One of the blogs I find most valuable is Brian Clark’s Copyblogger. His most recent post on The Real Secret to Getting Tons of Blog Subscribers might cause small business owners some dismay – after all, how can a busy small business owner hope to do what Brian does?
Some bloggers build a large audience. Reading their blog is like reading a great magazine or newspaper column – just in a different medium. Their opportunity is to build a new audience that competes with newspapers, magazines and other media for readership.
As a small business owner your opportunity is distinctly different. What you should be considering isn’t audience size, but audience quality.
For a traditional publisher, building a large readership means more revenue in the form of advertising or subscription fees. A blogger who is aiming for revenue from advertising is in the same boat, a large audience means more money. So getting tons of subscribers really matters to them.
But a small business isn’t a traditional publisher. The value of attention can be far greater than just advertising revenue. We have clients who blog for attention – and when they get that attention, it might lead to:
- a new client worth many thousands of dollars (we have a client who measures customer value in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars).
- a new influencer who can indirectly lead to many new customers.
You don’t need a massive audience for blogging to be worthwhile. Getting the attention of a niche audience can be extremely valuable, but not if you think in terms of advertising revenue.
Here is an exercise for you. Visualise your ideal prospective clients and your ideal influencers (the people who can send lots of small customers your way).
Now imagine your top 100 prospects and influencers worldwide. That’s right, the top 100 prospects or influencers for your business around the world. If you run a business that relies only on local (geographical) customers, this may be a very short list. But for most businesses, that isn’t the case.
How much is it worth to you if you could be remarkable to your top 100 prospects or influencers? Guess what, blogs give you the ability to open up a conversation with them. Its not easy, but possible. You need remarkable content, and to learn how to reach people using it. 5 years ago it wasn’t possible, but blogs have changed the rules in favour of small business. Now its viable for a small business to become a publisher of niche content. And usually for less than it costs to run advertising that could well be ineffective (and definitely not remarkable).
I’ll give you an example from one of our small business clients. Paul and Jenny are expert in making artificial eyes. That is pretty obscure for many people. But if you (or one of your family) was to lose an eye because of an accident or cancer, all of a sudden you would learn about what an Ocularist does. Paul and Jenny have been using their blog to talk to people interested in artificial eyes. People from all over the world now get in touch with them. They run clinics outside Australia, in Asia and the Middle East, and they are busier than they have ever been. And you know what? They had a web site for years that didn’t have much influence on their business at all. So what changed? They became remarkable, because they started talking about what they knew. People who are dealing with eye loss find their content remarkable. They don’t have an audience remotely like the A list bloggers. But blogging has transformed their small business.
So, think about the value of a blog for you. What could it mean for your business? Do you know things that a niche audience will find interesting? Could that lead to new sources of revenue for your business?
Read Brian’s post to refresh yourself on the importance of being remarkable. Finding a niche audience can be a great way to build your business.