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Archive for August, 2008

All About Blogging for Small Biz: Presentation Turned Post

Posted by dbrchamber on August 14, 2008

I’ve only been blogging for nine months. Nevertheless, I find myself giving a crash course in small biz blogging to peers. This is a summary with links for those who missed it, and for anyone else who might be interested.

Even if you aren’t thinking of starting a blog, you can learn below how to work with bloggers to promote your business.

Blogging Basics

A blog (an abridgment of the term web log) is a website with special features. Chief among them are:

  1. Entries (posts) are frequently updated.
  2. Blogs are interactive, so readers can comment.
  3. The Index is fluid, using categories or tags.
  4. Posts are in reverse chronological order.
  5. Links to other blogs and websites abound.
  6. Many offer an option to subscribe in email or a “feed reader,” which aggregates and lists posts from various blogs.

To Blog or Not to Blog

Benefits:

  • Drives traffic to your website, and a link may raise its ranking in search
  • Builds brand awareness and raises your company profile
  • Shows customers how you or your business model are different
  • Enables sharing news with friends and influencers in the industry
  • Positions you as source for publications looking for commentary
  • May earn ad revenues if you run ads

Disadvantages

The Case Against Blogging (written for the real estate industry, but its points are widely applicable, and funny.)

And one caution: Any entry you might dash off and post after a glass of wine on Friday night will be there for your unborn children and their children to read. Electronic tracks are well-neigh impossible to erase.

What Small Biz Should Blog?

I recommend regular email marketing — building and working your prospect and client database — as a primary effort. I’d only blog if you are well along in that area because it is much more scattershot. I also think those with national or web-based businesses benefit more than local businesses.

Here are the types of businesses might benefit from a blog:

  • Consultants, for example a national training consultant
  • Those in industries with a steep learning curve — a wine merchant or condo attorney
  • Firms with certain products or services, especially those related to a lifestyle that you can blog about. For example, someone with camping products can blog about outdoor adventures.
  • Technology companies, for example a provider of online corporate games
  • NOT recommended for the majority of small businesses

What Does It Take?

  • Blogs are easy to set up. It will take longer to determine your login and URL than to start blogging.
  • BUT they are work to maintain. You need dedicated time each week. Word on the street is that you should post 2-3 times a week, but at minimum once.
  • You need basic writing skills
  • To attract and sustain an audience, you have to produce meaty posts with provocative or informative content.

Examples of Small Biz Blogging Successes

Blog It and They May Come

Blogging’s a Low-Cost, High Return MarketingTool

Blog-a-Thon: Your Company’s Blog Should Be One of Your Strongest Marketing Tools, so Get Talking

Where to Set up a Blog

www.blogger.com (A Google site, and it’s free for now.)

www.wordpress.com (Free for now)

www.typepad.com (14 day trial. $4.95 per month)

How to Get Traffic on Your Website from Bloggers

Even if you don’t blog, you should identify key bloggers in your industry, start reading them, and consider posting comments to increase the visibility of your business. Here’s how.

How to Get Traffic and Links from Popular Blogs

Meet the Press: How to get Good PR for Yourself in the Blogosphere

Where to Find Blogs of Interest

Just put your favorite keywords into the search box at either site below and start surfing around. Also be sure to check out the links (sometimes called a blogroll) on the sites you find. If you follow this serendipitous route, you’ll find your hot spots.

http://www.technorati.com

http://blogsearch.google.com

How to Read A Blog

Understanding and Reading a Blog (for Newcomers)

Top Blogs About Small Business

See a recent post on this site.

Sample Client and Counselor Blogs

We’re new at this too, remember.

Jeff Lipincott http://jlippin.blogspot.com and http://lippin.wordpress.co

Ken Larson http://smalltofeds.blogspot.com

Peg Corwin Small Biz Web 2.0 Weblog http://scorechicago.wordpress.com and http://LearnedAtSCORE.wordpress.com.

Sample SCORE Client blog:

http://www.chicagocondosonline.blogspot.com/ This is an excellent blog about condos in Chicago, written by an entrepreneur who has created “the Ultimate Condo Database.” The author is also a Columbia Journalism School grad and former editor of Readers Digest, so the headlines are snappy and the writing is clean and colorful.

“Blogs in Plain English” Video

What did I miss? Help me out, here, and leave comment.

(My too-quick little mouse accidentally deleted an earlier version of this post.)

Peg Corwin, SCORE Chicago

Please be aware that you may now schedule your free local business counseling appointment online HERE

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