Here are the other two reasons small businesses need to blog. (Continued from Part 1 on January 10, 2010. You can view Part I below) and a few myths, debunked.
4. It opens a dialogue/engages with your target market- What a better way to get your audience / target market engaged than by writing provocative and thoughtful blogs? You can use your blog to do research even. Ask a question and invite people to comment. Learn about what is missing in your industry or what your readers would like to learn about – and respond to those comments. Voila – you are engaging your audience – you are getting them interested in your subject matter. Even if they don’t post comments, they have clicked on some link somewhere to come to your blog, so you have already engaged them. With an RSS feed on your blog, readers can subscribe, so every time you post something new they automatically get it. This is how you build a following.
5. It broadens your audience. How many new prospects do you talk to on a daily basis? Really? Yes, you may belong to some networking groups; you may even do some cold calling. But what if you could get people to want to come to you? That is what blogging does. Again, writing relevant and helpful content will draw people that you would never be able to reach with your usual sales tactics. The great thing about social media and blogs is that people share them! Yes – if they read something they like, they’ll post it to twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn – or in some cases all three. Think about how that expands your reach and broadens your audience. And the best part – it’s free!!! Yes, you may need to spend an hour or so writing something a couple of times a week – but how many cold calls would you have to make to reach the same number of people you an reach online with great content (potentially thousands in seconds!)
Blogs are for teeny-boppers and diarists: Sure, that may be how they started, but every great idea the concept has expanded and been improved upon. Almost all major companies are writing blogs and using them as a way to reach out to their customers and potential customers in a more casual, fun and educational way than they’ve done with traditional advertising. Because blogs have roots in the teeny-bopper diarist world they allow us to be a little more casual; allowing us to use our own voice. So have fun with it! Find the inner writer in you.
Blogs are just advertisements: Some people thing blogs are all about selling their product or service. And while that may be the ultimate goal, blogs are really about bringing people to you based on content they want to read. No one is going to visit your blog to be sold. But they will come to learn something new or to be reminded of something with a fun and engaging story.
I have a website, a blog is redundant: Absolutely WRONG for all the reasons I gave above. Blogs also allow you to expand on your traditional marketing messaging in your blog, explain things a little more, and tell stories, share experience and expertise. They also allow you to archive and organized content, so content will always be there for your website visitors to access.