How to Blog Effectively to Market Your Small Business

Twitter tweetchatOn Thursday 24th June 2010 Beth Schillaci, President and Founder of VillageWorks Communications, an entrepreneur was the guest for a small business Tweetchat. A tweetchat is a conversation on Twitter where participants connect the conversation by searching for keywords known as hashtags and respond to them. This Tweetchat had the #smallvolution hashtag for following Tweetchats.

There was such great info in the chat and here is a summary of the questions and answers from the participants.

What should small businesses consider when looking to start blogging?

  • When thinking about blogging, companies should think about goals first. What info you want to share and who will blog
  • Content creation  -getting in habit of looking at daily business from blogging perspective (@eyeinfo)
  • Reasons to blog: Thought leadership, education, seo, branding, customer service and event promo
  • The blog is the hub or center of your business community, usually. Another key reason to maintain a blog w/social links (@CreativeSage)
  • Your biz blog is also a content mgmt system- tag, archive, categorize, track posts/comments, RSS, objects…(@loudoun)

How important is adding some branding/personality to your small biz blog?

  • I think customers love to see/hear the personality of a company (@bethschillaci)

Are there pros/cons to a single person blogging versus a group of people participating in the blog, esp. for small biz?

  • A group spreads the responsibility but best for 1 person to be the main point of contact
  • small business with a single blogger time constraints can be tasking
  • A group I work with has spread it across 12 people to lessen time commitment. #smallvolution One person is main editor
  • You can also invite Guest blog posts from customers and associates to help make it a multi team of bloggers (@shashib)
  • Having your own blog is a great way to promote your message and position as a thought leader/expert
  • A group spreads the responsibility but best for 1 person to be the main point of contact (@bethschillaci)
  • Blogging helped me find my inner author, never published before, finding it challenging, fun, rewarding @eyeinfo

How do you generate blog post ideas?

  • @bethschillaci questions left in comments on other blogs (or yahoo answers etc) make great blog post topics.
  • Honestly try to tie pop culture to Smallbiz – Ex: http://bit.ly/dd8gK5 (@kikscore)
  • This is huge: 6 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Blog by @lisabarone via @Smallbiztrends http://bit.ly/9GSCQ7 (@TJMcCue:)

If multiple team members share a blog, how do you maintain a voice/tone?

  • Voice can vary by author but overall goals should be shared by the group

Should SEO be a top consideration when starting a Blog?

  • SEO is a great goal but for a business blog, I feel that producing content that is useful to the reader is most important (@bethschillaci)
  • SEO should be a constant consideration for your blog, but content is always King. SEO is a tool.
  • Creating content that is useful to the reader only helps SEO. The two cooperate, not compete. (@bencookNS)
  • Mix up your blog posts with video, pictures, and audio some times. (@bethschillaci)

How do you find the right blog for your interests?  I have tried goggling but not sure I really am finding what is out there

  • blogsearch.google.com/ good place 2 start
  • maybe the first step is to search for blogs  in your field and comment there

What is the most effective frequency for blogging – daily? Weekly?

  • Blogging weekly is hard but keeping an editorial calendar might help.
  • Reports say the more the better. I’m a fan of quality over quantity. No less than once a week.
  • If it’ s just U blogging, try 2 post once a week consider posting a photo w/a short tag line as a  post when stretched 4 time

Any recommendations for ways to promote a new blog, gain an audience

  • Promote new blog by commenting on other blogs, linking  other social accts add to email signature
  • Remember when adding RSS to your blog, also offer subscription by email. Feedburner is great for this (@bethschillaci)
  • Negative comments can definitely be good for generating conversation (@bethschillaci)
  • I want my blog to be secondary to my content.  So, I actually want a link to my blog on my main website. (@YaoTyus)

How important are niches, to blogging?

  • A niche allows you to focus your blog more easily. For business blog, stick with your business niche.
  • People with tighter niches tend to do better with attracting audience and advertisers (@bethschillaci)

Do you recommend WordPress over Blogger?

I like self-hosted over free blogs. Better control, better customization no changing terms of service. (@bethschillaci)

  • I prefer #WordPress & recommend using it on your own domain. Keep the link juice you attract! ( @skitzzo)
  • Recommend WordPress more customizable, better built-in SEO, thousands of great plug-ins, helpful community (@creativesage)
  • yes use WordPress, also have to ensure blog hosted on your web domain for max exposure (@andrewsmith1443)
  • Hosting your blog on your site (yoursite.com/blog) means links to the blog will help your entire site’s rankings. (@bencookNS)
  • When setting up your self-hosted blog, add comment spam filter and analytics (@bethschillaci)
  • Most of the blog templates that I see seem to have a set format that is blog centralized. (@YaoTyus)
  • You don’t have to have the blog on home page. My site www.villageworks.net is built on WordPress (@bethschillaci)
  • Have you looked at Joomla? It is a comprehensive CMS and very powerful.  (@lavanyad)

What is SEO ?

  • SEO is the art of getting your site to rank higher in searches. It stands for Search Engine Optimization. (@benCookNS)

Any good examples of small biz blogs?

  • Here’s an example of a local, small business blog from @smartdogu http://smartdog.typepad.com/
  • A great example of small biz blog success is @eyeinfo http://eyeinfo.wordpress.com
  • Here is on http://bit.ly/c4lLEy

I have been blogging for a while now but am still not very clued up on how to monetize effectively

  • Monetization can be done several ways. @problogger is a great resource for monetization (@bethschillaci)

Is there recommended developer or type of person or resource for finding a website develop

  • Ask for referrals from people that have sites you like. (@bethschillaci)
  • You need to find someone you are comfortable with.  IMO the more nerdy the better- look for less sales, more nerd. (@ckieff)

Any tips on what to avoid when blogging?

  • People sometimes fear negative comments. I say B prepared, have comments policy & open them up 4 comments. (@bethschillaci)
  • Try to avoid constant selling. Provide information that educates and resonates with your audience. (@bethschillaci)
  • Social media and blogging do not live on their own. Integration is key (@creativesage)
  • SM strategy works best if it’s integrated with your entire bus. dev, mktg, PR & CRM/SCRM, rather than just in sep. parts. (@creativesage)
  • Tie it all into one message and take it to where the audience is. (@creativeSage)
  • We sometimes get hung up on each detail, not seeing the whole context enough. Multiple channels.. (@Creativesage)

How important is it to use photos and/or videos when blogging? Where can I get free or low cost images?

  • I like to use a bunch of photos if possible (under a cut).  I take most of my own. (@bethschillaci)
  • I blog you blog everyone blogs. What gets readers back? Multi-media content does  (@lotajune)
  • Add media to your blogs- if you write a recap of this tweetchat here is a picture for you http://flic.kr/p/8cZZ2M (@shashib)
  • Research all the different Creative Commons licenses before using Flickr pics. Some are not for biz use. (@ckieff)
  • I come back to a blog if it’s interesting, intelligent, and has personality. Multimedia doesn’t really matter. (@jesshibb)
  • Take your own photos if at all possible. If you look for photos on Flickr, make sure you respect copyright/CC. (@jesshibb)

I blog at http://lavanyad.com – used to do so frequently but have lately lost my mojo.

  • I’ve had the same problem, here is what I did to help http://bit.ly/aRl2fI (@bethschillaci)

Here is a question that needs another chat or for you readers to comment and point us to more resources .Any suggestions for technical step-by-step set-up  process for new bloggers?

The article was possible only because of the excellent discussion and conversation by the participants of the #smallvolution tweetchat . Thank you.

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