A recent study by eMarketer forcasted the next five years of blog readership, and creation.  The findings weren't surprising, as eMarketer expects the number of people that read blogs, and those that blog themselves, to continue to grow dramatically.  What this means for your business is that increasingly, your customers are going to be reading blogs, and writing them.

eMarketer is now forecasting that 58% of the U.S. internet population will be reading blogs by 2013, a roughly 20% increase over current levels.  Additionally, eMarketer sees 17% of the U.S. Internet population blogging in 2013, almost a 30% increase over current levels.

If your customers are going to be increasingly reading blogs and writing blogs themselves, how much longer can your business afford to not take part in online conversations that are happening around your company and your industry? 

Two common objections that small businesses offer to adopting a blogging strategy is that they don't have time, and no one online is talking about them anyway.  First, limited resources/time is a very real consideration for many small businesses.  If you don't have the time and/or people to launch a blogging strategy, you can still build relationships with bloggers and leverage this as a way to increase awareness of your business online.  This post offers a great primer for launching a blogger outreach strategy in 24 hours.

The second objection many small businesses offer to why they aren't blogging is that no one is blogging about their business now, so why should they care?  This indicates that the business has an awareness problem online, as do many small businesses.  But the great advantage that a small business has over a large company is that they can often times CREATE the online conversation around their business, instead of reacting to it.  Think about it, most large companies have plenty of people talking about them online.  But that means the conversation already exists, and the best they can hope for is to participate in that conversation. 

While a small business, can often times create the conversation around them.  That means that can have more control over the form and flow of the conversation.  A large company will likely have to do some 'damage control' when they first enter into an online conversation, because there might be some misconceptions about them.  But a small business can start out with a clean slate and get their point of view out from the start.  They don't have to 'repair' tarnished images that large companies frequently have to do.

So my advice is to start now by monitoring what your current and potential customers are saying online about you, your competitors, and your industry.  Participate as you can, and look for ways to use blogs as a tool to connect with your customers.  As eMarketer's study indicates, these people are going to increasingly be using blogs to talk about you, your competition, and your industry. 

Why not become a participant in that conversation? 

May 5, 2009





Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post, MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.






Comments(7)

I specifically do SEO work for the small local business owner with a website. My standard recommendation is that they add a blog and actually post something useful every 3-4 days.
Only one time did I not recommend a blog. That company did crime scene clean-ups and it would have not been a good match. Otherwise, I always want them blogging. However, it is a tough sell and tougher yet to get them to blog and then promote the blog!

I was wondering how you overcome this resistance?

Spot on, Mack. Businesses need to start blogging now. While readership will continue to grow, there's plenty of readership right now. And while there is a lot of value to conversation with your customers, blogging has the additional benefit of credibility. If a business starts blogging now, and adds a post once per week, in one year they will have 52 posts under their belt. Then when a customer arrives at the blog one year from today, instant credibility and authority.

"Two common objections that small businesses offer to adopting a blogging strategy is that they don't have time, and no one online is talking about them anyway....

The second objection many small businesses offer to why they aren't blogging is that no one is blogging about their business now, so why should they care?"

True enough, these two reasons are the common replies if you ask a small business to blog online. Because they are small, why should they try to do it online when no one knows cares about their business? Like you, I also disagree, since in the internet, you can expand, and convince people. Why not try it and see the results?

Hi Mark,

Dead on, blogging is a great advantage for small business. I recently just spoke with a gym owner about the value he could generate from blogging about new workout ideas around the gym, his classes and fitness events in Pittsburgh.

One think I'd like to add, most business might not have the capacity to start up a blog from Wordpress, or Blogger, but syndicating content via Facebook.com could be a easier option, or at least a small step leading to a bigger one. It also would give the business a lot of satisfaction as they could watch their friend base grow.

You wrote a great article on the importance of blogging for small business. How can a small business afford not to be blogging these days?

I just tweeted your article:

http://twitter.com/veesolutions

Tony

With an increasing emphasis on dynamic content in the SERPs, I think that it is very important for EVERY biz to utilize a blog. Many people don't understand why it's important, and if they don't they need to hire somebody that does...

Blogs = free marketing. Don't do it and miss out - it's as simple as that.

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Search Engine Guide > Mack Collier > Small Businesses Can No Longer Ignore Blogs