prospective clients that find and select you. Blogging is a great way to increase the number of potential sales opportunities to grow your revenues.
- What if I already have enough clients? I hear this all the time, particularly from professional firms (lawyers, consultants ,etc.). With these types of small businesses, the revenue is often a function of the number of partners and they often have more than enough business already. Even in this case, I would argue that blogging creates value. The reason is that you currently may be taking on clients that are convenient instead of optimal . Convenient clients are those that just fall into your lap because it’s a friend of a friend or a referral from an existing client. You didn’t have to do much to “acquire” the client The optimal client is one that your offering is perfect for. This is the client that needs exactly what you offer and will place value on why you are different. If blogging can increase the quality of your client-base (even if you don’t want to increase the quantity). Increasing the quality of your client-base improves the quality of your business. Optimal clients stay longer, generate more revenues for you and tend to refer other optimal clients.
- How often do I need to blog? I’ll let you in on a secret. Though it is always helpful to blog consistently and frequently (that drives the most value), you can get a significant amount of value by writing just a few articles (lets say 4 or 5) and then not blogging again for a while. Here’s what I would suggest: Start by writing just an article or two that is a personal and authentic message about what makes you different. What you are passionate about. Pretend as if you are writing directly to your potential optimal customers that are out there reading your content. What you will find is that just a few blog articles on your website that convey the right message will improve the rate at which you can acquire the right types of clients and generate more sales and revenue.
- Example: Lets say you are a law firm and have over the past several years really done some exceptional work around patent law for biotech startup firms. Chances are, your website will have some generic statement trying to convey that you’re a “highly specialized patent law firm that has done recent work in biotech”. (Actually, chances are, your website hasn’t been updated in months and may not even say this much). In any case, now imagine a potential new client coming to the firm’s website. How likely is it that this potential new client (who would be just perfect for you) will understand how deep your knowledge in this space is? Do they know that you are perfect for them? Probably not. Now, if you had just two blog articles on your firm’s blog that talked about the two most recent engagements you had, the odds increase significantly. The two articles can describe the type of work you did, what some of the challenges were and the parts that you enjoyed the most. Even if you never wrote another article for the blog, just these two articles would close more business for your firm.
- I’m already insanely busy, when will I find the time? First off, as noted above, there’s no rule that says you have to post every day (or even every week) to your blog. You can find a pace that works for you. Also, chances are, you’re already generating content that could easily be repurposed for a blog. For example, we have a new client that is coming on board HubSpot that was already writing a newsletter. The articles for this newsletter are perfect for posting on their blog. Same time investment, multiple channels of value. Don’t let the time investment scare you off. Just try it. Right just a few articles and see what happens.
I think too many small business executives are continuing to rely on just their Rolodex (i.e. their existing network) to drive new business. A business blog is a great way to start expanding that network, generating more prospective clients and improving the overall quality of your business.
So, what have I missed? What other concerns or questions are keeping you from kicking off a blog for your business?
In future articles, I’ll talk more about the how to (and how not to) aspects of business blogging.