The Things We Should Know About Blogging For SME’s.
When considering using blogs for the small B&B business in Brighton, I had to think to myself, how do you get the views and interest of a small businesses target audience? I have had personal experience reading blogs but I read blogs that are interesting and relevant to my lifestyle; whether that be reading about diet or exercise tips, recipes, or travel guides. These blogs are generally written by a popular ‘blogger’ and not by actual companies. So I find myself asking are companies blogs a successful marketing tool?
Blog posts appear to be gaining momentum as a tool for marketing and are used for strategies and processes, such as; branding, managing reputation, developing customer trust and loyalty, and promoting a company’s online presence. However, there is very little research and blog posts generally seem to be adopted by larger corporations rather than the small to medium businesses. The reason as to why is unclear as the SME may benefit from the relatively low budget marketing tool (Chuah, Deans & Parker 2009). With this in consideration, the question for this blog post is to determine how SME’s could benefit from this form of digital marketing and what would make for a successful blog post?
The first important point to consider is that SME’s should not be considered as homogeneous and that this marketing technique may not be suitable for every business. It depends on the type of customers a business carries on whether a blog post is necessary or effective, for example, do the customers use or take notice of blogs, is the type of product going to gain interest through blogs, and customer preference i.e. if the customers prefer a face-to-face approach/ have trust in online resources (ibid). A study by Kaye & Johnson (2011) found that there was seven types of blog post deemed to be highly credible by users, which are; general information, media/ journalism, war, military, political, corporate and personal blogs. This provides the insight to suggest blog posts could be a beneficial marketing tool for SME corporations.
Some Key Things to Consider When Making a Successful Blog Campaign:
Reputation and Trust
One of the key ways companies, small through to large, are using blogs is to gain reputation and trust by showing the company in a more personal way to the customer. It also allows a two way street of communication with the customer, to hear opinions and values in a kind of discussion (Chuah, 2009).
If the blog you are about to embark on creating is not adding value to the customer experience it will likely fail. One of the biggest tips to adding value to a blog is by going bigger than just your company and brand; instead look to the market that your brand is situated in. This can be done through getting outside blog experts in the industry to contribute to the companies blog or guides to customers. It is worth to note that sales messages should be delivered as low key as possible to gain a trust with the readers (Social Media Examiner, 2011).
Here is an Example of How This Can Be Done:
Citrix uses this strategy for their work/lifestyle blog that really downplays their involvement and concentrates on creating interesting content for their readers .It is based on creating a better working lifestyle and doesn’t focus on their product of business software (ibid).
Blogs are a great way of creating more brand awareness as they invite readers to read, not just solely about a product or service, but a wider market that they are interested. This is a good thing for when the customer then wants to search for a product or service as this brand is already remembered from another source (Ho et al. 2015).
Killer Titles Make the Difference
The title of a blog post determines whether it is read or just scrolled past, and if it is shared. This is why the ultimate importance is to create a compelling title that will attract traffic and shares. Some of the commonly used phrases that work are:
- ’10 things you need to know about…’
- ‘Make sure…’
- ‘The secret trick to…’
- ’10 things you should know…’
- ‘How [your field/ hobby] is like [interesting/ novel example]
- How I did [something unbelievable/ interesting achievement]
- Positive adjectives e.g. amazing, awesome, intelligent, sexy, incredible etc. Using these words is likely to benefit the SEO of a blog.
- Are you making this mistake that’s [leading to a bad result]?
- How do you do [activity]?
- ’10 simple ways to improve [activity/ role]?
These simple phrases are a way to bridge the curiosity gap as it creates an emotional response e.g. ‘a mental itch’ that finding out or seeking the knowledge will ‘scratch’ . This creates a direction that companies should take when creating blogs as opening them is the first and possibly the most important step (Wish Pond, 2013). Retaining customers by adding value in my opinion is the second.
It is a simple way to get customers to share their opinions, not just about the company, but the content in general. For example, the Marriot did this by getting Bill Marriot, one of the biggest corporate blogger, to blog about his visits to over 300 hotels around the world. This encouraged users to respond to the stays they found relevant to them (Grow, 2015).
Blogs as stated above are better to create awareness of a company and brand, so do not expect as soon as you create a blog that sales and leads will be created, although this could be a long term result or a side-effect (Serps, 2015). With this in mind a few of these considerations stated above could improve a company’s blog strategy and content, as they are definitely a beneficial marketing tool.
Chuah, A., Deans, K. & Parker, C (2009) Exploring the types of SME’s which could use blogs as a marketing tool: a proposed future research agenda. Australian Journal of Information Systems. Vol. 16, No. 1.
Grow (2015) The 10 best company blogs in the world. [Online] < http://www.businessesgrow.com/2011/01/05/the-10-best-corporate-blogs-in-the-world/> [accessed 15/04/2015]
Ho, C., Chiu, k., Chen, H & Papazafeiropoulou, A. (2015) Can internet blogs be used as an effective advertising tool? The role of product blog type and brand awareness. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, Vol. 28, No. 3 pp. 346 – 362.
Johnson, T. & Kaye, B. (2011) Hot Diggity Blog: A Cluster Analysis Examining Motivations and Other Factors for Why People Judge Different Types of Blogs as Credible. Mass Communication and Society, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 236-263.
Serps (2015) The actual purpose of business blogging is not what you think. [Online] < https://blog.serps.com/the-actual-purpose-of-business-blogging-is-not-what-you-think/> [accessed 15/04/2015]
Social Media Examiner (2011) 10 top business blogs and why they are successful. [Online] < http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/10-top-business-blogs-and-why-they-are-successful/> [accessed 15/04/2015]
Social Media Examiner (2014) How to create a successful business blog [Online] < http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/create-successful-business-blog/> [accessed 15/04/2015]
Wish Pond (2013) 10 sure-fire blog title formulas that attract readers. [Online] < http://blog.wishpond.com/post/60276168559/10-sure-fire-blog-title-formulas-that-attract-readers/> [accessed 15/04/2015]