does your small business need a blog? {the time factor}

does your small business need a blog {the time factor}

Welcome to the fourth post in our series about blogging for small businesses. In part one, we explored two reasons WHY your business could benefit from a blog. Next, we considered the importance of creating quality content. Then we discussed how to identify your audience and tailor your blog to meet their needs. This week, we’ll look at the question I know is burning inside you:

How much time is this going to take?

The very thought of adding anything else to the already overcrowded list of responsibilities is enough to overwhelm even the most organized small business owner. The good news is, blogging doesn’t have to take a lot of time. A blog post doesn’t have to be an in-depth article with four points and a poem. Each post will probably take about an hour total, maybe less time as you get used to doing it.

Wondering about how to create quick content?  In the post on creating quality content, we discussed several ways to brainstorm ideas. Here are just a few more ideas for creating quick and useful content.

  1. Use images to tell the story. If you are a boutique owner, share a photo of your latest arrivals and a quick tip about styling them.
  2. Build a resource elsewhere and link to it. For example, a hair salon might want to do a quick post about summer hair care and then link to their Pinterest board with different summer styles.
  3. Answer a question. Think about the common questions you get asked and answer one in every blog post. A landscaper might want to create a list of shade-loving plants.
  4. Offer ideas to your customers. A coffee shop could do an, “If you like this drink, you might also like this one” type post.
  5. Spotlight your employees or even your top customers. People connect with people!

Each of these ideas could easily be completed in an hour. Remember, your blog posts don’t have to be newspaper or magazine articles.  People like brevity and they are more likely to share concise and useful content.

When should I blog?

Most small business owners don’t have time to spend hours developing content and editing blog posts. You’re a busy bunch of people! For most small businesses a weekly blog is more than sufficient. In fact, for many a twice-monthly posting schedule is ideal. The key is consistency. It’s better to start blogging once every other Friday and then build up to every Friday as you get into a system than it is to start like gangbusters and then fall off into oblivion.

With my clients I always suggest the following:

  • Don’t post the first blog until you have at least 3 more posts ready to go. Give yourself room to breathe.
  • Develop a system or a rotation for your posts. For example, if you are going to do weekly posts create a rotation like tips, lists, questions, and spotlight. That way you know what you need to write and it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.
  • Build an editorial calendar based on the cycle of your business. This will also help you brainstorm post ideas.  Consider what information your customers need based on seasons, holidays, etc., and tailor your blog posts to meet their needs.

The bottom line is this:  You control your blog, it doesn’t control you!  It’s always better to do less well than more halfway.  

How could developing a editorial calendar help you plan your blog posts?