Do any of these scenarios sound a little too familiar?
- You tried to create a blog but just can’t get good traffic to it.
- You don’t want really want to create evergreen content — you’re more interested in things that are immediately relevant.
- Images related to your business do more to catch attention than words.
- Exclusivity is part of your brand.
- Your target customer spends more time browsing social media than reading blogs.
- You’re great at expressing yourself verbally, but hate putting your thoughts in writing.
- You just don’t want to, so your blog is sitting empty.
You know what?
If any of these things are true, you don’t have to have a business blog.
But Katharine (I can hear you saying), you’re always talking about how important a business blog is! You’re always saying that it can drive traffic to my website and improve my SEO and create a connection with my customers.
Yup, it can! All those things are true! Blogging is great for small businesses!
But creating a blog is not your only option for marketing your small business.
If you’ve tried blogging but found that it doesn’t fit your brand, or your customers aren’t responding to it, or you just can’t seem to get into it or remember to publish anything… you know what? You can stop.
This is me giving you permission to say, blogging is not the right choice for marketing my small business online, and I’m going to stop.
So what can you do instead?
Four Things You Can Do for Your Small Business Instead of Blogging
Find a social media platform your customers love
Let’s say your target customers love Instagram. They spend multiple hours a day browsing hashtags, finding new brands and bloggers to follow, commenting on posts, and exploring links.
Well, then, it’s time to focus on connecting with those customers in a way they love.
Instead of wasting your energy on blog posts that you don’t actually care about, set aside time to explore hashtags your customers follow.
Learn what style of post they are likely to comment and like on, then use that to create a cohesive style for your account.
Practice taking quality photographs that promote your brands and services.
Write captions that tell a story. Join communities where you can like, comment, and follow.
This isn’t exclusive to Instagram, of course. If your customers hang out on Facebook, focus your energy there. If they spend a lot of time searching on Pinterest, it’s probably time to start pinning yourself.
The point is to find where your customers already are and meet them there.
Instead of trying to create a community around a blog you don’t love, find a community that is already waiting on social media.
Then get active and interactive and become a part of it.
Create a subscribers-only newsletter
I once worked with a client that was convinced they needed a blog on their website.
This client was a high end beauty brand whose products were frequently used by celebrity makeup artists and fashion bloggers.
Guess what? These people didn’t want to spend their time visiting a brand’s website to read self care blog posts and makeup recommendations.
So instead of a blog, I convinced them to try sending out a monthly subscribers-only e-newsletter.
The newsletter was designed to have the feel of a (short) magazine, and it featured “VIP” content, including interviews with industry insiders, high-end makeup reviews, and a seasonal article in each issue.
It was instantly far more successful than their blog had been because it (a) fit the exclusive, high-end feel of their brand, and (b) was delivered directly to their target customers, who otherwise would have been too busy to seek them out.
If your customers don’t seem interested in visiting your site to read a blog, it might be time for you to visit them in their inboxes.
Give vlogging a try
Maybe writing isn’t your strong suit or doesn’t suit your business. Maybe your customers aren’t the sort of people to sit down and read three new blog posts every week… but they spend a lot of time on YouTube.
It could be time to start vlogging.
Yes, it’s a ridiculous word. But a vlog — or video blog — is a great way to create visual, audible content that connects with customers by literally showing who you are.
No mystery about who is writing or what their personality is. You’re right there on camera, speaking directly to them about the things that matter to them and showing them the ins and outs of your business.
YouTube is an obvious platform for a vlog. But you can also put videos directly on your website, send them out to subscribers, or even put them on your LinkedIn profile.
Where your vlog lives will depend on your audience and where they are likely to visit.
No matter which platform you end up with, though, a vlog is a great way to stretch your creative and connective skills.
(Especially if you’ve always dreamed about being on camera.)
Create a podcast
Not all content has to be written. But it doesn’t have to require you being on camera either, because podcasts have taken off.
Podcasts are to radio what Netflix is to TV — streaming radio that your audience can carry around in their pocket and listen to whenever they have a minute.
A podcast can be as short and sweet or as long and complicated as you want. There are 5 minute inspirational podcasts out there, hour-long informative podcasts, and even podcasts that tell fictional stories.
(This blogger recently created a podcast to replace her blog as part of a push to restructure her whole business.)
The type of podcast you create will depend on your business goals. You could:
… connect with your audience by providing them inspiration and sharing news
… create an informational platform by interviewing industry experts
… show your authority by answering questions and providing insight that helps your customers
In fact, a podcast has the potential to become not just a form of content, but an entire second part of your business with its own audience, revenue stream, and opportunities to expand.
And because podcasts are so popular right now, creating one instantly provides a way to connect with a brand new audience who might never have heard about your business otherwise.
The bottom line:
Blogging isn’t the only form of content marketing out there.
Depending on your audience and the goals of your business, another platform might offer a much better way to connect with your customers.