This post was first published on 25 November 2015
The other day a reply to an email from someone who runs a small web development agency got me thinking about this piece from 18 months ago – Do you need a ghostwriter or an editor? And I think the realisation is good news, for some.
As an agency we provide ghostwriting. In fact we do it so much we have a ghostwriting product and process called Speech-to-blog. And it’s been a success.
But in that post from 18 months back, I was trying to show that – much as we love the work – people jump to reaching out for a ghostwriter too often. The gist of the post (though feel free to read it too) was that the most important aspects of any blogging are the ideas and authentic personality of the individual/company coming through. Both of these are hard for any agency to fake. People like us need your input.
It occurred to me this week that it’s smaller businesses that often don’t have the budget for full-on ghostwriting. You’d think that’s a problem because it constrains what they can do, right? But then I thought about how many people running smaller businesses are passionate about what they do, hold new or unique points of view and have the desire and speed to reach the rest of the world.
Let’s face it, there are few barriers to entry in blogging. This is an area where the smaller guys can compete.
Larger companies can invest in a larger, joined-up marketing strategy. They can invest in promotion of content, using advertising, paid social media marketing and more. They can outsource almost everything.
But the right kind of post from a smaller business blogger is sometimes more likely to be picked up and shared by others – and not only is such ‘earned’ media cheaper than ‘paid’, it is more valuable. A clever blog post about a small business can also be used to illustrate important life or business lessons, as this example shows.
So you get the idea. Small businesses, especially owners/founders/creators lack time, money, even knowhow. But I think you start from a better position when it comes to compelling blogging. Just do it.
Bonus: I’d like to leave you with one warning. It’s a real example from the past two years that I can’t give too many details about, for reasons that will become obvious. This case involved a small company we worked with that had great ideas in many areas and a founder who was happy to write about them regularly. He was nervous about blogging but I pointed out he had good ideas and a strong voice. So every month he wrote, and my team did the necessary editing to make sure the final product was polished.
Why is this a ‘warning’? The guy believed the hype. Eventually after things went silent I saw posts appearing with the same passion and spread of subject expertise. But every headline was too long. There was no consideration of SEO (on other days I don’t mind that!). There were spelling and grammar mistakes – not huge numbers but enough to make passages unreadable or feel amateur-ish.
The amount this client saved was tiny. It was truly a case of penny wise, pound foolish. To this day, I can’t reference the blog as client work because the later posts would be anything but a positive recommendation for us.
I still think small businesses have a blogging advantage. But I believe this story shows it always pays to know when a little extra help is needed.
*photo credit: Day 336 Shop Small [link no longer available] via photopin (license)
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