A blog is one of the simplest and most effective vehicles for small businesses to deliver compelling, engaging content to prospects and existing customers. Yet, several times a week I find myself talking to prospects who wonder how to get their business’ message out, but who have no blog.
The list of excuses they give runs longer than the ingredient label for Doritos, so I’ll spare you the pain. In a nutshell, there are no sufficient excuses for (most) small businesses to eschew blogs.
Creating A Badass Blog For Your Small Business
So you can imagine my elation upon learning of the new ebook Blogging For Badass Small Businesses. Written by Shawn Graham, a small business strategist and consultant with expertise in the areas of media relations, business development, customer engagement, web marketing and strategic planning, the book makes plain how valuable blogging is for small businesses, then breaks down for business owners how they can blog successfully.
It’s an easy read, but one that is packed with immediately useful information. As I read it, I highlighted some of the points that really hit home as relevant for small business owners who either (a) have yet to blog or (b) lack a full understanding and appreciation of the value of blogging.
1. “Creating a badass blog requires more than writing 450-700 words on a particular topic—anyone can do that. For your blog to be truly badass, you’re going to need a clearly defined strategy, a unique voice that will draw your readers in, the right bells and whistles that will allow your readers to find what they’re looking for as quickly and easily as possible, and the dedication to create fresh content on a regular basis.”
2. “Having a direct connection to your customer base gives you a powerful platform for holding informal, impromptu focus groups. You can use your blog to share new ideas and gather feedback from your customers before you actually go to market, helping you to avoid unforeseen and costly hiccups.”
3. “You can write the best content, but ultimately if your phone doesn’t ring, it’s not going to be the best use of your time.”
4. “Although grammar is obviously important, your voice is less about prepositions, transitive verbs, and run-on sentences and more about having your content jump off the screen so your reader feels as though he or she is actually having a conversation with you.”
5. “Having clearly defined content categories not only increases the likelihood that your blog posts will stay on message, if you include them in your blog’s navigation it will also make your posts a whole lot easier to navigate for your audience. And that means they’re more likely to spend more time on your site, read more of your posts, and make a purchase.”
6. “[If] you want your blog to be truly badass you have to use images that reflect your unique style … When you include the right images, they instantly help to complement your content. They help to give your posts visual interest, which increases the likelihood that your content will be seen and shared by others.”
7. “There aren’t any magic elixirs. Social media is just the latest evolution in a long line of marketing tools small businesses have at their disposal.”
8. “Analytics and insights are important, but so too are generating leads and selling your products and services.”
9. “You don’t have to try to be all things to all people. Just because it’s free to create a social media profile or because everyone around you thinks it’s going to be the ‘next big thing’ doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good fit for your business.”
10. “Social media is ultimately a platform for establishing individual relationships and creating a dialogue with your customers—and that means you’ve got to do a lot more than just share something on Facebook or tweet about it on Twitter if you want people to read it and/or share it with others.”
11. “Despite what all of the web marketing gurus might tell you, blogging isn’t for everyone. Building a badass small business blog is going to require a lot of time and dedication—not only when you’re first getting started, but also for months and even years to come.”
This book can and will benefit small businesses at all levels, whether you are just starting out or have been in business and blogging for some time. It not only nails the who should be blogging and why; it also shines a bright light onto how blogging benefits businesses and what they can expect when all the pieces come together.
I cannot recommend Blogging For Badass Small Businesses too highly. Get your copy here.