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It is generally maintained by online marketers that pretty much any business with online presence needs a blog.

“Get a blog!” say many how-to online marketing pamphlets. “Create valuable content”, says Google, and valuable content often means just that – quality articles published on your blog.

However, what if you are a small brick-and-mortar restaurant and all you can think of in terms blogging topics is writing about your special of the day, should you really go for it?

Your blog is all about the customer

Before starting a corporate blog, ask yourself this important question:

HOW WILL THE EXISTENCE OF MY BLOG BENEFIT MY CURRENT/POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS?

If you have a difficulty answering this question, odds are you want to do it for all the wrong reasons.

Today, many business owners feel compelled to have a blog just because everyone else has one. However, there could be better ways of executing your content marketing strategy (we’ll talk about it later) than actually killing it with a blog without a purpose.

So, if your gut feeling advises you against creating a blog, yet the voice of consciousness doesn’t let you say the final “No”, read on – you may find this post useful.

What a corporate blog is NOT

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Many people misunderstand what corporate blogs are all about. As a result, they spend a lot of time and resources in vain, while these could be put to better use.

It’s wrong to think of your blog as:

1. A place where you only post company news and promo materials

2. A section of your site that you can keep updated sporadically, whenever you feel like

3. A place where you post entertaining stuff not relevant to your biz

4. A space with SEO’ed “content” which you created primarily for the search engines

5. Something you have just in order to be able to add fresh content to your site

Although the above points may be legit reasons for starting a blog, if these are the only reasons you have – better consider other options.

For example, one moving company in Chicago has a blog linked-to from their site which doesn’t do much for them if you ask me. At a glance, it even looks like it was created for SEO purposes, because there is no engagement whatsoever: I didn’t spot any comments or shares there.

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So, although upon closer inspection it seems they spent quite a lot of time creating that content, the blog itself leaves much to be desired: it could use more reliable hosting (as opposed to being hosted on WordPress for free), and one could actually bother to remove those default WordPress links in the bottom right corner.

Some great alternative to having a blog

Again, when making that decision for or against having a blog, think of:

– Why you need it in the first place;

– Whether there’s a better way to achieve the goals you have in mind.

It is possible that you’ve simply never thought of other options you may have that would help you achieve the same goals, but without setting up a blog.

1. Create a knowledge base

Sometimes, a business owner would like to educate their clients about the topics he/she has expertise in. What’s normally used for this purpose is so-called “evergreen content” created around some timeless topics in your niche.

So, if you know that the scope of such topics is limited and that you won’t be able to keep adding in-depth articles on a regular basis, you may be better off creating a Knowledge Base or something similar instead of a blog.

For instance, GetResponse, a company that offers email marketing solutions, has a great Learning Center where they educate their audiences on various email marketing matters and beyond.

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2. Get a press room/news sections

Chances are your company is doing email marketing, press release marketing or simply has news to report from time to time. If that’s the case, having a “News”, “In Press” or a similar page on your site definitely helps.

For example, Le Labo, a perfume and fragrances store in downtown Manhattan has a “Press Review” and a “News” section on their site. Each time I move the mouse over a particular magazine cover in the collage, a new article appears. Neat!

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3. Set up a FAQ base

A FAQ (frequently asked questions) page is often a good way to rank your website for certain question people may be typing in when searching for things on Google.

For example, Manhattan Shoe Repair have this FAQ section on their website where they answer all sorts of shoe-related questions people may have:

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4. Create a special offers section

Instead of creating a blog to post your special offers, you could create a separate section on your site for that. In many ways, it’s a better solution since it will be very clear to your visitors what is being posted in this part of your site.

For example, a Belgian restaurant called Petite Abeille has a “Promotions” area where they write about the latest deals, offers and giveaways for their customers.

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5. Leverage social media

There are tons of arguments as to why small business should tap into social media. First, it can be a great communication outlet in the modern world where a brand is expected to be found on at least some major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Second, social media can be a great tool for spreading your brand message, sharing relevant content with your audience and perhaps offering customer support.

So, to do all these things, you may not really need a blog where you’ll have to deal with challenges like finding topics to write about or dealing with comment spam (plus, having comment spam on your blog could land you in trouble with Google these days).

By the way, you don’t need to create an account on each social network under the sun. Just pick one or two you are comfortable with and remember to keep them updated and monitored on a regular basis.

Just please, make sure you don’t run your page like these guys. Although probably appreciated by some fans, their page looks monotonous with nearly identical images of their special menu posted week after week:

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Final words

To sum up what was said above, it’s not always that a company (especially if it’s a small business) needs a blog. It may be the case that, as your business grows, the niche in which you operate or the resources available to you get expanded.

If that happens, you may reconsider your approach and perhaps start a blog. Until then, think twice and think of other (often better) ways of talking to and reaching your audience.

Image credit: Nationaal Archief on Flickr .