As appeared in the Presence Pointers column of the August 2008 issue of “Business Watch” magazine.
Are you plugged into the blogosphere? Do you follow bloggers you enjoy reading, and maybe even participate on their blogs by sharing your comments? Has your company built up a following with its own blog? If not, then you may have some catching up to do.I’m sure some of you have just come to the realization that you need a website, so hearing that you need a blog may not leave you dancing for joy. The good news is, depending on your business, Web site needs, target audience and goals, you might decide that your Web site should in fact, just be a blog.
What Are Blogs?
Blog, for those who aren’t quite up on their Web lingo, is a Web log. Okay, that still doesn’t mean much. Originally, these Web logs started out like online diaries with entries that visitors could read and comment on. Blogs have come quite a ways since that definition.
Now blogs are more than just a person’s recounts of events. Bloggers still include individuals sharing their lives and stories, but they also include companies, shared-interest groups, non-profits, and so on, sharing thoughts, ideas, tips and information. Anyone can blog, and while not every business has to blog, most should at least consider it.
Why Your Company Should Blog
Blogging opens up an unmatched channel for communication with your target audience. Good blogs convey a sense of direct communication between the blogger and the reader. Allowing readers to comment and replying to comments creates an opportunity for participation and interaction.
The interaction of blogging can help companies, at least through the blogger, to connect on a more personal level with their audience. The blog puts a human face on the company, giving it a voice that is more personal and less business. Or at least it should.
A blog will also give you greater opportunity to share information or carry on discussions that you might not include on your current Web site. Where your product or service pages may be more sales and feature focused, a blog post gives the opportunity to share more general thoughts, or specific ideas or tips on using a product, or even the opportunity to solicit the readers for their input on what features they most want in a product.
Regardless of the industry or topic, if you do a little searching online, you are bound to turn up a blog covering it. When considering a blog for your business, remember that any topic is blog worthy as long as there are readers who share an interest in the topic. Success in blogging comes when a blogger writes about something they are passionate about, in a way that also connects with the interests of the readers.
- Generally best to setup a blog on your Web site, rather than on a new domain or one of the blogging services, that way your entire site will benefit from any links to the blog.
- Blog posting goal should be at least 2 posts a week, and 4 to 5 would be even better. Posts don’t have to be long, just interesting to readers.
- Don’t use the blog as just another advertising or sales channel. Focus on building rapport and interest with your audience.
- Communicate with your audience through the comments, but also by seeking out other blogs of mutual interest and participating there as well.