More Than WE Know

Women Entrepreneurs sharing Information, Inspiration and Support

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs a Blog

Posted by Liz Fuller on August 23, 2007

cb024732.jpgQuestion: What’s a quick, painless way to network to a lot of your customers and potential colleagues without ever having to leave the comfort of your own backyard?

Answer: A Blog    (you knew that, didn’t you?)

But if  a blog is such a powerful networking tool – why do so many entrepreneurs make the mistake of not creating one?

I asked a few people in my network and got the following answers:

1) Don’t see the value (i.e. where’s the money???)

2) Concerned they didn’t have anything to say

3) Too intimidated by the technology   

Let’s address these concerns one at a time.

First, I agree, the value of a blog is not to create instant sales.  It is a networking tool that works for you and your business, even while you sleep.  We all know that most things being equal, people prefer to do business with people they know, like and trustA Blog is an easy way to build rapport with your customers.

A Blog is an opportunity to: 

  • provide ongoing value
  • build awareness
  • build loyalty

When the time comes that they do need your services or products, how much more likely are they to think of you if they’ve been reading your blog on a regular basis?

Now that you’re starting to see the potential value of a blog,  let’s discuss the concern that you won’t have anything to say.  The great thing about blogs is that they can be whatever you want them to be. 

My blog has articles and pictures that tell a story or give advice, because that’s what I like to write.  Your blog might have lists, news articles, funny pictures, jokes, recipes, etc.  

One great way to blog that adds a lot of value and doesn’t take much writing effort is to write tip sheets based on your area of expertise:

  • a realtor might write tips for selling a house, buying a house, decorating, finding a school system, determining the crime rate, making friends in a new neighborhood, finding a lawn service, reducing the risk of crime, etc.
  • a skin care specialist might write tips for grooming, makeup, looking younger, etc.
  • a drycleaner might write tips for getting out stains, choosing fabrics, storing winter clothes, etc.
  • a virtual assistant might write tips for organizing files, backing up computers, writing standard letters, etc.

Can you picture your customers coming back time and time again to see what new tips you have to offer?  And maybe referring their friends to your blog for great information?

You can build further incentives and loyalty by offering blog-only discounts or holding contests. You can also add surveys to your blog which will enable you to gather more information about the needs of your customers to consider when developing new services.

You can create some fun in your blog by having it written by a “mascot”. For example a bookstore owner might have a blog “written” by the store cat, a day care center owner might write from the point of view of a toddler, and a seller of baby clothes might write from the point of view of a kindly grandmother.

You can write the blog yourself, you can have someone else in your family or business write the blog or you can hire someone else to do it.  If you delegate the blog writing, ensure that the person you hire has some knowledge and passion for your topic and that it conveys the image you want associated with your business.  Successful blogging builds your brand. Don’t underestimate its influence. 

If you’re interested in hiring someone to do the blogging, look for “ghost bloggers” who convey the tone and image you want, as well as the information. You can find “ghost bloggers” at www.elance.com, or hire more robust services like www.mccordweb.com or www.advmediaproductions.com

Professional blogs can cost $15 to $100 and up per post.  Before hiring a professional blogger, be sure to see samples of sites they already support and get a clear understanding of how much research they will do, the length of the posts and whether they offer search engine optimization, hosting or other benefits.

While writing a blog can be a little challenging, creating one shouldn’t be. It is much easier than building a website.  It is even exciting to see something that you’ve written instantly published on the web!

To create a blog, simply log onto a site like this one – www.wordpress.com.  Choose a name (your business name is a good place to start) and request a blog.  It only takes a minute.  Then write your first post. 

Imagine you are writing a letter to your favorite customer.  Tell them something you want them to know.  Thank them for their business.  Offer them a special discount.  Be sincere.  Be yourself. Don’t worry about making it perfect. When you’re done –  hit “publish”.

Congratulations! You have a blog!

You’re on your way to building a powerful, painless, inexpensive networking, marketing and customer relationship management tool!

Do you have experiences leveraging a blog for your businesses?  Tell me about the success and challenges you’ve encountered!

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