The moment I read the headline “Blogging’s a Low-Cost, High Return Marketing Tool”, an article by Marci Alboher in the print edition of the New York Times, it caught my attention. The same day when she asked “Should Small Businesses Blog?” in her Shifting Careers Blog at NYTimes.com, I didn’t have to think about it too long before I answered, yes.
Her reference to an American Express survey that found only 5 percent of businesses with fewer than 100 employees have blogs raises an important question; what will it take to persuade the other 95 percent?
For starters, I think the more newspaper columnists and bloggers write success stories, anecdotal experiences, along with recommended tips and tools of the trade; the sooner small businesses will join the 5 percent who are enjoying business-life on the other side of the fence.
Marci Alboher wrote about Tony Stubblebine, founder of CrowdVine, who uses his blog “as a way to share news with friends and people who wield influence in his industry as well as a reference check for customers.” She also referred to John Nardini’s decision to write a blog about personal finance because “it is a popular search category on the Web and because he knew he would not tire of posting about it.” Like other bloggers Nardini uses tools like Google Analytics and Site Meter.
Businesses don’t need to reinvent the wheel when they can learn from others experiences and readily implement a blog into their marketing mix. CrowdVine Social Networks blog links to “How to “Web 2.0-Enable”your Live Event” an article David Spark of Spark Media Solutions. One link from his article directs the reader to information and a resource for adding audio to your blog. Ms. Alboher’s link to “How To Build Traffic To Your Blog” by Priya Shah is not only an example of a great how-to article but demonstrates how prolific the author was writing such thorough ground rules back in December 2004.
Shah’s article addresses:
- writing posts people will want to read
- optimizing posts for search engines
- submitting blog to directories
- pinging blog services
- editing blog posts into articles
- creating buzz about blogs
- capturing subscribers by email
So in answer to Marci Alboher’s original question, should small businesses blog, I say yes. Blogs need to be more than a soap box or a place to pontificate. They need to make a difference, add value to a reader’s life, and provide concrete and useable information–simply, blogs need to guide us to worthwhile destinations.