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July 15, 2005

On the lookout for small business blogs

Stephen Baker

Anybody know of a small biz that has figured out (or is struggling to figure out) blogging? It's for an editorial project, and can be practically kind of business except for PR. (PR blogging isn't new enough.) It shouldn't have much more than 50 employees. I'm open to all suggestions.

08:34 AM

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My friend Alex Muse blogged his experiences as a first-time producer for a reality TV show he sold to INHD (MotorSport Ranch). It's his primary means of marketing the show, detailing the concept for potential new buyers, etc.

http://motorsportranch.typepad.com/

Posted by: Brian Oberkirch at July 15, 2005 09:28 AM

I recommend Aldo Coffee Co.'s blog. I have never been to Mt. Lebanon, Penn., but if I ever do go there, I'd make that coffee shop one of my first stops, based on what I know of it from its blog. Lots of personality mixed in with the Organic Dark Italian Roast and Brazilian song and dance.

http://tsmi.blogs.com/aldo_coffee_company/

Posted by: Sue Pelletier at July 15, 2005 10:18 AM

Sue, Thanks for the pointer. Believe it or not, I used to live in Mt. Lebanon (and always wished there were a good coffee place around. I'll take a look at the site, and also the Alex Muse site.

Posted by: steve baker at July 15, 2005 10:27 AM

Hi Steve, I think http://www.smallbiztechnology.com is a GREAT blog (well I produce it too :). It is FOCUSED on SMBs and RUN by an SMB!

Ramon

Posted by: Ramon RAy at July 15, 2005 10:35 AM

We are a small (55+ person) company, who launched a blog recently. We decided to use "the voice of our CEO" - Bob Cramer - as the focus, and have found it enables us to continue to communicate our message that small businesses are vulnerable if they are relying on tape for backup and recovery today - http://blogs.livevault.com/bob/

Posted by: Daniel Stevenson at July 15, 2005 11:04 AM

Hi Steve,

Check out BlogBridge (www.blogbridge.com). It's a small company, with 3 employees, that is building an real cool open source RSS aggregator (I have been helping them in an unpaid capacity). They used to have a plain old static web site, which I helped convert to a hybrid web/blog. It is working beautifully for them.

Francois

Posted by: francois gossieaux at July 15, 2005 11:39 AM

Here in the UK there's the well-regarded Tinbasher Blog (http://www.butlersheetmetal.com/tinbasherblog/) and English Cut (http://www.englishcut.com/).

Posted by: Jane Perrone at July 15, 2005 11:49 AM

I know of 2 businesses with well under 50 employees struggling to figure out blogging. One is a web-based vacation home rental directory that works with property owners/managers to get rentals. The other is a private residence club that has recently launched their business. Since private residence clubs are a relatively new concept, there's an opportunity for them to establish themselves as a thought leader via the blog while also addressing consumer questions & concerns. If you are interested in talking with either of them, drop me an email and I'll give you their contact info which wouldn't be appropriate to post here.

Posted by: Dave Chase at July 15, 2005 12:38 PM

Try http://enviroletbuzz.com/

all about the gloriously uneuphonious phenomenon of composting toilets.

Posted by: Andrew Denny at July 15, 2005 12:42 PM

Another great one is Hayden Trumpet's blog. Articles on how to hold the trumpet properly and how to breath.

http://www.haydntrumpets.com/blog/

Posted by: Ian Kennedy at July 15, 2005 01:08 PM

Here at Duo Consulting in Chicago, we just started a blog in June. We're a small web development firm (13 full-time employees) and have integrated the blog into our website. But our integration is more than just linking the blog to the site. We're using RSS to move content posted in the blog over to the relevant sections of the site, which helps visitors get to the freshest content no matter where they are on our site.

The marketing goal for the Duo blog is to share our knowledge of using technology and the Internet for marketing and to build our position as experts. So far, we've posted on content management (our specialty), search engine marketing, blogging, etc. But we've had posts from our developers on tech stuff, too. Check us out:

http://www.duodesign.com/blog/index.cfm

Posted by: Michael Silverman at July 15, 2005 01:24 PM

Stephen

Not sure what you are after, but we have started a blog on specialty insurance. See http://specialtyinsurance.typepad.com/

I don't think we have "figured out blogging" - in fact I am not convinced that it will have a big impact on our marketing.

Happy to help. Good luck.

Bob

Posted by: Bob Sargent at July 15, 2005 02:27 PM

Have a look at Paul Purdue's blog, http://www.ifulfill.com/weblog/

on iFulfill.com. He is relatively new to blogging, and writes about finding balance betweeen business and personal life and the infrastructure of his company, which handles Internet order fulfillment.

Posted by: B.L. Ochman at July 15, 2005 02:32 PM

Stephen--

Just a note to make certain that you see my previous efforts as part of this category. I have been blogging since 1998.

Posted by: Doug Skoglund at July 16, 2005 07:57 AM

I am a small business just starting a blog. Pick me! :)

Posted by: David Porter at July 16, 2005 08:50 AM

I vote for Tinbasher, from Paul Woodhouse, my blogocombat comrade par excellance.

A sheet metal manufacturer with a blog that is blogrolled on lots of marcom blogs and has been praised by The Guardian and many others.

Sheet metal HTML. Yes sir ee.

Posted by: steven streight aka vaspers the grate at July 16, 2005 11:14 AM

On the topic of business blogs, I suggest you make your Permalink URL more obvious. Suggest you use "permalink", the blog norm, as wording. When I hover over "new blogs" that's the URL for an index of posts in this category, so it's not the permalink to this post.

Also, again I wish you had the "Remember Me?" option box, to facilitate browser fill in of Post A Comment info (Name, Email Address, URL) and also a "Subscribe to Email Notification of Replies to Your Comment" type function.

I wish that "Recent Comments" showed not just the post title, but also the commenter's name.

Other than that, Blogspotting is quite nice.

:^)

P.S. Good job setting the example and ridding the site of comment and trackback spam. Looks pretty clean so far. How about an update post on this?

Posted by: steven streight aka vaspers the grate at July 16, 2005 12:21 PM

Marqui is the small company that use bloggers to promote its Communications Management System and has a nice blog about businesses. http://blog.marqui.com/

I should have more... but looking at my RSS feeds... I'm surprised how few good business blogs I have considering my feeds are in the hundreds (I know... I know).

Posted by: Meryl K. Evans at July 16, 2005 08:45 PM

steven,

I'll push for them to put a "remember me" feature on the comments. It's ridiculous that even I have to keep typing in my name and email address every time I respond to a comment. As far as the spam goes, I erase a bunch of it every time I visit the page. Big waste of time

Posted by: steve baker at July 16, 2005 10:25 PM

I had to teach myself how to 'blog' this spring in order to promote a new site I put up. We're a reasonably exclusive and remote resort community that has never really been promoted other than by individual resort and lodge owners pushing their own piece of pie. Once I built the site I wanted to see if all the online chatter about rss feeds and blogs was really true, and more to the point, as effective as claimed. It is - unequivocally! The response by the general public and search engines has far surpassed my wildest hopes. I haven't figured out the technical end of it and ended up doing things the hard way because I'm a control freak. Blogger and the others didn't set things up the way I wanted them to be such as putting in images on a daily basis. But it works to the point that I will be using this new found skill on my other two businesses (graphics and whitetail deer farm) and have been trying to encourage my web site clients to do the same to promote their sites. I don't have fify employees or less, but I do represent a large number of businesses still in the dark ages. (Hey, some of us still don't have running water or electricity!)

J Baker

http://www.resortsbc.com/Wilderness-Adventures.html

Posted by: J Baker at July 17, 2005 03:28 AM

iConcertina.com is a UK based online solutions provider with 35 employees in London and Sofia-Bulgaria. Our owner/manager Adrian Melrose blogs at www.smartapps.co.uk and has been behind the Land Rover campaign at www.haveyoursay.com which you blogged about earlier this week. All the staff at iconcertina.com have been invited to contribute at www.smartapps.co.uk and do so.

One of our Communication clients and partners, Hill & Knowlton, has taught us a lot about bloggging from a PR and Communications point of view and we are currently considering whether to replace our entire website with a blog - I can see many advantages to this - websites are about content and blogging ensures content is always fresh and appropriate - from a marketing point of view - the advantages of trackback ensure a better chance of our target customers visiting our site.

Posted by: Steve Wilkinson at July 17, 2005 11:58 AM

Hi, we are just starting a new online business right now. Nearly all of our promotion and marketing will be centered around the use of blogs.

I thought we might be interesting to you as far as how blogs are influencing those of us starting a marketing program from scratch. I know a number of other businesses starting online who are doing the same thing.

Posted by: Charles Jolley at July 17, 2005 12:08 PM

Stephen,

We are a small company out of Albuquerque, NM manufacturing wireless audio/video systems for niche applications like firefighting, security and law enforcement - all products specifically designed for mobility. Recently we started applying our existing technology to real estate (sending camcorder images across the internet using a WiFi or cellular network). We have started a blog on using technology in real estate to understand better what the market is looking for. The link is:

http://realtortech.blogspot.com/

Would love to be more effective and comments on our approach. Thanks

Posted by: Kamil Agi at July 17, 2005 01:44 PM

Stephen -- May I suggest that you visit the Small Business Blogs Directory at http://www.blogsforsmallbusiness.com

There are over 200 small business blogs (and growing) that have registered so far.

Posted by: Denise O'Berry at July 22, 2005 10:11 AM

We are www.musthavefashions.com a new web retailer. To get our name out there, we would love to start a blog but not sure where to start....any suggestions?

Posted by: Shaun Mehr at August 5, 2005 02:55 AM

Well, at the risk of being self serving, i'll offer mine up.

I run a small merchant bank in toronto and I tend to write about whatever crosses my desk that day, be it something I read in the news, a business experience with a customer or family issues.

Posted by: josh kerbel at August 6, 2005 12:27 PM

I had vaguely heard of blogs and didn't give it much thought until a few days ago, I received an email request from a postgard student doing a dissertation on blogs as a marketing tool in the travel industry. So I thought why not give it a try.

As the owner of a small travel business one of my biggest challenges is for my presence to be noticed on the seething mass that is the internet. I don't have the funds for a massive marketing campaign but hey isn't the interent an opportunity for every company to compete on the global stage. Well yes, in theory.

So I did a bit of research into what makes a successful business blogger. Engage your audience, encourage feedback, publish blogs regularly, have at least 2 links in each article etc. But what am a going to write about that will make riveting reading and make the travel buying hoards come back regularly for more? Humour can end up falling flat on its face but if it's too dry and factual it'll be boring.

I think I am off to a good start as travel is a topic which many people could find interesting, imagine how much harder it would be if you were a toilet roll holder manufacturer. I have a lot of life experience but don't emphasis that too much as it's an euphemism for being past the first flush of youth.

Time will tell if I can become a successful blogger but I will be giving it my best shot. You can read my weblog at:

http://kbryan.typepad.com/my_weblog/

Posted by: Karen Bryan at October 5, 2006 08:32 AM

My blog is now part of my website at:

http://www.europealacarte.co.uk/blog

Posted by: Karen Bryan at November 10, 2006 10:01 AM

The link to my blog still isn't working, 3rd time lucky!

Posted by: Karen Bryan at November 11, 2006 03:08 PM


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