Blogging (originating from the conjunction “Web Log”) is a powerful tool to communicate information across the internet. A basic Blog consists of articles written by an individual, company, journalist, or by a Blogging Professional who may be hired to write for any of the aforementioned parties. Blogging Professionals who write anonymously for someone else are sometimes referred to as “Ghost Writers”.
Blogging in a personal context is often similar to journaling, and is casual and open in style. In a business context though, it may or may not be appropriate to remove all barriers in communication. Once a piece of communication is released on the internet, in all reality it may never be taken back. Therefore, having a well developed strategy is essential to avoid costly mishaps for your business.
Think of Business Blogging this way – if you were communicating to someone who had walked into your office and asked for you to give them an explanation about what your company does, what products or services you provide, and why they should do business with you… what would you say? Most likely, you would want to be well spoken, on task, and provide valuable information to that person.
Several things to do not want to do in Business Blogging is to directly criticize the competition, come across as rude or vulgar, or to say something you would regret at a later date. Business Blogging is an essential part of your marketing in today’s world. Because of the extremely low cost of Business Blogging, it should be taken into consideration by every business that wants to be successful.
Strategic Business Blogging
Some businesses have entered in to the process of communicating to their potential constituent base via Blogging, and have become frustrated with the process either because of the time it takes or because they do not see or understand the results that Blogging is having on their business. Rest assured that Blogging always has an effect on your business, and when strategically applied, it can be developed in such a way as to have a positive effect on your overall performance.
Strategic Business Blogging accomplishes the following when done properly:
o It forces you to define and refine your message to the world
o It places the writer in a good practice of communication about the business, product, or service
o It generates content that can be reused in additional contexts
o It creates an ongoing stream of information for your constituent base
o It boosts your exposure on the internet
o It challenges the competition
o It attracts more customers
o It automates your sales process
o It fits any budget
o It is not dependent on equipment, location, or special skill set to produce marketing content
Keys to Success
There are many keys to successful Business Blogging, but several are worth mentioning for their simplicity. Each of the following tactics will produce better results through web exposure for your business. Oddly though, many Business Bloggers fail to understand these simple techniques, and thereby loose the power that blogging can bring to their company.
#1 Know Where To Go
If you wanted to communicate you a quality group of people about your business, you wouldn’t be likely to spend time shouting in the middle of the desert. The same is true with blogging – go where the people are that you want to be your current and future customers.
If you are a Business-to-Consumer based organization, then you should be Blogging where your customers will potentially read the articles you post. For example, if your business made a special calendar booklet for busy stay-at-home moms, the best place to blog would be on a website (or dedicated blog) that is aimed a moms, allows moms to communicate with one another, and allows for the potential of businesses who may have a helpful product to share that product with that online community.
For a Business-to-Business based organization, then the best places to Blog are professional association websites and online communities that cater to the specific industries and professions. If you were a supplier of Soft Drink Dispensing Machines, then participating in a Hospitality and Tourism, or Restaurant Blog website would be a great investment of time.
With the advanced state of Blogging in our world today – it is more than likely that there are online communities that support your local business market, and provide a place for you to communicate with your target geographic market through Blogging.
#2 Describe Who You Are – Every Time
Readers will discover your Blog from an unlimited number of sources on the internet. Because of this, they may arrive with little to no information about who you are and what you do. In order to make sure that each and every reader can understand who is writing the article, it is extremely important to include a small paragraph at the bottom of each Blog with a small company description and your contact information. One format than can be used is the following:
ABC, Inc. is a company that provides XYZ to [Businesses/Consumers] who are looking for the highest quality XYZ in the [Your Location] area. We enjoy helping our clients find exactly the right solution, and would enjoy hearing from you today! [Include Contact Information]
#3 Use Links to Send People to Your Website
It is important to remember that people will be reading your articles on the internet – and therefore they expect to be provided with relevant links to websites that have to do with the topics being covered in your Blog. As a result of this, every Blog you write should include a minimum of two links back to your website embedded into the article itself.
For example if you owned a home-baked cookie business, you would want to create your links in this manner:
Yummie Bakery of Atlanta, GA is proud to announce our latest line of home baked cookies – The Mini Bites. Mini Bites continue the tradition of providing the best in Organic Cookies with the healthy convenience of smaller sizes and on-the-go eco friendly cookie packaging.
Take note that each of the areas underlined in blue is a link to a particular area of the Yummie Bakery website that will provide further information about that particular topic. This is known as Keyword Linking. Nearly every Blogging platform (the website used for Blogging) will allow the writer to create links to any page on the internet. When a search engine reviews your Blog, it will find those links, and will begin to calculate a higher ranking for your company website, and thereby make it easier for people to find you on the web.
#4 Keep It Short and Sweet
People today are very busy and want to feel as if they are getting the most of their time. When it comes to Blogging, people make only take the time to quickly scan your article to see if they want to invest the time to read the rest. Your first sentence should capture the reader’s attention and give them an indication of what the remainder of the article is about. Additionally, if your article is picked up in a search engine, it will be the first few words that appear to give an indication of what the article is about, thus increasing the likelihood that someone will read your article if they find it in a search engine.
Blogging in a business context can be a highly effective method of attracting more customers to your business by providing them with relevant information on the web. With each Blog you write, you will find that the process becomes smoother, the words flow more freely, and the ideas to create success for your business on the web are endless. We look forward to reading your next Blog sometime soon!
Justin W. Burns is a Corporate Web Strategist, Organizational Leadership Specialist, and Conference Speaker and works as a consultant for a variety of national companies who are seeking greater success on the web. Justin is also the Owner/President of 360WebExpeditions.com, a Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas based Business Coaching and Web Marketing Company.