While social media is still the topic du jour at major search conferences, I'm still hearing a lot of buzz about blogs. But the issue is convincing small businesses of the need to consider launching a blog. That's what Grant Griffiths is aiming to do over at Home Office Warrior with his great list of 12 Ways a Blog Can Benefit Your Business.

Grant breaks them down like so:

1. Blogs are not expensive and in fact, cost less than most other marketing efforts.
2. New blogs launch quickly and are easy to use.
3. Search engines love blogs and they love them because blogs are easily updated.
4. Publishing a blog shows your readers who you are.
5. Blogs offer you a completely new way to communicate with your clients, prospects and fellow business owners.
6. Your target market is using the web to search for everything, including the services or products you are offering.
7. Blogging can position you and your blog as the place to go for the information that is needed on the Internet.
8. Blogging and posting relevant content can position you as a "thought leader" in your niche.
9. By hosting a conversation on your blog, you will be positioned to succeed.
10. Having a blog puts you in control of your own Web based magazine and talk show.
11. Your blog post will never disappear from the reach of your target market.
12. Get with it and blog, because if you don't, you will be left behind.
You'll want to read his entire post to get the full reasoning on each benefit, but even just glancing at this list should be tempting you for at least one or two reasons.

Ultimately, I think small business types need to look at a blog beyond the value of "sharing information." Blogs have gotten a lot of play in the information services industries as a way to educate people. The motivation for many bloggers was the idea of sharing their knowledge freely so people would recognize their expertise and hire them. While that works on many fronts, it doesn't work on all of them.

It was with that in mind that I shared the story of the Tin Basher blog at SES San Jose last week. See, the Tin Basher blog was created by a small sheet metal fabrication shop in northern England. It wasn't created with the goal of spreading knowledge about metal fabrication. It was created with the purpose of adding a human face to the company...to build up a sense of rapport with readers and to give potential clients some insight into the company's culture.

Tin Basher blogger Paul Woodhouse dishes up personal news, interesting stories about nearby businesses and yes, the occasional sheet metal post. While the idea of a small sheet metal shop blogging may seem funny, the results are nothing to scoff at.

I had a chance to email with Paul to ask him about the blog and he shares some amazing numbers with me. According to Paul, the company behind the Tin Basher has seen their gross revenues triple since the blog was launched. The blog is pulling in upwards of 50,000 unique visitors a month and the company can directly tie 30-40% of their income to leads that came in through the blog.

That's not bad. Not bad at all.

It makes sense when you think about it though. My father was an engineer with Delphi and spent most of his time working with small machine shops and tool and die shops to get contracts filled. In his type of business, the personal relationship you build with the shop plays a huge role in getting the work done. If you know you might have to call someone up at the last second to get a job done yesterday, you need to know a little something about the people you're dealing with. You need to build relationships. The Tin Basher blog does this beautifully.

So maybe you aren't blogging yet. Maybe you think you don't run the type of company that "fits" with a blog. If that's the case, I'd challenge you to consider the Tin Basher and to consider Grant Griffiths 12 Reasons to Blog post. You might find yourself double checking to see if WordPress is installed on your server.




Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.





Comments(7)

Thank you so much for mentioning and linking to my blog post about blogging. I have been blogging and marketing a professional service firm with a blog now for 3 years. It is a great way to market and the RIO from blogging your business is outstanding.

Thanks again.

No problem! It was a great post, so happy to link.

I know it can be tough for some companies to "see" the fit, but I'm seeing more and more really creative examples of companies using blogs to communicate with and build a customer base. :)

Great post Jennifer! Blogging for your business is arguably one of the best and most cost-effective tools to implement!
I just recently held a short 'intro to blogging' presentation for board members of the San Diego Zoo. They started using blogs to keep the folks providing the donations informed on how their money was being spent whether it be through donations, improvements, etc. They now have blogs for each 'division' of endangered species and have dramatically increased the incoming donation stream as well as spread the word about their work and efforts in means that were previously not possible.

Thanks Jon!

Love the idea on the zoo. Sometimes people worry too much about creating a blog that appeals to every single possible member of their target audience and miss the fact that a highly focused blog can deliver wonderful results. Kudos to you and the zoo for finding something that works.

It was a pleasure sharing those numbers with you, Jennifer. And thanks for the lovely mention.

I implore anybody to implement a blog for all the twelve reasons you cite via Grant's post and then some. I'm no longer amazed as to how well it works but why more people aren't jumping on board or miss the mark with their efforts.

One of the key elements is presenting a human face to an inhuman Web. You don't need a blog to do that - perhaps a podcast or video could work better if you're more comfortable doing that.

I think people often get uptight about what they might be able to talk about on a blog, but I've always maintained that I'm not an expert on sheet metal or the industry, but I am an expert on Butler Sheetmetal.

And therein lies the key. You only have to be an expert on your own business and take it from there.

How was London?

Paul,

London was pretty good, though I enjoyed our time in Italy far more. ;) Good to get a break anyway, and the London crowd at SES was among the most interactive I've ever worked with. Great training over there.

I think you offer up great perspective on this. The bit about being an expert on Butler Sheetmetal is key...but something so many people miss. Last week at SES NY I was trying to remind the small business crowd that their most powerful social media marketing tool was themselves. People get so caught up in trying to "represent" that they sometimes forget the value in simply "being."

The Tin Basher blog works because you are who you are. Who you are happens to be an interesting person with a flair for story telling. They capitalized on that and the blog works because of it. In the case of Zappo's, who they are is a company focused on customer service. Once where CSA's are empowered to REALLY take care of customers. Their company works because of it.

People need to start looking inward and figuring out what makes their company unique. It's rarely the price or even the product. It's the PEOPLE. The ones that figure that out and then get involved in the conversation are the ones coming out ahead right now.

Hey Jennifer! Our company is new to the "blog world", and we're loving it! Keeping the content fresh, interesting and providing information to our readers is such a great way to expound on what we do and build interest. Great article!



Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > A Dozen Reasons to Have a Blog for Your Business