Startups prefer online promotion over offline promotion because the former is cost-effective and yet often has shown definite results. Because blogging is the default window leading to online promotion, more and more brands are getting into it these days.
For a small business on a shoestring budget, investing time and resources in blogging is a better option tha other marketing alternatives. Blogging can aid in getting a high ranking on search engines and in gaining social media visibility?
But anything beyond that?
The Benefits of Blogging for Small Businesses
Let’s find out:
Establishes Thought Leadership
Blogging is instrumental in establishing thought leadership. Small firms need it more than their big counterparts. That’s because big companies can spend money and skip intermediate phases in the sales funnel. But small businesses have to pass through them.
Contrary to what many believe, thought leadership is not simply an accompanying factor in the sales cycle. It impacts a customer’s purchasing decisions when he’s on the payment page. The ORM overdose has made average customers suspicious about the claims made by brands about their products. But customers are less suspicious about industry thought leaders.
Another benefit of thought leadership is it attracts efficient employees, who might otherwise work in big companies. Some of those employees feel the corporate houses are soulless places to work. Big companies don’t allow employees to perform fully up to their potential. Small brands, especially the ones that are thought leaders, grant them this privilege. What’s funny about thought leadership is it doesn’t go hand in hand with paid efforts. Customers always take promotion with a pinch of salt.
Organic efforts, especially blogging, establishes thought leadership.
Blogging makes content planning easy for brands. In fact, the two are not separate. Brands that excel in blogging are those that plan their content in a meticulous way.
How exactly is content planning beneficial for startups?
Proper content planning can save cost and increase ROI. Brands, both big and small, unnecessarily shell out money due to wrong content planning. Big brands may not keep track of every dime they spend, but small businesses do. Cost-cutting and ROI increase are the focal points.
The following are essential for content planning:
- Consumer demographics,
- Problems consumers face, and
- How branded products offer up solutions.
Of the factors above, some help brands to understand customer idea feedback. The next step of content planning is drafting the content in accordance with such feedback. Audience reactions can clue marketers in on the acceptability of the posts they publish. Once they garner audience appreciation, they can move on with the accompanying writing style.
Strategizing each step is content planning. Content planning helps to measure content marketing ROI, which is difficult otherwise. In the absence of industry-approved publishing metrics, proxies like virality and engagement factors are used. But via content planning, we can figure out more rigorous ROI measurement factors.
Monetizing the Blog
Very few give it a serious thought. They should because the majority of startup companies are bootstrapped. Blog monetization can be an alternative way for them to make money. It’s not rocket-science. There are ample resources on how to create a money-making blog from scratch.
Some hold monetizing a blog reduces the odds of establishing thought leadership. That’s not true. Making the site cluttered with ads is not a good idea, but paid promotion via in-text links (to a limited extent, of course) and giving favorable reviews to sponsors are great ways to monetize a site without putting banner ads on it.
Other than financial benefits, blog monetization can help startups expand their network. As they explore the financial opportunities, they can partner with other bloggers and with industry influencers. They may hop onto the money-making bandwagon if given a chance.
Startups don’t hate DIY as much as big brands do. That’s because big enterprises can take care of all product related needs of customers — from packaging to promotion. Startups, on the other hand, offer specific services targeted at specific requirements.
Customers who go for DIY may need supporting tools and additional services. They expect these at lower cost, which rules big brands out of the equation. Only small businesses can understand and meet their requirements. Here’s an example:
Let’s say a small business operates in the chimney flue manufacturing industry. On the blog page of its site, it can offer guidelines on how to install a new chimney flue. A homeowner can do the installation himself, but he needs to buy the flue from a store. This is how small businesses can endorse DIY and yet publish how-to guides on their sites.
Tutorials and how-to type posts can quickly draw reader’s attention. How-to-led DIY can make someone successful in his endeavor or result in failure. The first outcome adds authenticity to the procedure detailed by the blogger (the small business). The second outcome prompts readers to get back to the blogger with questions, leading to a long trail of interactions. Hence, how-to posts lead to a win-win situation.
Startups aim to secure funding from venture capitalists. VC firms invest in businesses which they deem worthy of investing. How do they decide whether to invest in a startup or not?
They calculate the possible ROI based on speculations.
For a small business, it’s tough to convince investors that funding it will bring them good ROI. Approaching the investors, and for that matter reaching them, is the first hurdle. Persuading them to invest is the next. And do bear in mind that as a startup, you have to jump all these hurdles without sounding pushy and without bragging about yourself.
Blogging is an excellent way to get noticed by big players. There’s no dearth of platforms if drawing the attention of the big players is on your mind. Admins of third-party B2B blogs will be delighted to publish your posts, provided these posts are useful and offer new information. Then there are publishing platforms like Pulse. LinkedIn is where most of the VC guys are. And they hover over Pulse articles for new insights.
From your blog, people running VC firms will come to know about your achievements, methodology and innovations. You can even present case studies to bolster your claims. From case studies, investors can get a glimpse of your firm’s internal workflow and business process. If they are impressed by these, they may invest. Choose relevant topics, do a lot of research and offer solutions. In short, give VC firms all the reasons to notice you in the crowd.
In the era of content marketing, blogging is bound to help a business climb up the ladder of success. However, the efforts put into it must be precision-guided. The five tips shared here can make sure of that.
Blogger Photo via Shutterstock