Myth #1: Aren't blogs just for teenagers writing diaries for themselves?
If this is your idea of what blogs are, you are in for a treat. Most people who don't "get" blogs have never read blogs. The main thing to realize is that blogs are about you. When you find a blog, you read it because the writer is discussing a subject that you feel passionate about. Powerful tools allow you to find blogs about almost any subject, and out of the millions of blogs that are out there, you are sure to find ten that pull at your heartstrings and make your life richer. If you are brand new to blogs, you might be interested in starting out with the most popular blogs on the planet. Some of these blogs boast more than one million visitors a day! See lists at The Truth Laid Bear or Technorati.
Myth #2: My company doesn't need a blog.
Yes it does. The top five reasons your company needs a blog are:
blogs generate huge internet traffic compared to traditional small business websites from search engines and from inbound links
blogs allow you the opportunity to educate your customers thoroughly about your products and services
blogs allow you to promote your new products, sales, and promotions to a captive audience
blogs allow you to hear what your customers needs and ideas are through their comments
blogs attract attention in your industry and establish you as an industry leader
If these aren't enough reasons, how about my list of 101 reasons.
Myth #3: Blogging takes too much time.
Solid small business blogs can be maintained for about 15 minutes a day. That's 75 minutes per (5 day) week, at 3 posts a week is about 25 minutes a post. In 25 minutes you can:
write about a product your company just made
post a letter from a customer
write your opinion of an article you read about your industry
write a bio of one of your employees
These are all great post subjects, but only scratch the surface of what can and should be written about. While you may not have 75 minutes "extra" in your work week as it is, this may be the best 75 minutes of your week. In this time you will reconnect with your customers, learn something new about your field, reinforce your company's mission, and attract customers you never would have reached through any other method.
Myth #4: Creating a blog is hard.
There are dozens of companies that make blogging platforms that take about 15 minutes to set up and allow you to start posting as easily as writing an email. To make it easier, narrow it down to Typepad, Wordpress, and Blogger. To make it even easier, use Typepad...I do.
Myth #5: Writing a blog is hard.
Posts don't have to be long to be effective. It's not like writing a research paper. In fact, grammar and spelling are not even a huge concern on a blog, although running your post through MS Word's grammar and spell checks before posting your article is always a good idea. Readers are accepting of less-than-professional writing if they are finding the information that is important to them.
Or, perhaps you aren't the right person at your company who should be writing the blog. Not everyone is cut out to enjoy blogging, but someone else in the company might love the challenge. There is absolutely nothing that says a small business blog has to be written by the owner or CEO. In fact, some of the best small business blogs are written by several of the employees of the company. Mäni's Bakery is a great example.
Myth #6: No one is going to read my blog.
"If you build it, they will come," is an over used term in the blog world, and while it isn't really this easy, it's not far from the truth. The more content you add, the more likely people will be to find something on your site to link to. The more people that link to you, the higher you rise on search engine rankings. This creates a cycle that may take 4-6 months, but in general, you will build an audience as long as you keep at it with 2-3 posts a week.
Myth #7: Blogs get companies into trouble.
Big companies have gotten into trouble with blogs. Their blogs have leaked information, said inappropriate things, or have ignored customer's outcries. This is not a problem small businesses have to worry about. You will have total control of your content either because you write it, or you are directly in touch with the person who is going to write it. Practice good customer service, restrain yourself from blasting your commenters (who will not always be nice), and moderate any other employee's posts before they go 'live' on the blog.
Myth #8: Negative comments on my blog will ruin my company's reputation.
Readers are not always going to be nice. Some will be unhappy with a product or service you provided, or about something you wrote. How you respond to these comments is what determines your reputation on your blog. Always be gracious and provide excellent customer service and your blog will serve to reinforce your position as a strong customer service minded company.
Myth #9: A blog will let my competition know too much about me.
While your competition knows more about you than you know about them, your customers do too. Customers tend to do business with people they know the most about. Keep in mind, you're not writing about company secrets on your blog, just educating the public on your products and your company's culture.
Myth #10: Blogs are a fad.
There is no reason blogs are going to disappear in the next ten years. They may evolve, but not disappear. Some say podcasts or video blogs will replace them as internet connections get faster and faster, but why would they. Podcasts and video blogs take considerably more time and resources to create than blog posts. It's similar to television...did it make the radio disappear? And radio...did it make the newspaper disappear? All three options are still enjoyed by millions and provide advertisers with useful mediums to sell their products. Blogs are the next thing. They aren't the last thing, but the next thing, and they aren't going away any time soon.
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