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People enjoy finding like-minds, swapping information, sharing a joke, learning new stuff and getting ideas. Ultimately this kind of activity leads to trust and trust, as we all know, can lead to all sorts of exciting possibilities.
Enter the blogosphere…
Back in 2004 blogs, the nickname given to ‘weblogs’, really began to gain ground as a mass participation medium; in other words a way for anyone and everyone to talk about what interested, annoyed, upset or otherwise enthused them. With the added benefit of search engines checking out the blogs for links and key words it soon became apparent that blogs were going to be a really useful way for individuals and organisations to raise their online profiles. “But why blog?” you cry, “there are thousands out there; aren’t they very time consuming? Who would want to know what I have to say or even care?”
In business trust is intangible, yet trust is a key element of any negotiation or sale, as opposed to blind faith or guess work, which can get us in to all sorts of trouble. A blog is a great way to give personality to your business but also lay the groundwork for showing your current and potential clients what you’re about: your beliefs, your methods and why they should trust you in a market teeming with competitors. Well written and regularly maintained a blog will also improve your visitor traffic and search engine rankings, thus you’ll be easier to find online.
Top tips for great business blogs…
- Appreciate that this is a way to engage and share with others: colleagues, current clients, fellow industry professionals, potential customers and casual ‘drop-ins’.
- Set out your goals e.g. increased enquiries, website traffic and, possibly less easy to measure, brand awareness. Plan your blogs, their timing, content and measure away…
- Don’t over do it, but do it regularly – make it manageable by getting some of your team to come in with ideas and take turns. Don’t ramble on forever and remember it’s a public forum – give it personality but don’t get personal.
- Be informative, honest and generous; offer experience, ideas, links, offers and announcements making it attractive and worth returning to (this doesn’t exclude fun stuff – share the joy!). Check out Seth Godin’s blog on “marketing, respect, and the way ideas spread.”
- Enjoy developing a ‘voice’ for your business - form a plan for what to discuss, including reaction to current industry events.
- Understand that a blog is an investment and part of your long-term communication strategy. Random, poorly written and irrelevant blogs are a waste of time and won’t build the trust you’re looking for.
- Make it a two-way street: encourage feedback and comment; you’ll be learning more about your customers and what they’re looking for.
Together with more traditional elements a blog can be a highly effective tool in your communications and online strategy; offering you another way to reach the most important people in the life of your business - your customers.
This article was also published within a series of blogs for the Big Ideas Collective.
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