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The Absolute, #1 Reason Small Business Owners Should Be Blogging

Poke around the web and you’ll find numerous opinions on why, as a small business owner, you should be blogging.

Some say you should blog to increase your reach. Blogs can certainly help you reach a larger audience faster, and often cheaper, than your usual website. Toss in social media and you can gain a large following quickly. So it’s gotta be reach, right?

It could be. But increasing the reach of your website doesn’t mean you’ll land more clients or get more customers. The blogosphere is full of bloggers who have tons of traffic and are making pennies.

Another oft-quoted reason for blogging is search engine optimization. And it’s true, there are some pretty major SEO benefits to blogging. Blog posts tend to be more keyword centric since often they’re on a specific topic. Then there’s the backlinking opportunities that can come with a well-written blog post. So it’s gotta be the SEO factor, doesn’t it?

Well, maybe. But that’s not what I’m thinking. SEO drives traffic and while traffic is important, getting more traffic doesn’t always mean more sales. It could, but not always.

Then there’s those that say you small business owners should be blogging to grow a community around your business and create brand loyalty. I’ve been someone who’s built my businesses through conversation and relationships, so community is definitely important in building a successful business. And brand loyalty is a plus as well.

But I think that each of these are putting the cart before the horse. I think focusing on reach, traffic and community is useless unless you position yourself effectively in your market.

I’ve worked with hundreds of small and service-oriented business clients over the past thirteen years. Many have had great offers and understood copy writing. They’ve known the importance of keywords and building a following. But what they often lacked was one of the most fundamental aspects of running a business: how they positioned themselves and their offer.

Some think of positioning as just branding. Others see it as image or identity. Neither are wrong. Yet, I define positioning a little differently. I see positioning as what your target audience believes your business provides. In other words, can you clearly illustrate that you have the solution to your target audience’s problem. It’s how you communicate what you do.

But to clearly and successfully communicate what you do, you must have that clarity yourself. And that’s what blogging affords.

When you blog, you write often about your business, your knowledge, and your capabilities. You share stories about how your product or service has been uses by your customers and clients. And you provide valuable proof of the effectiveness of your offer.

Yet you also have the opportunity to let people respond to what your write. They can certainly respond in the comment box. But they also respond through how often they share your posts on Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon. They also respond by how long they stay on the page. And they respond by whether they clicked links in the post or a call-to-action at the end of the post. All of this is feedback on whether people are getting your content or not.

With a blog, you can take this a step further. You can also display your expertise in solving problems your audience face – whether personal or professional. You can offer advice on dealing with circumstances and write specifically to their needs. Then you can watch the response. If it’s positive, you know that you’re communicating well about what you do. And if not, you know that you need a bit of work.

In essence, your blog allows you to find the most effective way to communicate with your audience. It can help you refine how you talk about your products and services so that your readers can clearly understand what your business offers. But more importantly, you can use your blog to display exactly how your offering can help them solve the problems they’re facing.

The bottom line is that before you drive traffic or focus on keywords or even build a community, make sure people know what you do. They won’t buy from you if they’re not clear what you’re about. But once they are, in other words, once you’ve positioned yourself well, then you’ll find that more people will buy from you because you’re talking to the right audience in the way they want to be communicated with.

And needing work is fine. It’s what having a business is all about. You need to allow your business to never be finished – to always be changing.

So small businesses, especially, can use blogging to experiment with how they talk to their audience. With a blog, they can explore different avenues for communicating. But moreover, they can find clarity in their business.

So how are you using your blog to find clarity in yours?

(note:  image from  horizontal.integration on  Flickr,   some rights reserved)

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Comments

  1. Sam @ Webcam Jobs says:

    I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for one of my sites, but never really knew how to approach the whole idea. Thanks for the article, it’s given me a broader way of thinking about making my own blog.

  2. This is a great article Dawud, because it addresses the misleading direction that many bloggers take initially.

    Of course there are a hundred different reasons to blog, and the “right” reason will depend entirely on the author, but ultimately it comes down to this: blogging is the perfect way to show people that you know what the hell you’re doing.

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for this article! I completely agree with what you write. I tried to launch a blog related to my business and I confirm that my customer really appreciate it!
    It is a very good way to get a “trust-relation” and feedback from your visitor.

  4. I just had a conversation about making sure that what you put out there is attracting the right audience today! A blog could be a really great way to show your brand position, but I also think simply the colors you use and the type of graphics, etc. I work with a bunch of guys which would have everything in black grunge cause that is what they like, but really they need to showcase what the clients they want to attract are interested in!

  5. alex jordan says:

    I like the way you outline the process exactly. It makes it easier for even a beginner like me to understand.

  6. Tanner,
    Right on…’know what the hell you’re doing’ and what the hell you’re knowledgeable about.

    Sam,
    You want a blog – really. Doesn’t mean you have to use it in any particular way. As a matter of fact, I don’t even like the term ‘blog.’ I like publishing platform – because that’s what it is. Staying away from the term blog, I feel, also keeps us away from the limited thinking of what/how we publish online.

    Eve,
    Design is important – for sure. And, for me, form follows function – design follows content.

  7. jimmy41687 says:

    well this article is great and thats a nice idea of doing bloging because when other business man visitng some bog they interact each other so i helps them to grow their business.

  8. I would like to say this is the best post for those who are going to start their business but having very less knowledge about how to start.This article gives proper direction to them.Thanks for this awesome article.

  9. Very nice article. To blog is always a good idea for small and new businesses. But in my opinion its much easier to set up a fanpage (i like page) on facebook, where you have even more contact and interatctions with your customer. Maybe the combination is the best way to success!

  10. Ive been asked about blogs by a friend who runs a gardening business – this site is just what he needs to read. Thanks.

  11. Clinical Research says:

    Blogs are really best way to increase your business and even branding of your business. I have seen many local business owners who do have blogs and yes this is sure that they use wordpress.

    Anyhow, many people here have outsources their work to SEO companies still most of them do this on their own and they really find difference with this..

    They don’t sell online but they do this for getting huge exposure for their business..Even according to me this increases reputation of your business as well..

  12. Chat,
    Facebook is great. Right now it’s where the market is so you need to be there. Yet, at least for the foreseeable future, you still need a hub for your business that you have full control over. And that’s a website/blog.

    CJ,
    Thanks. Send him over. And let him know I’m happy to answer any questions for him.

  13. Interesting.. Reading this article I got the idea to make my blog. i have several websites but do not have a blog yet.

  14. I think putting a face, or at least a ‘voice’ to a name can really help connect your potential customers to you and your business. A trust is built, and the likelihood of doing business with that person is increased.

  15. Corporate Level Strategy guy says:

    An advantage of blogs to small business owners is they can get feedback and testimonials from comments posted by prospects and customers on their product sand services to help business to improve. Blogging allows closer interaction between business owners and customers.

  16. Interesting.. Reading this article I got the idea to make my blog. i have several websites but do not have a blog yet.

  17. Good piece Dawud, I like the way you knocked down the different reasons to blog for businesses and then told us what you reckon. Nice use of loop story telling!!

  18. يوتيوب says:

    Good piece Dawud, I like the way you knocked down the different reasons to blog for businesses and then told us what you reckon. Nice use of loop story telling!!

  19. I completely agree with your post Dawud. Even small business owners should cope with the society, especially with the technological advancements. The internet is where a lot of people spend most of their time today. It is actually a good medium to reach your target market and its not as costly as a tv ad.

  20. Thank you for the great advice. Just about to start blogging and knew it was the ‘right’ thing to do but not really sure why. I do now!

  21. Well, a blog is very important for every business, even if it’s a small or big one. In this way you can present your services/products to a large audience. Nice article! I like your blog.

  22. I like how you explained the idea of using a blog to promote your online business. In a way, blogs are like gateways for possible clients to interact with you if they discovered something from your website.

  23. Totally agree with it. Most of the bloggers these days don’t take into account if they are communicating to their audience or they simply want to make a good traffic. It is just like designing. You can communicate with your audience through your designs on what you’re trying to tell them.

  24. I do agree 100%, I even persuade my client on having a blog. I do blog my self but time is always an issue and also imagination.

  25. I absolutely agree with you not only that you can widely spread your business name and products but also you can ask for an exchange link that can further be a success to your company.

  26. Fantastic insight. I love your definition of positioning. Very thought provoking.

  27. This is a good idea that I never thought of. I’m definitely going to start blogging in the future, it seems like a great way of communication with clients and promoting the business.

  28. Of the various uses of a blog, I’ve found the “demonstration of expertise” role to be more effective in my business than I would have expected.

    My original experimentation with blogging was for SEO value and traffic generation. But the most measurable benefit has been from people who’ve discovered me in other ways (heard me speak, saw me on TV, read an article where I was quoted), found me by searching for my name (at least I rank well for that!) and then proceed to read old blog posts.

    More than half the sales calls I have these days involves someone referencing some blog post that really resonated with them for whatever reason.

    In some cases, the post was from 2 years ago.

    The great thing about this strategy is that blogging as a part of an overall marketing mix can be useful for even the smallest of businesses.

    If your prospects are savvy enough to “Google” you or your company, you might as well give them something to read beyond the standard “About Us”.

    A “demonstration of expertise” type blog is ideally suited for that use – even if you’re meeting prospects via in-person networking, client referrals, or many “old school” marketing methods (that all still work I might add!)

  29. I totally agree on your article. In a way blogging really helps a lot when promoting our businesses. Even small business can grow big with promotion on blogging. Great input. Thanks fr sharing

  30. I definitely agree on this. Blogging can really help not even small businesses but also the really big ones. Promoting using blog can surely recognize the products that we sell to the public. Knowing that everybody are into online surfing, instead of personally visiting your business office, it would be convenient for them to check it out online. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts about blogging as one of the most important strategies to advertise our products. :)

  31. Mobility Equipment says:

    Completely agree, business blogging is so important for brands.

  32. That is exactly lots of people blog. In my opinion, blogging is a good way to let others know your business. Of course, we need to learn how to use effective ways to promote our business by blogs.

  33. Me too. Now if you want to get the lead in your business then business blogging can help pretty much as people can visit your blogs to check out what are the updates that are coming or what is going on in your business. It is a nice way to spread your business too.

  34. When making a blog for my business. Should I place it on my business website or on another domain. Im in the cleaning business and was thinking to make a blog about good cleaning advice. Would this be a good idea?

  35. Blogging is great for business. It’s just another way to reach potential consumers.

  36. I was reading about a real estate agent who started blogging about his local market, and he started getting a few visits a day for really long tail kw’s. The thing is that these words were so targeted I think he ended up with about 5-10 leads per month from it. For a real estate agent that is HUGE. The potential of blogging is really big.

  37. Great idea. Blogging can really take advantage of a local market.

  38. SEO ranking report says:

    I 100% agree that websites needs an additional publishing platform to compliment their main information site. It attracts visitors, improves rankings (especially if external sites link to your content) and helps you to establish a reputation as someone who is an expert in your own niche. However, in order to make sure your publishing platform or blog is successful you need to ensure that you update it regularly with unique and interesting content.

  39. Totally 100% agree with this. I see all kinds of SEO benefits from blogging and have seen fantastic results but the true value is in your relationship with your customers – at no cost to you, you can display your expertise and become a guru in your field by sharing your thoughts and solutions. Your customers want to know that you are an expert in whatever you are selling/promoting and no better way than a blog. GREAT article.

  40. This is article is a must read for anyone just starting out with a blog. There are so many blogs out there with good info on them but at times its hard to determine what services the blog owner has to offer. If someone were to continually display their expertise in solving probelms in my area of interest…I cant think of a quicker way to make me bookmark their blog to be used as a resource.

  41. I have recently started a guest blogging site but what i planned is to later sell products online but i am getting confusing i have to thought to use affiltatet programs first and then use my products.In this method can you suggest what can i do since the visitors should know my products or affilitate products any idea please suggest me.

  42. Excellent insight. Those oft-mentioned reasons for businesses to have blogs should indeed be secondary to communication— getting across what you’re all about!

  43. Allentown PA CPA says:

    Some old folks running small businesses don’t think that SEO could help them earn more! They just want to sit there and wait for people to visit their site and buy their product. They don’t know that there is competition everywhere!

    Aurora Mesner

  44. I thought it was a great post. I’m not sure how I landed on this page but I’m really trying to blog myself. I’m still in the learning process and find “online stuff” to be daunting. Keep these great posts coming.

    Cheers!

    Lauren

  45. Wow, great! I have a small home base business and wanting to have a site of my own. I read a couple of blogs that “blogging” is important to effectively market your products, and most of them have the same reasons why we should blog, and yours is unique.

    Thanks for this, I hope I do better whenever the site is up! :) Cheers!

  46. I spend lots of time online and I love to read. I can tell you that personally a website that gives me some good information, on various topics, as log as it is informative, sparks my interest and stands a very good chance of me looking around!

    A website that has nothing more then their product plastered on the screen will be lucky if I even bother to stop!

    Blogging is a great tool, if you can fill the need of the visitors who come to your site, you have now gained followers!’

    Perfect example of why I am here! Dawud has an excellent site and he adds value with his useful information.

    Thanks for allowing me to share!
    David
    Niche Marketing Affiliate

  47. Great stuff. Some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten is, “You can do anything you want to do, but you can’t do everything you want to do.” The same is true for blogging — it’s much harder to try to sell to EVERYBODY. Better to pick one or two GREAT niches, and develop relationships with them. Thanks for the post!

  48. I agree with your idea that the purpose of blogging is to refine the value you give to customers. I think it also gives you a chance to take some of the hard edges off a faceless business and figure out what makes you human in the eyes of your customers. They always respond better the more they can sense a face and a voice behind your product.

  49. Hi Dawud,

    Exceptional article and I think you hit the nail on the head regarding positioning.

    As small business owners, we also need to find a way to communicate with our customers in order to get inside their heads and see what they’re really thinking… how they are motivated.

    And your point about expertise is very important. I’ve recently started giving interviews about my area of expertise, reputation management, and the results have been exceptional. It’s just another way to show the world what you know.

    Great blog.

  50. Blogging for purely SEO reasons will end up being inconsistent and not blogging for any value. Do it because you love the area you are writing about

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