You may have heard that blogging is a great marketing strategy for small businesses. But is it the right strategy for yours? In this blog post, I’ll be taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages of blogging for small business, to help you figure out your answer.
I’m a blog copywriter and someone who has a blog for my own small business. I definitely believe blogging is an effective marketing strategy. But like all things, it’s not right for everyone. So it’s possible it won’t be right for your small business, either at all or just for where you’re at now.
To help you decide, I’ll run you through some of the reasons for having a blog, some of the benefits of blogging for small business and some of the reasons why having a blog may not be the right thing for your small business, as well as some alternative strategies. Because as an indecisive person, I love an advantages and disadvantages list to help me make a decision.
I’m primarily aiming this list at small business owners regardless of sector. However, it’s possible other people may gain something useful from it too.
Also, it’s worth being aware that not all blogs are created equal. So, when I’m talking about the benefits of a blog, I am talking about a well-strategised and well-written blog. So if you do embark on blogging for your small business, take some time to learn how to do it well or work with a professional blog copywriter.
Advantages of blogging for your small business
Blogging is a great way to bring customers to your website over time
Assuming it’s SEO optimised, your blog should bring potential customers who are searching for information about questions related to the problem your product or service solves to your website.
For example, a business mentor could write blog posts that cover common questions people have about their businesses for which part of the answer could be hiring a business mentor. By doing this, they would be getting searchers earlier in the journey of looking for solutions for business problems. So, these are extra people they can get in their audience as well as people who are searching for a business mentor and find their services pages.
Remember, blogging is a long-term strategy. It won’t bring in customers instantly. But it should bring in visitors over time.
Blog content can keep bringing you visitors and engagement ages after it’s published
Social media posts have a short lifespan and direct conversations happen at a specific time. But your blog posts can sit on your website indefinitely. This means if people are still doing searches about the topics your blog posts are about, your blog should still come up in their search results.
Next time you do some informational research, look at the dates on the content you’re reading. Depending on what you’re researching, it’s possible you’ll be reading content from months or years ago.
Some content will be time sensitive, such as news about a specific thing happening at a specific time. But, if much of your content is not time sensitive, you can expect visitors over time.
To return to my example about the business mentor, many business-related questions they could blog about aren’t time sensitive.
Blog content can help people get to know, like and trust you
You may have heard that people need to get to know, like and trust you in order for them to buy from you.
Well, blogging can help with this because a blog post gives you an opportunity to share some information with visitors, which helps them to get to know you. If they find that information useful or like the personality you convey through your style of writing, and/or the way you explain things, then they will get to like you. And if the information you give them is useful and helps them to achieve a goal or solve a problem they were researching, particularly if this happens multiple times, then they will start to trust you.
Blog content is particularly good for this because it’s long form. This means so long as the content’s engaging you could potentially keep someone reading hundreds or thousands of words. And because of the way most blogs are set up, if the reader likes one blog post, they could keep reading more.
This gives you plenty of time to build up rapport with the reader. It also gives you plenty of room to educate the reader about things that’ll help them to take tangible steps towards solving a problem or achieving a goal.
And if you build up that kind of relationship with a reader, you could become the go-to person who does what you do in their lives. So when they need what you offer, you’ll be front of mind.
Blog content is good for repurposing for other marketing channels
Want to fill up your social media calendar more? A blog could help.
Because a blog post is often reasonably long, you can pick bits out of it to share on social media. This could either be a snippet after which you encourage people to go read the whole blog post. Or it can just be a small piece of content from the blog post on its own.
For example, let’s consider an accountant who has written a blog post that’s a list of mistakes people typically make when doing their own bookkeeping. They could create multiple social posts from it that focus on one mistake each. They could give slightly less advice on the social media posts, so there are advantages to reading the full blog.
You may be concerned that people will find this boring. But many people won’t read both your blog and your social media. And even if they do, people won’t always see all your social media posts.
You can also use blog content on other platforms. For example, you could make videos or podcasts about the same content. These could either be exactly the same content so people can choose which medium they prefer to use or could be different in some way.
While you will need to make the podcasts or videos, it’ll take less time than if you were making them about completely separate subjects because you have the blog post to use as a base for the content and you’ve probably done some research already.
The above are just examples of the many ways you can use the content you create on your blog in other ways to reach more people who are interested in the same content.
Blog content can be used to help customers get the best out of your product or service
Something you could do as part of your blog is provide useful content about how to use your product or service.
A good example of this is that many software companies include tutorials that teach visitors how to use their software.
If people know how to use your product or service well, they’re more likely to use it more, buy other things from you and recommend it to others.
Also, if people can find the answers they need easily, you’re less likely to get a high volume of people contacting you with the same basic questions.
Having blog posts that explain how things work is also useful for when people do contact you to ask basic questions because you can just direct them to the blog post.
This kind of content is also useful for people who haven’t bought your product or service yet because it can demonstrate how it works and how user friendly it is.
You could present this information in other ways. For example, you could have a downloadable user guide. But one of the advantages of presenting it as a series of blog posts is, so long as it’s SEO optimised it should pick up people trying to find out about your kind of product or service in Google as well as your existing customers.
Disadvantages of blogging for your small business
As I said at the beginning of this post, blogging is a great strategy. But it’s not always the right strategy for every small business.
Here are some reasons blogging may not be the right strategy for you.
Written content is not the best medium for your audience
Written content may not be the best medium if you’re targeting a group of people who may find reading difficult such as dyslexic people. Or if you’re targeting a time-poor group who may prefer to listen to content while they are working on other things such as disabled, particularly chronically ill people, parents or carers.
In cases like these, podcasting or videos may be your best option.
However, it’s likely worth getting these transcribed. Having transcripts will help with accessibility, because many people have disabilities that make listening impossible or difficult, such as hearing impairments or auditory processing difficulties. It’s possible some of these people could fit in to the groups you’re targeting.
Additionally, many people may wish to listen to the content and then look through a transcript. For example, if they want to do further research on something mentioned but are not sure how to spell it. Or if they were doing something else and couldn’t make notes but want a quick refresh on what you discussed.
Written content is not the right medium for you
If you’re not confident writing blog content, then blogging may not be the best medium for you. There are many courses that will teach you blogging that could help with this or you could outsource the writing to a blog copywriter. But if neither of these options will work for you and you’re more confident in another medium such as audio or video, then that may be a good alternative to blogging for you.
Make sure the audience you choose to target is an audience who actually use that medium for consuming information. But if they do consume the medium you’d like to use, then you can use it.
If you want to expand your content marketing in the future, you could use your audio or video content as a basis for blog posts. This may be used if you’re not a confident writer. But you can definitely have audio or videos as your primary form of content, so long as it suits your audience.
I would definitely recommend getting your audio or video transcribed as discussed above. But this is also something you can outsource and that should usually be cheaper than outsourcing blogging.
Blogging isn’t something you have time for
Unless you’re going to outsource blogging, you need to have time to create blog posts to publish regularly.
It’s worth knowing that blogging less often than you’d possibly like or than you see recommended could be a good option for you. You don’t necessarily need to blog every week. People blog as little as once a month.
The other thing to consider is that if you want customers, you do need to make time for marketing your business. Marketing can sometimes get neglected because people see it as not part of their paid work. But in reality, you need marketing to get paid work. This is why your earnings from a product or service shouldn’t just cover the cost of paying you and/or other people to do the work that’s needed to deliver it. It should cover the costs of you and/or other people marketing your business and doing admin.
That said, when choosing how to market your business, what strategies you use will be informed by how many hours you work, how many customers you regularly need and how much money you’re typically expecting them to spend.
If you’ve heard that people in your kind of business should blog, bear in mind that much advice is aimed at full time business owners or businesses with a bigger team than you have.
Many people run successful part-time businesses. And many of them genuinely can’t dedicate any more than part time hours to their business because of managing their health or disabilities, being a parent or being a carer. And many of these people are successful, just not necessarily in the ways people would typically consider success.
My advice to you if you’re in a situation where you’re quite time-poor is to figure out what marketing strategies would work in your situation. Then prioritise them based on a combination of what would work best and what you prefer doing. And then just do the ones you can comfortably manage.
If you have a plan that involves things you can comfortably manage and that you are happy to do, it’s more likely to get done. It’s better for you to have 2 marketing strategies you do well, than 5 marketing strategies you’re rushing and implementing inconsistently. You can always add in other marketing strategies at a later date if the business grows and you have the capacity.
So, if you’ve been through that process or a different process and blogging doesn’t make the cut of strategies you’re going to use… then great don’t use it.
Conclusion: do you need a blog for your small business?
Like so many things, it depends. But I hope the advantages and disadvantages of blogging for your small business I’ve discussed above help you think about it and make an informed decision.
If you want help figuring out what content marketing is right for you, this is something I could help you with in a strategy session. Please contact me for more information.
And if you’d like to explore outsourcing your blog copywriting, my blog copywriting service can help.
If you’ve got questions or thoughts, put them in the comments or share them with me on Instagram.