We all read blogs to get a sense of what is going on with the world. We read informational blogs, entertainment blogs, and solely news related blogs. Never has it been easier for an individual to have his or her voice published. The same opportunity is available for small businesses, but should you join the blogging community? ABSOLUTELY! Blogs provide a platform for you business to send a clear message to your customers. Below are the 5 W’s regarding blogging and why you should jump on board.

Who?
Yes, your business is the obvious who. However, make sure you address who specifically will be in charge of your blog. Often, small businesses hire a marketing intern for this job. This is a great idea. First, make sure that the blog author is aware of a few important things. The blogger should have a clear understanding of the purpose and mission statement behind your business. Tailor blog content not only to issues surrounding your business, but expand your articles to include different types of customers. You want your blog to be a clear representation of what your business is all about while appealing to a wide audience.

What?
What should you blog about? If you are a new start-up you could blog about the issues you faced- create a trouble shooting entry. Think about your community as a whole and blog about your industry. Do you know of other products, applications or ideas that will help your community? For example, if you are a bakery and recently changed the type of eggs you buy due to how it affects your product, blog about that experience. Offer relevant advice. Go nuts! One word of caution- If you’re going to pump out regular content that is meaningful, you obviously need to blog about a topic in which you’re knowledgeable, thoughtful and passionate. Without these three things your content may be ill received, if read at all.

When?
How often should I blog? This can be a difficult question to answer. Professional bloggers often update daily, sometimes twice a day. This is not recommended for small businesses. A few times a week, at most once a day, is a good schedule. Although you do not want huge lag time between entries, it can be beneficial to let your entry ‘simmer’ for a few days to gain attention. Also- most online blog traffic occurs between 9a.m. and 2p.m EST. Therefore, post your blog in the early afternoon.

Where?
Where do I publish my blog? Several publication options exist. Check out sites such as WordPress.com, blogspot.com and Tumblr.com. These sites will walk you through the steps to creating your blog including your background colors, linking it to other sites and actually publishing. If your business has a website, and it absolutely should, it is often smart to provide a link to your blog on your site. Often, customers cannot get a sense of ‘who you are’ by solely looking at your website. Also, posting a link to your blog on Facebook or Twitter can also increase traffic. Your blog can be your voice. Connect with the customer and let them know what you are all about.

Why?
Spread the news about your small business! If you care about accessing customers, reaching an audience, communicating your vision, influencing people in your industry, marketing your services or just plain engaging in a dialog with others in your industry a blog is a great way to achieve this.

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