Earlier this week Frank J. Kenny did a Skype interview with me about small business blogging and why or why not it makes sense. Frank’s audience is the network of Chambers of Commerce across the U.S.. I think it’s a timely question considering the ongoing “blogging is dead“, “no it’s not“ debate that’s been going on for the past 5 years or so.
As a small business owner myself, I’ve been blogging here at Online Marketing Blog for over 8 years and can testify as to the pros and cons like few others can. In our case, we’ve had great success with our blog as a way to achieve industry awareness and credibility, attract new business, employees, media coverage, speaking opportunities and many other benefits.
In the interview with Frank, he asked 3 key questions about blogging and social media that I wanted to share here since it’s had such a huge impact for both our clients large and small, as well as on our own small business.
Why should small businesses blog?
Blogging is a method of creating and publishing conversational content. Blogs are an easy to use content management system. The value is in the content and ability for companies to leverage the inherent promotion and engagement capabilities of the blog publishing platform. Blogging offers a few key advantages:
- Easy to use platform to create sharable, linkable content that addresses specific prospect and customer interests
- Serves as a hub to a hub and spoke model of content marketing and promotion
- Creates a promotable SEO and Social Media asset – every post is a potential destination for a link and an entry point through search engines.
Through multiple channels of discovery, blog content can reach:
- Existing customers
- Potential employees
- Marketing partners, investors
- The media: journalists, bloggers
What is the impact of Google+ on search and how does it affect business blog marketing?
Google+ personalization and it’s impact on search is the hot topic and any company that wants an advantage in Google search results needs to consider Google+ and other social media participation. The behaviors of content creation, sharing and engagement are incredibly rich signals that search engines can use to improve search results quality and search user experience.
The more people that have included your Google+ profile or page in their circles, the more likely content that you’ve created, shared and engaged with will appear in their Google search results while they’re logged in. Google+ optimization should be an essential part of any business blog effort.
At the same time, social media content, whether it’s text, images or video is content that can be crawled and ranked in search results. Social media optimization can improve search visibility of that social content for people that are actively looking for solutions.
When we make optimization recommendations, we go beyond search keywords and have our clients consider social topics as well. Understanding what keywords consumers are searching on as well as the topics they’re discussing on blogs, twitter, and other social networks can inform an editorial plan that does a much better job of attracting new customers because it’s focused on their language and the things they care about. Incidentally, I go deep, deep into this within Optimize.
How much emphasis should small business bloggers place on SEO vs social media?
The consumer journey through the sales funnel is increasingly weaving through a social and search experience. Our model of optimization focuses on how consumers Discover, Consume and Share content so the notion that people will come across a small business solution because of a social connection to a friend that then leads to a search on Google or Bing to get more information is entirely likely and common.
When people use specific words in a search they are segmenting or qualifying themselves to a certain degree because the words they use indicate intent to a particular purpose or outcome. Creating, optimizing and socializing blog content according to those purposes or pain points can be very powerful for any sized business that wants to be found or talked about where relevant customers are looking.
There’s so much more I can say about this (and I will – see my upcoming speaking schedule)
Here’s the video version of the interview:
Despite the success we’ve had with our own business blogging efforts at TopRank Online Marketing, we’re probably only realizing a fraction of the potential benefits from business blogging. If that’s the case, why do so many other companies with significantly greater resources fail at blogging for their business? They quit, lack vision, underestimate resources and timeframe, and fail to understand where blogging can be integrated with achieving multiple business goals.
Hopefully you’ll find the advice above useful to help your business blogging effort. If you have specific biz blogging questions, please ask them in the comments.