The next two posts are part of a Small Business Marketing series that was intended to be on a Microsoft based site for “Small Biz Hacks”. Unfortunately, Microsoft never followed through with the site or series but it was a joy to work with Luanne Brown and it would be a shame to throw this content away. So here’s 1 of 2 I could find.
Sean Wallbridge, president of itgroove, is big on blogging. And so are most of his ten employees, who blog on company time. Why is this Victoria, British Columbia-based small business owner so invested in creating content that he essentially gives away? Here are three reasons:
Blogging saves time.
As head of this technology consulting firm, Wallbridge gets questions from many different sources—every day. In self-defence, he turned to writing blogs to answer those questions he gets asked repeatedly.
“Now that I’ve been blogging for several years, I save about 90 minutes a day by pointing people—potential or current customers, even staff—in the direction of a specific blog that solves their problem,” Wallbridge said.
New employee, Kelly Marshall, business development manager, finds this wealth of blogged information extremely useful. “Instead of getting lost in email threads, I search our blog for past solutions and usually find the answer I need.” For those questions that remain, Marshall creates a blog to fill in their knowledge base.
Blogging demonstrates subject matter expertise.
Blogs are first published on the itgroove internal SharePoint site, set up as a way to replace key office email correspondence. A staff alert is then sent out with each new post. Internal blogs that are not proprietary in nature get published in the Knowledge Blog section of their website, under the writer’s blog. Of the 400 blogs published internally last year, 300 of them eventually made their way to the external corporate site.
There are times when the company struggles with the decision of what secrets to keep and which ones to give away. “While we err on the side of generosity, we do draw a line where we say, for more information, call us,” said Robert Dick, IT service manager and senior consultant.
Wallbridge is passionate in his belief that blogging builds trust. “By sharing our expertise freely, we’re demonstrating that we’re problem solvers.” And while it’s easy for some salespeople to say they are the best, Marshall adds, “The high ranking of our blog posts are one way to demonstrate that we know what we are talking about.
Blogging may bring in new business
Wallbridge does not spend any money on print advertising. And even though he does not currently track where new business comes from, he has a gut feeling that blogging works to his company’s advantage. “The more we do online, the more people say, ‘I’ve heard of you.’”
While there may not yet be hard numbers to substantiate Wallbridge’s gut feeling, there is anecdotal evidence to indicate blogging does pique potential customer interest, including the experience of the bloggers themselves. “I’ve had people call me up from Silicon Valley and sign on as customers after reading one of my blogs,” Dick said.
For Wallbridge, the goal of blogging isn’t solely to bring in more customers. “We want to distinguish ourselves as thought-leaders, especially in the Victoria community, and blogging helps us to accomplish this goal.”