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Does Your Small Business Need a Blog?

It seems as if everyone has one, and experts say they’re a great marketing tool. No better opportunity exists to engage in an open dialogue and exchange of ideas with customers and potential customers. But is the time commitment worth it?

I own a small service firm, and I’ve been advised to create a blog as a marketing tool. What are the pros and cons of this new medium, and how would I get started? – BT, Johannesberg

There’s no doubt about it, blogs are hot. With their interactivity and their ability to position even micro-business owners as niche experts, blogs are the “it” marketing trend (see BW Online, 5/22/06, “Into the Wild Blog Yonder”). There are more than 39 million blogs in existence and 75,000 new blogs being created every day, according to Technorati, a resource Web site with a search engine that covers the universe of blogs, known as the blogosphere.

Business owners sometimes establish blogs alongside their existing Web sites, but blogs can also substitute for Web sites. A blog will give you a Web presence that can be much more interactive than any ordinary Web site can be. It can also be much less expensive for you to create and maintain. One of the best things about a blog is that it can create a more personal relationship with your customer.

THE COST:
Getting your designer to create the blog is your initial layout and by the nature of a blog, you will be able to easily update it yourself, negating update costs. Your biggest layout is time. Perry Belcher (Seriously Bad Ass Marketer & Neurological Copywriter) points out that if you don’t have the time to interact with your clients, someone else will.

TIME MANAGEMENT:
Blogs – and especially small business blogs – do not necessarily need to be updated on a daily, or even weekly basis. One good article a fortnight, or even a month will be more appreciated by the community that builds around your blog than endless fluff updates. If you don’t have something valuable (to your readers) to say, don’t say it.

It shouldn’t take you longer than about an hour a fortnight to write a meaningful blog post (it took me about that to reasearch and write this one) – so it’s clear that the small time commitment is absolutely worth it!

UPCOMING ARTICLES:
The anatomy of an effective blog post
– How to build your blog’s following
– Social Media and your blog

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