I’m often contacted by companies who tell me they need a blog. “So how do I get a blog?”
“Why do you think you need a blog?”
“Everyone’s got a blog. I need a blog.”
No, you don’t. Not everyone nor every business needs a blog. Should they? Maybe? But do they need one? Absolutely not.
If a static website, a billboard on the web, is enough for their customers’ needs, giving them basic information about the company, its employees, location, driving direction, and products and services, that’s good enough. Why blog?
If the business has a strong customer service base that is Internet savvy, and it wants to improve its online identity and reputation, then maybe a blog is worth considering.
Here are my follow-up questions to determine whether or not a business, or individual, really needs a blog as part of my ongoing series on improving your blog tips.
Do You Have the Time For a Blog?
If you are working 12-16 hours a day, you don’t have time to add anything, let alone a blog.
If you find yourself replying to many customer service emails and phone calls, saying the same things over and over again, then consider a blog as a way to answer those questions, like a website does but with more of a conversational style. That would save some time and energy, and put a more personal face on your company.
If you have time and want to write about your company’s industry, products, services, and what’s going on with the competition, then get a blog. If you need to make regular announcements, press releases, and such, then get a blog to make the process easier and faster.
But if you don’t have time, don’t blog.
A blog takes time. It takes time to think up the content. It takes time to write it well. It takes time to edit it and prepare it for publishing. It takes time to read and respond to comments. It takes time to administrate and update your blog. It also becomes addictive, consuming even more time as it starts out being a fascinating aspect of your business.
So before you start, if you don’t have the time commitment you can make to a blog, don’t blog. There are other methods of promoting your business without a blog.
Do You Have the Content For a Blog?
How many things can you talk about with your business or service? One, two? Forty? Thousands? You might be able to talk for days about your business, but how many blog posts could you really write over time? Do you have enough to write about to create content on your blog for a year? Two? Five?
Unless you have content for your blog, don’t start a blog.
I recommend to all my clients that they think of a blog as their company’s online magazine. I ask them to spend a month writing at last three “blog posts” a week and send them to me via email for review and editing, helping them learn more about blog writing. If they can’t keep up the pace and can’t find enough to write about, then they should consider a website instead of a blog.
A blog doesn’t have to produce content that often, but it’s good preparation for an average blog post rate. If you can’t keep up three a week over a month, then how can you expect to make it for a year, two, or even five?
What Do You Really Want Your Blog to Do?
Before you start your blog, ask yourself what you really want your blog to accomplish. Do you want your blog to make you the expert in a subject, product, or service? Do you want to expand your client base beyond your community to a state, nation, or international level? Can you service that wide of a demographic?
Do you want the blog to just help you answer customer service questions, being more of a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resource or do you want to tell stories about how your business and industry works? Do you have valuable information you want to share over time with your customers?
Do you want your blog to help put a human face on your business? Do you want a way for customers to get fast answers and responses to their queries, and a way for them to experience a more personal touch from your business?
Do you want your blog to jazz things up, making your business a little more exciting?
There are a lot of reasons to have a blog, but you have to really explore what you want to accomplish with your blog, and then offset that against the time, money, and effort that will need to go into accomplishing that goal.
How Much Money Do You Think Your Blog Will Make?
The stories and myths about thousands of dollars being made on the web excites many with the get-rich-quick fever. Like anything, very few bloggers make much money, and they work very hard to get what they do.
Research has shown repeatedly that blogs generate the most income indirectly not directly. This means that ads on your blog bring in small change but the services, products, consultation, freelancing, public appearances, workshops, and other income generating efforts make even more money.
The money is made because the blog acts as showcase for your talents and services, a way of building your client base with readers, those interested in what you have to say and show on your blog. They like what you do and tell their friends about you and your blog. Your reputation grows, and your business grows accordingly.
How much money you want to make isn’t based upon how much money your blog will make. It’s based upon how much work are you willing to put into your business and how you can use your blog to generate that work.
If you want to use your blog as a showcase of your talent and expertise, then get a blog.
Do You Enjoy Networking?
Many believe that the key ingredient in the definition of a blog is that it is a conversation. You write and publish your opinion, people respond. They tell others, and they join in the conversation. Some blog conversations cover blogs, not just comments, when the topic is interesting enough.
If you aren’t into conversation as part of your business, don’t blog.
It’s about getting to know people. It’s about asking and answering questions and commiserating over issues. It’s about who said what to whom when and where and what your opinion is on the subject. It’s a big party online. It’s about the social.
If you aren’t into the social as part of your business, don’t blog.
A blog is about networking. It’s about who you know, what you know, and what others know that you find fascinating. It’s about people. It’s about connecting people. It’s about helping people. It’s about helping people find other people and reward you in turn.
If you aren’t into networking as part of your business, don’t blog.
There are a lot of questions that need to be asked before investing in a blog. Make sure all of the answers are a resounding YES and end in “I must blog” before you start your blog.
And if you have a blog and you find yourself saying no to any of these questions, it’s time to rethink the blog decision.