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Many of my small business clients ask me: "What is a blog and do I need one?" As a marketing consultant and business coach, I too had to address those questions in my own business.
A blog is a form of online journal that business owners use to develop customer relationships and establish credibility. Blog authors write and post relevant content frequently - daily, every couple of days or weekly.
After publishing an ezine for some time, I decided to give up my monthly ezine for a blog. Of course I could do both -- for the more points of contact with my target the better. But for now, I'll share my top seven reasons why I choose to blog over a monthly ezine:
Interactivity: Blogging puts the humanity in technology. Readers can leave comments and respond to each other. Adding video and audio to a blog also significantly enrich the learning experience, allowing for various learning styles. Ezines on the other hand, are fairly static.
Convenience & Ease: I can communicate with my audience quickly and efficiently without the elaborate set-up and content requirements of an HTML ezine.
Inexpensive: Lots of blogs are free. For example www.blogger.com. I like Typepad at www.typepad.com. For a minimal charge of $4.95 per month, I get a professional looking blog with upgraded features. Compare with a professional ezine/contact management program costing $19 per month.
Increases Visibility: Search engine spiders love blogs for the simple reason that they constantly seek new content. Frequent postings are crucial for success. As a result, bloggers gain increased Web presence and higher search engine rankings. For example, Google, Yahoo and others often index blog entries within days of posting as opposed to waiting weeks for ezine postings.
Content Management: When I set up this blog I created keyword-based categories for the topics that I'll write about in the future. Each time I post, I select which category my post applies to and voila! My posts are catalogued by category and date. This feature is essential fodder for future e-books and other informational products. Try content management with your ezine articles on your website - things can get unwieldy fast.
Clearly, blogging is an essential addition to my marketing toolbox. It's also effective for any service-based entrepreneur who needs to build client relationships and increase visibility.
Copyright © 2005
Lena Claxton is a small business coach & marketing consultant, committed to helping self-employed professionals reach their highest potential. She's author of the e-book "Small Business Boosts." Download your free copy at http://www.ontrakmarketing.com and receive a subscription to the "Ontrak Business Blog."