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Big Debate #1: Should a Local Business/Service Provider even bother with a Blog?

The Big Debate! Should you or shouldn’t you bother with a blog, especially if you’re a local business / service provider? Bala Ayya and Sameer Panjwani discuss whether local service providers like dentists, carpenters, lawyers, etc should even invest in a blog or not. Are there other better avenues for the time and effort put in? Will a blog be the best ROI for their time?

During the course of the debate, Sameer and Bala arrive at what seems to be the best answer to this question.

There is definitely a “smarter way” to approach marketing for your local business. Learn about the approach and strategy you should follow if you’re a local business yourself or if you work with a lot of local business clients.

We should always be smart about our time, resources and money and not necessarily do what everyone else is doing!

Transcript – 

Bala – Welcome to another show. Here we’re going to be talking and debating about one specific topic which is – should service providers such as dentists, legal practitioners, carpenters maintain a blog or not? Let’s debate on this and we have Sameer with us. Sameer what you think about this. Should they have a blog?

Sameer – I think people would normally say you should. But I think, not at first. I think there are other things that you can do to market yourself, because, I think, the first thing that service providers want from their online presence is if they can – see there are two perspectives. Either you are doing it for branding purposes. If you are doing it for branding purposes then I think, yes, having a blog and showing authority that’s good. But if you are doing it to get business online I think there are many other better things that we can discuss that you can focus on rather than creating a blog because it is a hard and a tedious and long process.

Bala – Agreed. But say, if a carpenter is there and he starts a blog okay. I know its not his forte but he finds a person who can write a blog for him and if he does you know he could do amazing stuff. That’s what I believe in and not many carpenters do that which is like he could actually show up some of the designs that what he is actually worked on some of the places and tell people and show people a process of how he actually does that particular thing and makes it interesting because many people who want to know or understand how carpenting is done.

He could actually talk a little about the tools that he uses and how he has actually created the design. You know a timeline video of how he kind of did it. And if he shows all those particular things, I think it’s going to attract lot of business towards whatever he is doing.

Sameer – So, I am not going to debate you on that because that I think its a fantastic idea. So, if content is something that you if that’s an idea that you naturally have and if you feel you can produce very easily then yes I think go for it. Because, I think what people do mistake is that they think that they should create a blog just for the purpose of creating a blog. I think that’s a mistake you will also agree with me on that people create a blog and they don’t have a strategy. If they had a strategy like what you just said then I’ll say definitely go for it because it would make so much more sense because you are sharing a journey, you are showing authority, you are showing your quality of work and you are personalizing content.

So I think content could be personalized for service provider where he could showcase a journey then yes. But many people we have to be realistic some professions don’t allow you like if you are plumber, I am not sure what you can show in the journey. I am not sure but may be I am not sure. But there are certain professions, may be yes carpenting could be interesting, could not be I am not sure.

Bala – But the debate is here where is he suppose to put the money in? Now obviously we can’t expect a carpenter to be writing a amazing stuff or he doing an amazing video and editing that particular thing he won’t be able to do it. But he’d have to outsource it.

Sameer – We have to be practical. The type of content you are talking about takes a lot of money in terms of investment and you need skills not only putting things together then publishing it. Even if you do publish a blog, who’s going to read it? Are you assuming that you don’t have a captive audience? When you start you don’t have a captive audience. You’re going to have to do something to promote it. You are going to spend say $300 or $500 on Facebook ads or you are going to promote it on, just sharing on Facebook, tweeting about it, magic will not happen that way. So, you definitely need to promote because you have to be realistic that these people starting on a blog they do not have any captive audience.

Bala – Got it but since they do not have anything now this is a great way they can do it and obviously if they kind of make some time in creating a video, very simple video something like what we are doing right now. Very simple way of putting up what they actually want to be doing and do a small Facebook ad which they can target in their particular area alone and let people know that hey buddy there is a carpenter in your area or say a dentist in your area who does amazing stuff.

Like one of the thing I think most of the dentist don’t do is like they really don’t bring the testimonials out and I would be happiest person if a dentist in my area shows a patient with real bad tooth that’s something the target audience is and then they literally say that you know I’ve been taking up 6, 7 & 8 sessions and now I have a fantastic tooth that I am able to smile and this and that.

A story apart he doesn’t have to kind of go technically inside it but a little good story, that good testimonial about it will give me an authority that hey, I have dentist near my area and the next time, I think about any of my dental plans or my appointment, I am going to look at this particular guy.

Sameer – If you are doing that definitely again as I said many people don’t do that. So if they did do that would make so much sense. But yes, if you do have content like if you create content, I believe like either you follow a story based approach or you follow educational based approach like how if you are a dentist I mean for the purpose of SEO yes you can talk about root canals you can talk about many subjects people fear or pain involved.

There are many things we could talk about from a blog. But my only question is whatever you do what you said you do, is it worth investing that first few hundred dollars in developing the piece of content that’s going to take time? Time is money, brainstorming, shooting, writing, editing then promoting versus I am just talking about initially I don’t debate the fact that a blog can help you grow your online presence eventually. But I think initially may be it may make more sense to see if your websites’ actually maybe even working for you.

I don’t doubt that but authenticity matters if you can show testimonials, proof of work. I think that that is even without a blog. But you should invest your money in may be marketing activities that can get you leads online.

Bala – Okay. Now, that is a perfect way like you know I would be happy to kind of put the money if I am getting real good leads obviously I got to be putting that money. But let’s look a different way altogether. Like say I am going to start a gym I am a gym instructor and I want start a gym right now. And to survey that if that particular area of people are going to be liking a gym or whatever it is. If I create a say a simple site and then say that you know gym is going to be coming up. And I open up a blog and say talk to people say that you know benefits of gymming or benefits of working out or very interesting topic which I am specifically targeting for that particular area. Take my camera around and show people like you know this particular area you can actually do jogging.

Sameer – Let me interrupt you out there. Now suppose you have a gym, your audience is actually limited to the people within your vicinity. A blog is an online platform which will reach out to many people. A lot of that audience may not be the audience that will actually come to your gym.  So, you have to be really practical. You can gain name, you can gain brand but unless you are a big chain of gyms it may not make sense if your local gym is having just one or two centers in very specific locations.

Because your audience online is going to be limited to the vicinity around you so how much ever your blog unless those people in that vicinity who are interested may not even look at it. And people who read that blog may not necessarily know that you even I mean are you selling gym services I mean that awareness may not come up. Because if you write the content that is promotional then I don’t think going to work also.

Bala – You definitely have a point there but I have to tell you that you know if the blog has been focused in getting organic traffic for the service industry, that wouldn’t make much sense but if a blog is done in a smart way and a Facebook campaign and or any other social media campaign is run on that to attract the audience in a specific niche for that specific area, wouldn’t you agree like a blog would work there?

Sameer – My personal opinion, if you’re small, focus on a certain region. I think first advertise on Adwords or on Facebook and just try to get leads in the smartest way possible. Blog is one avenue but I think that there are better ways you know website if you create enough resources or just market yourself to the audience around you, I think that maybe a smarter way to spend your money initially.

I don’t know blog is great brand building strategy or great long term strategy but if you’re just starting out, I would say invest in the blog but may be later with strategies that you have said but initially definitely I think may not be worth it unless you are large scale. If you have many branches or franchise system and it’s worth building a brand around it.

So, I think we have to be practical and realistic. So, blog yes you should definitely create a blog I think from my perspective there are better ways to spend your money initially. Long term definitely initially may be not so there are you can spend on Facebook ads, Google ads or even just use it as an avenue to tell people around your vicinity that you have atleast a brand presence.

Bala – I will agree with that and one point I just want to add as we conclude here. Like you know many people in the service sector do not blog that’s because it’s not their expertise at all. But, if they start doing blogging, I strongly believe that they can create a huge authority in their particular subject in their area, in their vicinity they can do a lot lot more interesting stuff if they start doing blogging. I think they need to do as Sameer was saying they have to do blogging but not initially but once you kind of have the initial leads coming in, well to create uniqueness or to kill your competition, I think this is one great strategy that you should be kind of looking into.

Sameer- Yeah, it was great to have two different perspectives. I think you can go either way but yeah you decide however what I would say is, think, if you can blog make sure it is consistent. And if you want to spend your money think, is it what’s going to deliver you highest ROI? Look at the competition are they doing it maybe if not then. Ya  do watch us again and see if you can form an opinion for yourself.

Bala – Exactly alright thank you very much Sameer and keep checking out this session if you really like this particular debate. Subscribe us, like us and put your comments on it. Keep looking for this space for more debates like this. Until next time good bye.

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