There is overwhelming evidence that those businesses that keep regularly updated blogs are more often found by prospects using a Google or Bing search. In addition, businesses that offer a blog will also have larger networks of contacts on other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook – leading to even more opportunities. So what is stopping you writing a blog? Let’s look at some of the reasons and see if we can remove the barriers one by one…
Blogs are for other people – Not for my business
Businesses of all types have found that blogs will help them further their cause, whether they are not-for-profit organisations, huge multinational firms or one man bands. This two way interaction eventually leads to opportunities for those who stick at it.
I just do not see the point of blogging – Where is the return?
The first thing to understand is that search engines like Google and Bing love blogs. Indeed search engines like all forms social media because people update their status regularly. To a Search Engine, they have “recency” – which is good. In addition, blogs have a space for comments from other people and Google and Bing like this too. It indicates that the post is recognised and even valued by real people – it has “citation”. This is even better!
Above all, if you are writing about interesting or valuable aspects of your business or industry, even without trying, you are likely to end up using words and phrases that a prospect searching for your business would use – it has keywords. And the search engines really like this. In short, if you want your business to get found, a blog is an easy (and cheap) way to start.
I don’t know what to write in a blog
The best way to get started in blogging simply type some words into Google Blogs www.google.com/blogsearch that your customers might choose to search for you. Then you can read the blogs to get an idea of what the competition is up to.
As for not knowing what to write in a blog, the golden rule is to “know your customers” – or better, your various customer types. It is taken for granted (I hope) that you know about your business, but start by writing about your customer problems and how to solve them – and you will be on the right track.
I can’t write
I occasionally meet business owners who tell me that they have not actually read a book, let alone written a more than a few notes since leaving school – yet they are running very successful businesses. While it is true that not everyone in business can write a prize winning novel, I am of the firm belief that anyone can create a business blog that is good enough to ensure that a rather dumb search engine will at least find it. Persuading humans to comment and link to it requires a step-up in quality, but the ability to write is not the real barrier. What is actually required is a deep passion for your subject (your business or industry) and a desire to put this across. I find that readers are pretty tolerant of the occasional spelling or grammar “misteak” – providing the content is good. (That is, valuable and relevant to your audience). Of course, better writing will yield better results, but that’s a subject for another day.
I am too shy to write a blog – my customers or friends will laugh at me if I make a mistake
Most successful business owners are just huge egos with arms and legs sticking out. They have thick skins and are usually not slow to start. You would not say they were shy and yet… the one thing guaranteed to have them shaking in their boots is the possibility of public ridicule. However, I can assure you that, on the whole, your prospects, customers and even competitors will applaud you for your efforts – provided you have something worthwhile to say. While occasionally you will get daft and irrelevant comments, show the world you do know your stuff and take that first step.
I am too busy to write a blog. I don’t have time to write a blog
Some business owners tell me they are too busy to write a blog – they are too busy earning a living! While most business blogs (like this one) are written in “school long form” fashion, there are many tools that allow a business owner to reduce the amount of text required to make an impact with search engines (and prospects) or even avoid writing text entirely. For example, Twitter is a form of micro blog and only requires that you string a sentence together. And podcasting (audio recording), means you can just record conversation. Another social network called Tumblr is mostly an image (photo) based blog. You just need to add some basic commentary to your photos. Of course, in this case you have to be careful about at least “tagging” or labelling images with keywords that Google or Bing will understand.
But if you are too busy to even do a bit of Twitter, then the very least you can do is find the relevant blogs in your industry and to start making comments on other people’s blogs. This has a two fold benefit:
- It gets you used to writing something – anything at first – but do try and add value if you can!
- Blog comments are recognised by search engines and if you include a link to your business- it can help get your business found.
A neglected blog is worse than no blog at all
I can think of only one legitimate reason for not writing a blog – and that is you don’t have the stamina or commitment. A neglected blog with proverbial tumbleweed is worse than no blog at all. So if you really are too busy to start (and continue with) your own blog, you can always brief someone else or an agency to do it for you. Although do weigh up the pros and cons as there are so many benefits to writing your own blog. Not least that it kind of forces you to understand your market and customer needs and then to engage with prospects and clients. And maybe that it the best reason of all to start a blog?