Small Business Owners: Blogs Don’t Bite

Use this vital tool to give your company more visibility

I can’t imagine how it feels to be thrust into a society where virtually all of your thoughts, feelings, and daily activities are posted online for the world to see.

Jarring?

Sure.

A growing necessity for budding entrepreneurs looking to sustain in an economic downturn?

Absolutely.

Blogs are one way business owners can engage customers.  But the reticence and downright fear of blogging was more than evident among many business owners at the 4th Annual Small Business Summit held in New York today. Fear of devoting time, manpower, and even figuring out how to blog were some of the concerns among many of the attendees.

Speakers on the “How to Keep and Nurture Loyal Customers” panel at the summit urged all conference attendees to start a blog or Web log. Essentially an online diary or space for commentary, blogs allow you to share your thoughts on a particular area, subject, or event, online.

Why start a blog? For an entrepreneur, blogs can help increase search engine optimization using  key words and tags. Linking to other Websites and blogs can add to the credibility of your company and you as a small business owner when increasing search engine optimization.

“Comment on industry-leading blogs. It will help you be seen in the right circles,” says Brent Leary, co-founder of CRM Essentials L.L.C., a customer relationship management firm.

Blogs can also help strengthen customer relationships through engagement. Talk to your customers and listen to what they have to say. Posts are usually short and informal. In journalism it’s called the “tell-a-friend” method. Draw in customers and potential customers. Find out what they like and more importantly dislike about your product.

“It’s a critical part for highly customized [customer] engagement,” says Jonathan Rochelle, group product manager at Google.

On a side note, I spend an obscene amount of time on blogs every day. I enjoy the type of community blogs offer. Not only is the content interesting and original, but I actively seek out blogs before purchasing a product. I want to know what other people have to say about it. Because blogs usually draw a niche audience that is familiar with a topic, I trust not only what the blogger says, but what the people that respond say too.

Xanga, WordPress, and Blogspot are just some of the Websites that let users start blogs for free.

Renita Burns is the editorial assistant at BlackEnterprise.com.

ACROSS THE WEB
  • http://www.taylorhair.com Kenneth Taylor

    Renita,

    Your article was insightful. I openly admit my reluctance to blog, mostly due to my own ignorance. At first glance, it doesn’t seem effective. But you do raise some interesting points. My business has been open now for about a year and a half. I have taken on the extraordinary challenge of jump starting a campaign to raise the level of expectation in the public eye concerning my profession right in the middle of the worst economic period I’ve seen in my adult life. Therefore, I am now open to other methods of staying visible. I’d like to know more about blogging and how to incorporate it into my lofty goals. Thanks

  • http://www.anchored4generations.com Tiffanie

    Renita,

    Your blog encouraged me to blog for my business…starting today.

    Thank you!

    Posted by Tiffanie
    Anchored 4 Generations, LLC
    http://www.anchored4generations.com

  • http://www.staff-advantage.com Andrea Dwyer

    Renita,
    I have considered starting a blog for my business but struggle with incorporating appropriate keywords for maximum search engine exposure. Do you have any recommendations on educational resources that can help with this challenge?
    Thank you

  • Nathalie

    Renita,
    I was considering launching a website for my business before I read the December 2008 edition of Black Enterprise. It featured an article about Terri Holley of Creative Blog Solutions. I was so intrigued by the article and I decided to contact Terri and gather some additional information. She discussed several reasons why I should consider a blog and tap into the social media side of doing business. This creative strategy provides a wealth of strategic marketing and business development for businesses and entrepreneurs.
    Thank you Black Enterprise for continuing to provide our community with valuable resources that positions us for excellence.

  • Renita Burns

    @Andrea Dwyer,
    A good place to start when looking for information on many things are the “…for Dummies” books. Please don’t take offense to the title. There is a Search Optimization for Dummies available at Amazon.com starting around $9. These books do a great job of breaking down foreign or complex subjects into the simplest terms. Try looking for some local free or low cost small business seminars in your area too. Good luck!

  • Renita Burns

    @Kenneth Taylor,
    Congratulations on mustering up the courage to start blogging and learn more about it. Please take a look at this article for more about maximizing your blog’s effectiveness. http://blackenterprise.com/entrepreneurs/entrepreneurs-news/2009/02/09/nine-critical-blogging-mistakes-to-avoid/

  • http://WWW.Bmic66.com Wave Taylor

    I think Blogging is a wonderful idea. I have recently started a blog
    http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=447699017) but I have not figured out how to get it to the end users. If you have any suggetsion, I am open to all ideas. I don’t think that we, as African-Americans, take full advantage of all of the technilogical tools that are available. We could prosper so much if we did. Maybe it’s because we lack confidence in our endeavors.

  • Max Smith

    Google and other search engines put a lot of importance on online media reports. If a website was featured in CNN.com, WSJ.com or other major online publications, it will rank much higher than the sites which have hundreds of link-farm-generated links. Does anybody know of a good list of PR firms specializing in online publicity? Publicity Guaranteed (PublicityGuaranteed.com) looks like an attractive option, as they only charge for the results, without any retainers or hourly rates; however they don’t do online-only publicity. AllPublicits.com seems to be the most comprehensive database of publicists and I posted there my RFP for publicists to bid on, but all resulting bids included traditional media. If I had a larger budget, I wouldn’t mind good coverage in traditional media, but I only seek publicity for my SEO campaign, so I need online publicity only