Is it a good idea to blog?

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Obviously, I think blogging is good. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing this one. And, I meet so many people from different segments of our industry who read Dealer Outlook. It’s what keeps me writing twice every week – and I thank you!

But the question I pose is whether marine dealers should be doing blogs? Ultimately, all dealers must answer that for themselves, of course. If you already have a blog going, kudos to you. However, if you don’t, and you’ve been wondering whether you should, you might want to take some advice from journalist Carol Tice, a prolific Seattle-based blogger writing in “The Daily Dose” at Entrepreneur.com. Tice gives many solid reasons why a blog may not be right for your business. Here are some highlights:

1. No one has time. Can you spare at least two or three hours a week to write the blog, Tice asks. (Actually, I find it takes more time than that.) But in your dealership, without somebody committed to regular postings, you'll end up with a dusty blog that hasn't been updated in six months. That makes for a worse impression than if you never blogged at all.

2. You don't know what to say. Tice recommends at least four ideas for posts per month and just running product news releases is a no-no! Develop a calendar of topics in advance.

3. You don't use social media. Think if you write a blog post thousands of people will stampede to your site? No, blogging doesn't work like that, Tice notes. After you write it, someone has to promote that post online. This is where social-media skills come in.

4. No realistic goal. What do you want your blog to do? You likely won't boost sales. Tice points out less than half of business bloggers indicate their blog achieved such a goal. By contrast, 88 percent said it did generate great exposure for their brand.

5. You think it's about you. Sorry, it not! Blogs are most powerful when the intent is to get to know your customers and build a relationship with them.

6. Don’t want those negative comments! Ah, the elephant in the room! According to Tice, many businesses are afraid of what the comments might say on their blog. I can tell you when I first started blogging for TradeOnlyToday, I feared my blogs might draw negative comments. But Tice contends blogs are all about engagement. I know now she’s absolutely right! Many of your comments to Dealer Outlook have disagreed with my viewpoint and I have appreciated that disagreement. In fact, many of you have persuaded me to change my view because of your comments. Your feedback is the best part of Dealer Outlook! So, if you get into blogging, better want the engagement or don’t do it at all.

Finally, if you don’t feel you can handle a good blog in house but you still want one, you can always farm it out to a professional. Yes, like everything else, there are professional bloggers out there that can do it for you. Would it be worth it? That’s your call.

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