David PayneBy David Payne

Everyone’s doing it; I just never got around to it. And like just everyone out there, I’ve always thought, “I should start a blog.” And by “blog,” I mean broadcasting the various thoughts and events in my life that might interest my friends, family, or whoever else stumbles onto my site.

I enjoy writing (for the most part), I think unique thoughts and have a decently interesting life (at least every so often); I figure this is what I’m supposed to be doing these days, right?

And while I had the best of intentions, I also had lapses of laziness when starting a Wordpress account, then churning out 500 words or so per post.  It’s one of those things that sounds great in a quiet moment of contemplation, but not-so-great when trying to fit into the daily routine between working, eating, walking the dog, and, well, reading other interesting blogs. Twitter became my easy fix as it’s shorter form and very mobile. Though it wasn’t the platform for a caffeine-induced rant on that bank bailout package, it at least was a decent fix.

Recently, I was turned on to a new, better solution for my blogging dilemma; and this month I want to share how it might be a great solution for local business owners (and consumers) as well. It’s Mini-Blogging … and it’s the perfect flexible, non-committal solution we’re all looking for.

Mini-Blogging fits somewhere between traditional blogging and micro-blogging (like Twitter). Posts can be as long or as short as you see fit, and it also comes with the freedom to submit from mobile devices. The two largest players in this space are Tumblr and Posterous.  For the past few months, I’ve personally used Posterous on a regular basis. Both platforms work in a similar way, but I’ll use my blogging format as the example of how it works.

To submit a blog post through Posterous, you simply write an email and send it to post@posterous.com. The subject line of the email serves as the title of the blog post, the body of the email is the body of the blog post.  Just like an email, you can write as freely as you want, adding pictures, video, or music right in the email.  Once you send the email, it posts immediately to your Posterous blog. Writing in the body of an email is just like writing in a traditional Wordpress account and posting for your self from the website. But the Posterous format is a more comfortable way for all of us to use our email accounts as means to post our stories.

So how can this support a local business?  Well, if you know how to email (especially if you can do it from your phone), you can now blog in real time easily.  Anyone who cares to follow you (friends, family, customers) can now have a much richer picture of you and a look into your business.

It’s also a great way to keep your followers updated on changes and things to look forward to. Say you’re a new local restaurant; you could post what the dining room will look like inside before it even launches, or maybe a picture of the awesome staff enjoying a traditional pre-shift meal before dinner. Tempt customers with a snapshot of what the chef is excited about serving tonight. Mini-blogging isn’t a silver bullet for all of your business marketing needs; but like your email list, it will serve to strengthen the bonds between you and your fans. It’s an easy (free), fun way to do that.

And if you’re as bold as Dynamic Dish (www.dynamicdish.net), you can make your blog your website – it’s definitely more exciting than a static homepage that never changes.

David Payne, a local entrepreneur, began www.scoutmob.com & www.skyblox.com to help local businesses utilize new media. You can contact him at dave@scoutmob.com or @davempayne on Twitter.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.