A blog can be a fantastic resource but is it right for you? It is a great way to document your growing business, to get specialist expertise to your customers and to announce yourself as an authority within your sector.
I also know many people who have set up a blog, released a few short and sweet articles than never returned. In this post, I have laid out four important questions you should ask yourself before starting a blog.
Do you have the time?
I’m sure you’ll recognise the biggest problem any business owner encounters: There’s so much to do, yet so little time. Blogs can be a great way to reach out to your customers but they can also be a huge drain on your time.
Ask yourself if you are able to commit to this undertaking. If so, how much time are you willing to spend on your blog? Two hours a week? Four? A day? Would this time be better spent elsewhere - phoning up potential clients for example?
Your business requires a lot of your time so decide which areas of marketing will provide you the most value and which areas are simply tools for procrastination. Streamlining your marketing in this way will allow you to target lots of potential clients with much less effort. There’s no point filming beautiful videos for YouTube if your client base rarely uses the internet.
Try writing a list of the various types of marketing you are interested in: Facebook, flyers, a radio advertisement and of course the blog. Now put stars by the tools you feel are most valuable for reaching your customers and demonstrating your brand. Does a blog come into the top three?
If the answer is ‘yes’ then a blog may be a smart marketing strategy for your business.
How much useful content can you produce?
We are a big advocates for writing lists, so this time try writing a list of potential posts. What areas would you cover? What tips could you provide for your audience that they might not find elsewhere?
As part of your marketing strategy, you should have a messaging strategy, allowing you to organize where to post different types of content. Not all content belongs in blog posts. Short tips and tricks may belong on Twitter, competitions and giveaways often thrive on Facebook, and information about your event would do well in the local newspaper.
If you’re full of ideas for blog posts then that’s great! Go for it! But if you are struggling to think of useful information then perhaps posting on a blog would quickly become a struggle too.
Could your advice be summed up in one long list of tips and tricks on your website? Or could it be gradually doled out on other media platforms, like Twitter? After all, social media is free marketing but a blog may be another area of your site that needs to be marketed.
Why do you even need a blog?
Is it to drive traffic to your website? Or inform people about your company or your professional identity? Will you use a blog to test out campaigns, record important business events, or to build partnerships with industry peers?
A blog can do all kinds of things. A common aim of starting a blog is to effectively position you or your company as an authority in your sector. Do you need a blog to prove this? Possibly not. This is where a bit of market research comes in handy.
Ask around. Approach colleagues, clients, people standing outside your store, and ask them for honest feedback about your brand. In this way you can find out if you are viewed as an authority in your industry.
Another common aim is to connect with customers, show behind-the-scenes and prove that your company cares. Again, do you need a blog to prove this? Picking up the phone or travelling to visit people might be a more effective way of connecting with potential clients.
Part of your initial research should include figuring out if your target market is online. If they are then a blog may prove a useful way to keep clients up-to-date. But if they aren’t online or if they don’t read blogs, then a blog is of no use.
Can you write well and do you enjoy it?
If you hate writing or don’t feel you are particularly good at it, then writing a regular blog will become the bane of your life.
You always have the option of paying others to write for you, and this can turn out to be extremely worthwhile, even profitable. For example, the changes Texter Communications made to James Sexton’s marketing plan more than covered (by a factor of ten) the cost of our services.
Again, make lists! Many, many lists! Then decide whether or not you should bring in a third party to handle the blog.
If you haven’t talked yourself out of a blog by this point, then you are probably someone who will actually truly benefit from having one.
And as it is so simple to get one started, you can always dip your toe in the water by beginning a monthly blog unconnected to your business and see how that goes first.
If some of your answers suggested a blog would be good for your company but you just hate writing or don’t have time, Texter Communications might be a good option for you. Why not check out the blogs on SproutVideo and Get Invited, two businesses we have already helped by successfully streamlining their marketing campaigns.
Market research is essential before you commit to a blog or to any marketing strategy. At Texter Communications, our services include providing market research and a marketing strategy for your business. Why not try us out by taking advantage of our complementary social media audit?