Do you feel overwhelmed by technology? You’re not alone. A new study from SiteApps, conducted by the Incyte Group, found more than half (54 percent) of small and midsized businesses are concerned with technology outpacing their abilities to compete and worry that they’re falling behind the curve.
While small business owners in the study understand the importance of their websites, the study also found many of them have a long way to go in bringing their sites up to par. Small business owners say improving and overhauling their sites is a major priority for 2013. If they were given a blank check, 34 percent would choose a new website over all other marketing investments—more than double the response to the second-ranking (at 15 percent) paid search campaigns.
This year, two-thirds of small business owners plan to improve their websites. Specifically:
However, SiteApps reports many small business owners aren’t setting their websites up for success:
I’m glad small business owners are recognizing the importance of business websites, but I’m concerned that so many of them feel stymied in making the most of their website. Fortunately, there’s a place you can turn for help: SCORE. If you don’t already have a SCORE mentor who can help you make sense of the Web, visit www.score.org to get matched with one—and get started making your business website the best it can be.
Blogging is useful but also time consuming. Many owners do not have the time (or the writing skills) to consistently publish new content on a weekly basis. Outsourcing or hiring out this marketing task is often an attractive idea.
But you can never completely hand over your company blog to an outsider, or even an employee. Your blog is the hub for your communications strategy. You, as owner, want to ensure that you drive the vision and the approval for what is published.
The following is a template for an RFP (Request for Proposal) to solicit proposals and pricing for blog writing. You can use this structure to hire outside professionals or as a job description for an internal staff member. Either way, this template will ensure that your blog is consistent and effective across multiple writers and over time.
Give a brief background of your company, main products/services, and descriptions of target clients. State if and how you have created the blog articles to date and provide a link to your company website.
What is the timing for article submission and approval? Can articles be submitted in batches? Are articles time-sensitive (tied to current news events), and therefore unable to be written in advance?
What is the contract length? (Example: Please provide your pricing for the project as outlined assuming a one-year project.) Pricing will vary by the size of the project and the experience/expertise required.
Give a deadline (typically a few weeks) for submission of a writing sample and pricing.
Request a sample article (see next point) of the actual length and topic that you will use in your blog. This allows you to truly compare the styles and expertise of different writers.
Do you contract out your blog? Any tips to share?