For a business of any size, the value proposition of blogging can be pretty squishy. Though marketing is the reason cited by most businesses for blogging, actual sales generated from such activity may not be all that great.
Some folks, like pundit Nicholas Carr, say that for many businesses -- if not most -- the risks of blogging outweigh the possible benefits.
That may be why so many SMBs -- 95 percent of companies with fewer than 100 employees, according to a recent American Express survey -- eschew the practice. It also may be that folks at such companies, where resources are often stretched to the limits, simply cannot spare the time required for blogging.
Frequent posts are a requirement for bloggers, notes Rob Enderle in his post Corporate Blogging: You Don't Really Have a Choice so Do it Right:
You have to blog a lot. Blogging once a month doesn't cut it because you won't build or hold an audience. Writing a lot isn't for everyone; those that do it often find it addictive and also find it can eat up a lot of their spare time. Those that can't write find it a chore and quickly find reasons to avoid doing it. In the end, if you really don't like to write, this isn't for you, and starting but failing to maintain a blog reflects badly on both you and the company. In effect, it communicates you can't meet commitments and, for any company, this isn't a good thing.
Yet some SMBs find blogs are worth the effort, reports The New York Times. A Boston-based lawyer and health care consultant mentioned in the story gets up to 300 visits a day on his blog. That kind of visibility has helped him attract clients and become viewed as an authority on health care issues.
Denali Flavors, a small ice cream manufacturing operation, spends just $400 a year on a blog that generates 4,500 visits a day. Visitors to the blog view ads for its Moose Tracks ice cream, a valuable branding effort for a company that licenses its ice cream flavors to retailers. It also earns $30,000 to $40,000 a year on ads from other companies -- though it donates those profits to charity, according to the story.
Consultants are good candidates for blogging, says Aliza Sherman Risdahl, author of "The Everything Blogging Book," as are businesses serving sectors that value specialized knowledge (like wine), those that offer products and services geared to a certain lifestyle (like camping) or those with a social mission (like improving the environment).