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posted: 2/18/2013 6:00 AM

Blog at center of entrepreneur's growth strategy

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Kathy Graham has seen the future. It's filled with tweets, Facebook business page postings, phablets, LinkedIn, maybe Pinterest and probably Skype. But the key to her businesses' future is Graham's blog.

That's because "The HQ Companies Blog" is the tool that links Graham's media-marketing-communications strategy together. It's also the potentially weakest part of the plan.

There are good reasons to watch what Graham is doing: She's had success, has a five-year growth plan and is getting help from knowledgeable people. Furthermore, she could be spot on.

Graham runs The HQ Companies, Sugar Grove based with offices in Naperville and downtown:

HQ Search Inc., the core company, focuses on high-end financial services job searches.

HQ Services Inc. utilizes Graham's abilities to create strategic, coaching and related services for jobseekers in and beyond the financial industry. HQ Seminars Inc. expands on Graham's economic forecasts in settings that put her in front of decision-makers.

HQ Scripts Inc. has turned out a Graham-authored style manual for resumes and other job search materials; "The Land of Lemons and Nuts," a children's book that puts economic principles in basic terms; and a new book based on Graham's career development program.

What got Graham thinking were changes she saw in her marketplace. "I saw people -- professionals, my people -- go online and make (the Internet) their preferred buying option," she says.

That led to some questions: Who is my target audience? Where will they look for me? In what media? What Graham determined is that "It's not a website anymore. It's multimedia. Facebook business pages. LinkedIn."

Graham's plan, introduced to her marketplace last month in a "Come tweet with Me" e-newsletter explaining Graham's belief that technology enables more effective personal communication, is intended to take her from a solopreneur with four companies to a CEO whose partners will run her companies.

Graham's marketing communications strategy begins with her blog.

"The blog is her hub," says Jason Burton, whose Chicago-headquartered Chicago Technology Consulting did the "technical, back-end" work. When Graham posts new blog content, the system sends a notice to her Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and fans of her Facebook business page -- a simple way to "reach everybody connected to you," Burton says.

"Not many small businesses realize you can link these things together. I think Kathy is ahead on some of these things. The trick is to put the time in (creating blog content)."

Graham can write, and she understands the need for content: No blog updates, no automatic Twitter-Facebook-LinkedIn connections with her market.

Graham's outreach plan is both smart and simple -- and relatively easy to duplicate. The potential drawback, however, is that "Most business owners don't blog. They don't see themselves as content generators," says Brian Basilico, a social media authority and director of direction at B2b Interactive Marketing, Aurora.

Ready to try?

• Jim Kendall welcomes comments at 2013 121 Marketing Resources Inc.

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