I’d be misleading you if I said blogging for your business is the easiest thing in the world to do. I clearly have my own issues with blogging regularly on this website even though the cartoon at left demonstrates very clearly the main components of what constitutes a blog. The trick to getting Google and other search engines to show off your website when people search key topics to your business is by keeping it fresh and new, which means adding new insights on that topic on a pretty regular basis.
Easier said than done.
Some believe it is just a matter of finding the time, some believe it is a matter of predetermining your selection of topics to publish a regular blog entry, and the majority believe it means you have to have the prolific writing skills of a popular author. I know it would be good for me to create a list of topics I am likely to discuss with a prospective client and get them all mapped out, regardless of what is going on the real world. But that might leave out timely topics such as the recent threat of issuing a requirement in revenues law here in Massachusetts, the so-called “tech tax”. I had planned to do a running commentary on the Tech Tax arguments here but now it seems to have become a moot point since the state legislature and governor are doing a furious back-pedal on passing this ill-conceived piece of law though I will consider doing a postmortem on the topic very soon.
When I ponder what to blog about, I usually come to the same answer: tell my as-yet-to-be-met clients what I would say to them if I were doing a Q & A about what their business needs. I come up with two main points:
What misconceptions do potential clients have about what you do?
It could be they think anyone can do what you do. In terms of internet presence, many business owners think that a high school teen who knows a lot about computers and always being on social media can translate that into an effective internet branding and social media strategy for them. However, if they apply their knowledge of what works with their friends will it translate effectively to your clients who may be a whole different generation apart? True, the young generation who are using the web and social media with great facility to communicate now may, I hope, learn that sometimes highly coded messages of only 140 characters is not going to allow you to say what needs to be said effectively. Business blogging is better with deeper content.
In one of my favorite industries, the tree care industry, it is not as simple as having a pickup truck and a chain saw to deal with pruning branches or total removal of a tree. You need insurance (that costs), you need well-maintained equipment (that costs), you need safety measures (that costs), and you need training (that costs). Otherwise you could have a lawsuit for a worker’s catastrophic injury (that costs), a house that’s bashed in by a tree coming down (that costs), or a deceased parent, child, spouse, or best friend (that REALLY costs).
What would you like your prospective clients to know about the products or services you offer?
I have found the best doctors are the ones who applaud a patient who has looked at high quality information on a syndrome or illness. By high quality, I mean websites from the main government clearinghouses of medical information and research (National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control , etc.) and research facilities like universities and top clinics (Johns Hopkins University, Mayo Clinic, etc.) When a patient knows what the options are based on best practices described, they can engage in a more productive conversation with their doctor on the next steps instead of using valuable time on learning all the details from scratch. How can you help a prospective client become educated enough to be closer to a decision to use your expertise?
Business blogging can demonstrate your know-how to the prospect and make them feel more inclined to call on you for business. You can also use business blogging to show your personality a bit more, like writing about how your hobbies or interests add a dimension to you as a business person. In my own life, spending many hours looking out for various species of birds has helped me fine tune my skills of observing and identifying the subtle differences between things that may look the same to others. This supports my skills in proof reading and quality assurance by fine tuning my ability to pick out patterns pretty quickly.
Don’t expect to hit a home-run at every turn “at bat”
While the above header is true, you can (and I can) do more to improve your ability to connect each time you go to post something. After all, you’re not doing this for laughs. Hubspot, the industry oracle on all things social media and marketing through the internet, notes that one of the best thing you can do is to check to see what your readers would like to see on your blog. So I will ask now: what do you want to know about Your Virtual Sherpa (keep it professional, people!) and are there any questions you’d like to ask about using technology to boost your small business?