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Small business owners are experts on the products they sell or services they provide and increasingly customers want access to the knowledge of experts. Blogging is the perfect way to showcase your skills, build your credibility and give customers what they crave.
However, many small business owners fear blogging for a variety of reasons. Some claim they should not blog because they are not a professional writer, others make the excuse that they don’t have enough time, and others fear they don’t have the money or technical know-how required to blog.
Before I dive into the numerous benefits that blogging provides for small businesses, let’s bust these myths and fears first.
“But I’m not a writer” – Research shows that many customers actually prefer blogs written by normal people, not professional writers. Normal people and small business owners – just like you – often write more informally, and with more personality and humour, than professional writers who can often be too wordy and technical. At the end of the day, people are more interested in your knowledge and thoughts than the quality of your writing. And if quality is still of concern for you there are lots of free grammar and writing style tools e.g. Grammarly can be used to tidy up your thoughts and make them more professional before hitting “publish”.
“But I don’t have time” – Yes, blogging can be time consuming, but it doesn’t have to be, especially in the beginning. Once your blog platform is set up, all you have to do is create a few new posts on a regular basis and respond to comments. The important thing when you’re getting started is just to build confidence and get into the habit of writing. One post a week is fine in the beginning and even if you can only manage one post a month, you will be still be ahead of the thousands of business owners who start a blog with great intentions but let it lapse for months on end without new content. If you find yourself frequently having ten minute conversations with your customers to explain the same product features repeatedly, you may find you actually save yourself time by writing a post with the answers to these frequently asked questions that you can refer customers to.
“But I lack the money and technical skills needed to maintain a blog” – If you think blogging is overly complex, think again. If you already have a website your web designer should be able to add a blog page to your existing website. Although there’s all sorts of fancy design things you can do to your blog that may require specific technical skills, anyone that is comfortable using Microsoft Word and the internet can maintain a basic blog easily.
60% of businesses who blog gain more customeRS
What are the benefits of blogging for small businesses?
1. Boosts SEO
Search engines like Google love new content and reward businesses who frequently generate new content with higher search rankings. For the average small business, your website may not need to be updated regularly, but blogs can be updated as often as you like. So blogging is a great strategy to improve search rankings.
2. Gains new customers
According to a HubSpot survey, 60% of businesses who blog gain more customers. Blogging is also a great way to warm up new leads by giving them more information in an informal way about your brand’s personality, voice, values and your products and services.
3. Showcase your expertise
Customers buy from brands they trust. Demonstrating your knowledge and authority through sharing informative content that provides solutions and advice that customers want is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to build that trust.
4. Free PR
Businesses who blog regularly are sometimes interviewed by journalists who need an industry source for an article they are writing. This can give your business free publicity in newspapers, and on radio and TV.
5. Sharpens your business focus
Thinking of, and creating, regular blog content helps keep marketing at the forefront of your mind. It also reminds you on a regular basis of who you are blogging for and why. This keeps your business focus customer-centric. The more you blog, the more you will get into the habit of thinking up new ideas and researching latest industry trends. This helps you stay ahead of the curve and your competitors.
6. Provides content to share on social media
When you create new blog posts on a regular basis, you will never have to wonder again about what to post on social media. Blog posts are perfect for sharing on social media, and using free tools like Canva, you can quickly create graphics and images with statistics and quotes from your blog posts to share on image-based social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram.
7. Helps you learn more about your audience
Blogging is a way to start a two-way conversation. As you share your thoughts, your audience may leave comments on your posts with their thoughts, opinions and questions related to your posts. This provides useful insights about your customers and is essentially a free way of conducting market research. Ask questions at the end of each blog post to encourage your readers to leave a comment. Make sure to respond to all comments.
8. Provides opportunities to make money or partner with other companies/affiliates
You can even make additional money from blogging! Popular blogs with high traffic may be invited to sell products or services for affiliate partners, or can sell advertising space or guest posting opportunities on their blog. Although this can generate additional income, make sure you only engage in affiliate opportunities or sell advertising or guest blogging rights to businesses or individuals you trust and whose products or services you have personally used and can recommend and that are relevant to your audience. Failure to abide by these rules will do significant harm to your brand, but used wisely it can generate opportunities for useful joint ventures with other companies that will benefit all parties.