Thursday, February 23, 2017

Be authoritative without being an author

One of the classiest – and most cost-effective – promotional tactics for small businesses is content marketing. Being the one the news reporter calls for a quote takes reputation and a fair amount of luck (or a whopper of a public relations budget). Blogging ranks second only to getting tabbed as the ‘expert’ quoted in a news piece.
First things first: Becky’s Bytes is a blog and this piece is a blog as well. Also known as a post. Or an article. The word comes from web log, which is too long of a moniker in our digital age, so techies yanked out the ‘we’ and a space. From my own experience, space and ‘we’ are things you’ll want to keep IN a blog: If people see too many words and not enough space around them, they won’t read it… and if you make it all about you, they won’t read it either.
Creating and maintaining your reputation and putting it out there on the internet and social media offers two advantages getting to be the news reporter’s go-to source however.

1)      Blogging is nearly immediate! A well-written article can ‘go live’ as quickly as you can post it – or as quickly as your website manager can get to it if you are using a service provider. Let’s say you’re in the auto-repair business. A hail storm sweeps through our area. You can have an article about auto finish restoration on social media and the internet before the storm is over.

2)      Blogging is inexpensive. You need a platform, which can be as simple as a Facebook page. Those are still free. There are other resources more effective and more visible to search engines, too. Blogger (by Google) is one of many no- or low-cost blog platforms.

The caveat here is that it can be very costly when done poorly. If you don’t craft your message with keywords that get your business noticed, the value of the time/money put into blogging is wasted. If you’re not a good wordsmith or are prone to typos and grammar missteps, the result is a turn-off for potential customers looking for your expertise. The best landscaper in town could put out a sloppy blog and down goes Frazier… and not the tree. Cutting and pasting may help you look good, but it’s illegal. Hitting ‘send’ instead of ‘delete’ has tanked more relationships – business or otherwise – than we ever consider. Why? Because the internet IS permanent.
This brings me back to the first of Becky’sBytes on outsourcing. You know what you’re doing in your profession: Find someone you trust if blogging isn’t your strength. Your reputation and your next set of clients depend on it.

Photo: Melpomene, used with permission.

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