Bootstrap a Business Through Blogging

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 7:00pm by Site Administrator

For startups/ entrepreneurs considering launching a blog to promote business, heed the WSJ. The Wall Street Journal got it right when they said Blog it and they may come. Blogs, once established, can generate search traffic and/or regular readers.

The operative word is “can”, as there really are millions of blogs out there. It takes more than just writing, though. It takes networking and promoting your blog, as well as authoritative content to establish you as an expert on something. Do it right, and a blog can be more effective than advertising in indirectly producing sales.

What topic should you write about?
One question is ‘what topic’ to cover? Should the blog be about the business? Will anyone care? Will that drive the right readership and convert them into clients/ customers? Would a topic peripherally-related be more useful to readers? I.e., a topic that does not hard sell your services.

For example, a software company CAN blog about their updates and how great they are, but would that drive traffic? Would writing about software development be better? Would enough people read that to make it worth continuing, and are those readers ever going to buy a copy of the software?

Maybe a blog about managing a startup business or team management – with personal case studies – would be much more targeted. Wouldn’t those readers tend to be owners/ managers, and wouldn’t they be more likely to buy the product, thus justifying the blog?

Who should write on the blog?
Then comes the question of who should write this. If you want the blog to also be about the business itself, maybe you, the owner/ entrepreneur, should write. At least initially. If it’s your business, your writing doesn’t cost anything except your time, and you’re more likely to be passionate about it than a hired blogger from outside the business.

If you have the gift of good communication, then you are a good candidate. But keep in mind that the existence of the blogosphere didn’t suddenly create a world full of good communicators. Some bloggers can’t form a coherent sentence, no matter how intelligent they may be in person.

If you fall into that category, being the blogger will harm rather than help your business. Poor grammar and spelling are fine on a personal blog, not on a business blog. And I don’t mean the occasional typo. Mediocrity of topic will also harm your brand.

This is even more important if your website is actually trying to sell products or services. Blogging becomes a supplement to advertising, and can in fact be more powerful. Hiring a professional blogger, someone who can be passionate about a topic can make a difference. Making them a long-term partner, such as through vesting shares and/or a percentage of net profits, should make them more passionate – but it isn’t absolutely necessary. (That is, there are many professional bloggers who are simply passionate about writing period.)

Keep in mind, though, that if your business’ blog does well in readership/ traffic but doesn’t convert that into sales, the cost of your hosting could become a problem – as the Wall Street Journal article points out. So factor both a possible professional blogger and web hosting into your blog operating costs – at least in the medium- to long-term.

I’ve probably asked more questions than I’ve answered. Bootstrappers tend to do a lot of things themselves, usually because of lack of funds. But even a bootstrapping entrepreneur has to at some point delegate tasks they can no longer manage.

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