6 Reasons Local Business Owners Should Blog

Business owners have a huge opportunity at their fingertips and that’s because social media and the internet has made it easier to have a direct relationship with the consumer. At no other time in history have business owners had the opportunity to directly communicate with their target clients and customers. While “blogging” is not the only way, it is a great way to communicate with your target audience.

The beauty of websites like Alexandriasmallbusiness.com is that it is an opportunity to put this specific area on the “Internet” map. There are many areas that have a very special or unique culture and when business owners blog about the areas it’s a great way to not only promote the area but also to promote your business in the area.

I used to have a column for the Lake-Ridge Occoquan, VA Patch called the “Entrepreneur’s Spotlight” where I used to interview and write about entrepreneurs located in Lake-Ridge and Occoquan, Virginia. I wrote about the local ice cream shop, the event planner, and a community of artists. What I found as I interviewed and connected with each business owner was that this small strip of local businesses (much like other areas across the world) has a collective spirt and a story that needed to be told. These posts were the catalyst for me to start CEO Blog Nation which includes DMV CEO–which covers entrepreneurship in DC, Maryland & Virginia. The beauty of these articles that I wrote for Patch was that it was a way to highlight the Occoquan, VA area and promote the local businesses there.

So, why is blogging important to the local business owner? With so many things to juggle and so little time, why should a business owner take the time to blog? At CEO Blog Nation, we often ask entrepreneurs how they use their blog for their business, so I highlighted some of the reasons we’ve published below:

Blog Post From Rescue a CEO (CEO Blog Nation)
Blog Post From Rescue a CEO (CEO Blog Nation) – www.rescue.ceoblognation.com
  1. It’s good for SEO – Blogging provides fresh content which can help you and your business to rank well on search engines. Even if you take the time to follow a great strategy which is to guest blog or repost your blog on sites like LinkedIn Pulse or Medium, it is still a good way to help you to be found on Google.
  2. It’s a unique way to tell your story – One of the common questions and concerns from business owners is that they don’t know what to write or blog about. Business owners can tell the behind the scenes of the their business or their shop. It could be anything from having spotlight interviews of employees or maybe a customer or client can guest post on your blog. These types of posts provide fresh content and information to your readers, but can make you a more trusted option that your customers are more likely to buy from.
  3. Answer potential questions – One of the pains as a business owners is getting “shopped.” This is when a potential client asks a bunch of questions and you provide all your great answers for “free” and they don’t actually buy from you. While that’s not always a bad thing, when time is scarce why not create blog posts with frequently asked questions that you can direct people to and can save yourself time. It’s a great way for you to tell a potential client that “someone asked a similar question so you decided to write a blog post that you can send to them to answer that question.” This is also a great way to solidify yourself as an expert. Here’s an example I had from a client that wanted to know how to name images for SEO.
  4. More leads and opportunitiesAccording to Hubspot, B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not. You will receive opportunities especially if you have a way to build your list or if you have a way for people to take action (see the bottom of this post).
  5. It helps to drive traffic to your site – If you have your blog integrated or built into your website or even if you just link to your website, it’s a great way to drive people back to your website. If you are providing quality content that is relevant to your target market, they will come to your blog and might sign up for your newsletter or connect with you on social media.
  6. It’s the future – Another interesting fact, which is evident in our every day human interaction–we aren’t speaking to each other as much in the “old way.” Now, interaction is taking place through FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Periscope or Groupme. That will only continue. By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human.

There are numerous reasons why business owners and entrepreneurs should start to blog. If you want to get started or want to find out how to get more out of your blog, check out my free business blogging course at CEO Blog Nation

The Importance of a Professional Headshot

Your headshot says a lot about you. Do you look like a confident person? Do you take care in your appearance? Do you seem like a professional? These are all questions that hiring departments may think of or clients may wonder when choosing you. Whether they are looking at your LinkedIn profile or choosing your services based on the quality of your business card it may have more to do with your headshot than you might think.

Stand Tall No one sees confidence in a person that slouches. Stand up tall when having your headshot taken so that your posture is expert. If this is difficult for you, try squaring your hips and lifting your chest. Then imagine a string pulling you up like a balloon lifting you into the air. Nothing says confidence like good posture.

Smile Like You Mean It Some of the best headshots come from your natural radiant smile. Like the kind of smile where you just laughed. So fake it. Laugh and you will find your natural smile comes shines through.

Color Palettes for Your Skin, Hair and Eyes I love power colors for those in leadership roles, or those seeking leadership roles. Reds can come off as very attention grabbing and classic. Oranges however, depending on the skin tone could be very off putting. When choosing your palette look at a variety of options and hold the colors up to your face. To they make you look washed out or on the contrary do they draw attention to your eyes and make them pop? You want to find out what your color palate is first and then create your look from there. Do you look best in vibrant colors or earth tones. If you are uncertain which color palette best suits you, bring a few options to your session and go over them with your photographer.

Professional Headshots

Simple is Best Again, play up the textures and add in a necklace, some earrings or a nice watch but make sure you are remembering “simple”. You can really over do it with loud patterns like stripes or circular patterns on your shirt or blazer. For those of you that wear makeup, this is a time for the lipstick and mascara. Clean makeup is best as well. Leave the glitter and shimmer at home and opt for matte colors that accentuate your natural look.

High Resolution vs. Web Resolution If you want to print your headshot for promotional purposes make sure you get a release to do so as well as high resolution images. Likewise, if you would like to use your headshot online you will want a web resolution image. Make sure you are clear with your photographer to ensure that you get the images that you want at their best quality for the purposes that you intend them.

Your Photographer Can Make You Lose Weight Instantly Before you get too excited, understand that your photographer is not going to accompany you the the gym or prescribe you a cleanse for days leading up to your session. But, your photographer does know some tricks of the trade that can make you appear more thinned out. For example, say that you have been blessed with not one but two chins, we can remove that for you. And I am not talking post processing so much as when we take your headshot we can manipulate your profile to remove your double chin and overall bring the viewer into the image. A good photographer can photograph you in a way that makes the observer look for a few seconds longer at your headshot.

And sometime those extra seconds, that make you stand at the forefront of all the other applicants, make all the difference.

 

You can reach me at:

(202) 681-9848

[email protected]

http://www.shotinthedarkphoto.com/

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Shot In The Dark’s owner and principal photographer is Meghan Stewart. Her photos have been published in Food and Wine, Northern Virginia Magazine, and Travel + Leisure.

Meghan’s love for photography developed from shooting in the metro Detroit area where she grew up, and through documenting her travels, including a year she spent living in a Ghanaian village.

A mother and former cheesemonger, Meghan founded Shot In The Dark in 2012.

Meghan says:

“My love for photography comes from meeting people where they are. Not just physical location, but using photos to capture people in their element, as naturally as possible. For me, taking photos is about that connection. I love seeing their joy when they see their photos for the first time.”

We love to travel so if you’re not in DC, VA or MD just ask and we would love to meet you wherever you are.

Social Marketing Predictions for Small Business in 2015 [Archived Webinar]

Social Marketing Predictions for Small Business in 2015 Social Media is the most common activity on the Web today, with the average user spending 37 minutes per day on social networks. The reach of the Internet is moving more and

Social Marketing Predictions for Small Business in 2015

Social Media is the most common activity on the Web today, with the average user spending 37 minutes per day on social networks. The reach of the Internet is moving more and more to mobile devices, including wearables (like, smartwatches) and other smart devices (like, thermostats, refrigerators and cars!). More businesses than ever are embracing Social Media to market their business and this means that your business needs to compete there too. 2015 is going to be the year that Mobile Commerce sprints ahead of many other kinds of commerce, but that’s not the only thing you need to be concerned about. Want to learn what they are? Then, join us for our last Webinar of 2014 as we discuss the trends and social marketing predictions to help you plan next year’s Social Media marketing.

This Webinar, as part of the Beyond Google: Marketing and Managing on the Web series from Virginia SBDC, was presented by me, Ray Sidney-Smith, Web & Mobile Strategist, author of SoLoMo Success: Social Media, Local and Web Small Business Marketing Strategy Explained, and President of W3 Consulting, a digital business strategy and training firm helping business owners learn why and how to use Web, mobile and digital technologies for greater marketing and management impact.

Who should attend?

  • Small business owners, entrepreneurs, micropreneurs, and solopreneurs
  • Office/sales/customer service managers, marketing directors, executives and professionals
  • Administrative/executive assistants and sales/account representatives
  • nonprofit executive directors and board members

Small Business Evangelist. Web & Digital Technology Strategist. Business Management Consultant. Presenter | Speaker | Trainer. Evernote Certified Consultant. Google Small Business Advisor, Productivity. Productivity, Technology & GTD Enthusiast, Coach & Podcaster.