A blog is a useful — and almost essential — marketing tool for almost any small business: Good blogs offer customers insight into your company and all the exciting things that are happening there, and they demonstrate and share your knowledge about your industry while building community.
And if writing isn’t your thing, that’s OK. A couple of new tools aim to make blogging less painful than ever.
Tumblr has been gaining popularity for just that reason. While it’s possible to compose long, thoughtful posts on Tumblr — as you might on more traditional blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger — Tumblr makes it particularly easy to “reblog” and share the interesting posts, photos, quotes, and other media you find on other websites — which means less burden on you to be creative day after day.
Tumblr also makes it easy to post your photos, videos, and other media without having to worry about formatting and other technical details. You just email the item to Tumblr and it takes care of the behind-the-scenes steps. You can blog on the go from your phone, too.
Many of the blogs on Tumblr reflect this shift in blogging, with more captioned photos and quick, short posts rather than long narratives. Tumblr says that the average user creates 14 original posts each month and reblogs three. Half of those posts are photographs.
Likewise, another new blogging platform, Posterous, also focuses on helping you share rich media and simplifies the process of posting your photos, videos, and media. Just email it and Posterous takes care of the rest. For small businesses, Posterous recently launched a marketing tool that lets you share your posts to your subscribers as an email newsletter.
Both platforms work well, but each has trade-offs. Both Tumblr and Posterous can be customized, but not in the detail that more traditional platforms offer. For example, you can’t easily control the size of a picture and its placement on your blog post page.
So how can these tools help you? It all boils down to the challenge of maintaining and keeping up with your blog. With a more focused reblogging tool you don’t need to sit down in front of a computer once a week and bang your head against it, trying to come up with the right words to say.
Instead, if you read an interesting article online, you can simply clip it and share it with your customers to offer your take on it. If you’re working on an interesting project or attending a fun event, you can take a photo or video with your smartphone and share it without too much effort — even share it on Facebook and Twitter automatically, too.
The sky’s the limit, but neither site requires a whole lot of your time.