As a small business owner, you’ve probably gotten used to doing it yourself no matter what “it” may be. Whether that’s the part of your business that you’re passionate about — the thing that made you want to own your own business in the first place — or the accounting for your business, or the marketing for your business, or the technology for your business, or even the cleaning up the mess at the end of the day…you probably do it yourself, or at least you did for a long time way back at the beginning. Whether it’s something that’s built into the DNA of most small business owners or simply a necessity from being forced to run as lean as possible, DIY is par for the course in the small business world.
But there are times when it’s not in your best interest.
While it’s always wise to understand every part of your business, there comes a point of diminishing returns when the specialized knowledge that your business really needs just isn’t worth the time or effort for you to develop it yourself. Sure, given enough time and energy you could probably learn how to do it as well as the “real” professional, but who runs your business during the time it takes you to get there? It’s demanding enough just to build and grow a business, but to do so while learning all of the new specialized skill sets necessary to make it successful is approaching the impossible. For some, the knowledge in question is the accounting. For others it might be the sales or marketing. Technology is often something that isn’t a ready part of a small business owner’s skill set. There’s a reason there are so many independent small businesses that provide precisely these skill sets! Most small business owners eventually begin to outsource these more specialized pieces of their life’s work to specialized professionals — whether employees or not — because the cost of paying them is less than the cost of doing it themselves. Blogging is one of those specialized pieces.
Yes, it’s true: in the year 2015, anyone can start a blog for free in just a few minutes. You can even make it look pretty decent, too. But, in today’s social media driven society where you have just a few seconds to connect with your blog’s visitors before they move on to the next thing, can you grab (and hold) their attention? Can you keep them coming back day after day, week after week? Can you build a growing readership? Much like working the drive through at McDonald’s, blogging sounds a lot easier to do than it really is.
For one thing, blogging is its own kind of writing. It’s not high-minded or formal academic writing, but it’s not messy, sloppy, and nonsensical, either. In the same way that even professional authors struggle to jump from novels to short stories to newspaper reporting, it takes a significant amount of time, effort, and experience to develop the right tone of voice and style for a blog. This can be even more tricky when you factor in the exact subject matter and content of your own particular blog, but in order to have an authentic and consistent voice, that is exactly what needs to be done. On top of that, the mechanics of the writing needs to be high quality. It is not uncommon to find minor typos or grammatical errors even on websites of major companies, but the more of these a reader sees, the less credibility the blog carries with that reader…if they bother to come back at all.
But it’s not just about the writing skills. If your readers leave comments or interact with your blog in any way, it becomes even more paramount that someone with experience is on the other side of the keyboard to curate and nurture those interactions in a positive way that not only builds your brand but also provides extra value to your readers. We’ve talked before about how to do — or not to do — social media (here, here, here), and in many cases these disasters occur because of inexperience with the platform. If you’re not sure you can manage the inevitable trolls — or if you don’t even know what a troll is — then you may want to think twice about doing your own blogging.
It’s becoming more and more important to enter the blogging and social media game on behalf of your small business, but it’s also critical to get it right. If you outsource other specialized pieces of your operations, then it only makes sense to outsource your blogging, too.