For some small businesses, blogs provide a perfect tool for interfacing with existing customers and attracting new clientele. But before you can decide whether or not a blog is right for you, you need to know the benefits and potential pitfalls you may encounter in the brave, new world of blogging.
For starters, you need to know what a blog is. The term "blog" is an abbreviation of the phrase "web log" - an online journal. "Bloggers" frequently update their blog with comments, suggestions, and ideas in a short essay format. It's also common for blogs to include links to other relevant material as well as a comment section for readers. Businesses have found blogging to be a useful resource for everyday business needs. From customer support to new product updates (and everything in between), blogs are rapidly becoming a one-stop solution for a lot of small business issues.
The Benefits of Business Blogging
One of the biggest advantages of blogging is its conversational tone. Unlike a newsletter, a blog gives your customers the sense that they are engaged in an informal conversation with you - the business owner. They can even provide feedback by posting comments. The blog's personal quality quickly builds trust between you and your customers, and your bottom line reaps the reward.
Since blogs are updated on a weekly or even daily basis, you also have the ability to provide your customers with current information about your products and services. Do it right, and your customers will make your website a regular stop on their internet surfing circuit. For example, let's say you own an antique shop. By working information about new inventory into your blog, you can create a scenario in which your customers regularly check in to see if you have recent acquisitions that interest them.
The Pitfalls of Business Blogging
Blogging is not entirely a bed of roses, however. The most difficult part of starting a business blog is keeping it current. Consider the pile of work that is on your desk right now and add to that the burden of updating your blog with new content every week, maybe even every day. For a more accurate picture, you also need to figure in responses to the e-mails and comments the blog generates.
Are you capable of keeping up with all of that? If so, then you should seriously consider adding a blog to your online marketing program. But if you can't keep your blog current, don't even start one - the outdated content will do more harm than good.
If your market is primarily local, a blog might not be a great idea. You could find yourself investing hours of time in a blog that is ultimately only read by a handful of local readers. You could try to expand your readership, but in the end you'll probably be disappointed and the blog will prove to be a colossal waste of time.