If you own or lead a small business, you’re familiar with the vast number of tasks that need to be completed on a daily basis just to keep the doors open, including priorities like paying suppliers, managing payroll, invoicing and sales probably top the list.
Over the past few years social media and blogging have become a big conversation piece in the small business world and have left many small business owners feeling a bit on the outside as to how to approach these new media opportunities in a way to maximize their businesses, hence the reason that blogging and social media aren’t on the “high priority” list.
The biggest reason for this is probably the fact that measurement in the new media arena is still hard to come by and what can’t be measured becomes incredibly hard to invest in.
Yet the fear of not participating is causing a lot of companies to jump into social and blogging (content) activities. The downside? The approach is more of a “check the box” rather than a strategy that works.
Companies create Facebook pages that sit dormant, Twitter handles that don’t tweet or just RT others, and accounts on other sites that serve as mere parked online real estate.
And while those “activities” may make you feel like you are on the road to online prosperity; checking the box simply does not work.
Since there are a million experts that will tell you how to use social media, I want to focus on something that can truly help your business reach a targeted audience and drive more readership, build strategic community and translate to sales:
Yep, not Twitter, not Facebook, but a well thought-out content strategy that creates meaningful content for the audience that you consider the ideal target.
When done correctly, this can separate your small business from others that do the same thing, in the same location for roughly the same price.
This is because small businesses that have leadership teams that blog are better reflecting value propositions for their business and adding personality to what may seem like a lot of the same messaging.
Now that I have said this, I know what a lot of small business owners are going to say.
- I don’t have time to blog
- I’m not a good writer
- I don’t know how to come up with content
- Nobody is going to read our blog
All good arguments…
However, they are all wrong.
While I wouldn’t argue with most small business owners that they can afford to not be on Twitter and maybe even not be on Facebook, I would vehemently argue that they cannot afford not to have a content strategy (centered on a blog) that provides unique and regular insights into the problems that their most coveted customers need solved.
Furthermore, whether you as the owner write the content yourself, or you hire someone to do it, that creation of meaningful content will pay far more dividends than tweeting the latest news article from Yahoo.
So let’s demystify a small business content strategy.
- Integrate a blog into your company website that regularly posts content from your company’s leaders and business line managers.
- If you don’t have time to write the content, hire someone to ghost write for you that can, in your voice, articulate thought leadership in your areas of business expertise.
- Regularly (at least 1x per week) post content and share it to all of your networks, feeds and mail lists. In addition, make sure your teams are sharing it with their online communities such as their LinkedIn groups and networks.
- Use internal linking to take readers to pages on your site that discuss your products and offerings. However, do not create content full of sales and marketing pitches. A blog shouldn’t be used as a direct sales technique.
- Focus on measuring the community building rather than just the metrics. It’s easy to get your content seen, but having it seen by the right audience takes commitment and time (realistically, six months or more before you see significant growth in meaningful metrics).
Enough With the Excuses
If there is one thing that I regularly hear from small business owners, it is that they blogged a couple of times and they didn’t get the return they are seeking.
Imagine saying this…
I went on a couple of sales calls and nobody bought my product or service so I stopped selling.
Sounds dumb, right? Well, so does the first statement.
In order to see results from blogging for your small business you have to commit to doing it like any other sales, marketing or operational effort. Having said that, I assure you that if you stay the course and focus on content that your buying audience wants to read, the results will come. If you’ve started a content strategy and stopped, or never started at all, now seems like the perfect time to take action toward better online results.
Daniel Newman is an experienced C-Level Executive that currently operates as a Strategy Consultant providing C-Suite services to small and mid-sized businesses. Prior to going out on his own, Daniel served as the co-founder and CEO of EC3, a quickly growing hosted IT and Communication services provider. Before that, Daniel held several prominent leadership roles including serving as CEO of United Visual, parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm; a family of companies focused on Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies.
Daniel is also widely published and active in the social media community. He is the author of Amazon best-selling business book, “The Millennial CEO.” He also co-founded the global online Community 12 Most and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 business and leadership accounts to follow on Twitter.
Daniel is also an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College. He attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Executive MBA from North Central College in Naperville, Ill. He currently resides in Aurora, Ill., with his wife (Lisa) and his two daughters (Hailey 9, Avery 5).