If it wasn't before, blogging is certainly the "it" marketing vehicle of the moment.
A study of more than 3,000 marketers done by Social Media Examiner last year showed 68 percent of small businesses use blog posts already as part of their social-media strategy. After all, if you're going to be tweeting and updating your status on LinkedIn and all, it's helpful if you can link back to some tasty piece of content on your site. Blogging makes that easy to do.
But that doesn't mean blogging is right for your small business, as the blog Reputation Capital pointed out earlier this week. Here are a few reasons you might want to hold off on blogging at your business:
- No one has time. Be honest with yourself about whether you could spare at least two or three hours a week to write. If no one at the business can do it, consider hiring a professional writer -- the study found 10 percent of small business owners hired this task out. Without somebody committed to posting, you'll end up with a dusty blog that hasn't been updated in six months, which makes a worse impression than if you never blogged at all.
- You don't know what to say. Develop a calendar of at least four post ideas each month, month after month -- and they shouldn't be product releases.
- You don't have a realistic goal. What are you hoping the blog will do? You likely won't boost sales, as less than half of business bloggers said their blog achieved that goal. By contrast, 88 percent said it generated great exposure for their brand.
- You're not careful. Nothing erodes a company's credibility faster than a sloppy, typo-filled blog post.
- You haven't established your tone. Successful blogging businesses have an online writing style that's consistent and makes visitors feel comfortable. Another benefit: if you can establish a company-wide writing style, more than one person can post.
- You don't use social media. Many people think you write a blog post and -- presto -- thousands of people will stampede to your site. But blogging doesn't work like that. After you write it, someone has to promote that post online. This is where social-media skills come in.
- You think it's about you. Blogs are a powerful tool for getting to know your customers and building relationships with them.
- You don't trust your bloggers. If you're delegating blogging, you need to give that person the authority to represent your brand online. Otherwise, it'll be rounds of editing by committee, resulting in junk posts.
- You want to close the comments. Many businesses are afraid of what their customers might say on their blog. But blogs are all about engagement, so you need to be willing to take reader feedback.
- You're not willing to invest in design. Your company blog needs to look clean and inviting, so that readers want to stick around and it's clear what you want them to do next (usually, subscribe).
What are your best tips for managing your business's blog? Let us know in the comments section.