Blogs can sometimes seem like something only narcissistic weirdos with too much time on their hands are interested in producing. However, blogs can function as highly effective business tools. Web 2.0 and social media give us a way to connect with our clients and potential customers directly, encourage feedback from them, and find out how they think we’re doing, almost instantly. Done right, blogs can be used by businesses to promote their products and services, cement their brand, share news, and create brand evangelists – a community of dedicated followers and supporters. Blogs can also be used very successfully as an internal means of communication to engage with employees and receive valuable feedback from your own immediate community.
What are some of the main functions of a business blog?
You can choose to use your blog to communicate within your business or to reach out to your clients and customers (existing and potential). Your blog can function to
- market your company through free media
- raise your social media/online presence but also add depth to it
- communicate new products and services
- recruit new employees, clients, customers, investors, etc.
- communicate bad news to clients (but also do damage control at the same time)
- get instant feedback on new ideas/products/services
- gather information about potential target markets
- offer customer service and/or technical support
- and give your company a voice.
Of course you need to blog effectively to ensure the blog fulfills its potential functions.
What are some tips for better blogging?
In order to create a successful blog, you need to first of all identify who your intended audience is, whether internal or external. Next, you need to profile that audience to determine their particular needs and expectations. What sort of tone will they prefer? What types of information will they need and not need? What is their level of knowledge on the topic? Will they understand industry jargon or do they need layperson’s terms? Then you need to determine your blog’s ‘personality’ and the range of topics you are going to cover.
Remember that you are creating a whole channel of communication, not just a single message, so it takes careful preparation and follow-up to blog effectively.
Here are some of my other tried and tested tips for blogging:
- Use and develop a readable, comfortable, conversational style of writing (you have permission to be less formal but should still care about grammar, style, spelling etc. as this can affect your credibility)
- Keep the information valuable, interesting, and to the point
- Supply readers with links, extra resources, images, infographics, etc. (remember that both internal linking and external linking help with your search engine rankings)
- Proofread the message and evaluate the content (edit, edit, edit!)
- Keep your posts short (probably around the 180- 200 word mark)
- Create a list of topics for you and your team to write about so you don’t run out of steam
- Use engaging, eye-catching headings for your posts and use sub-headings for longer posts
- Tag your posts with appropriate tags and categories
- Ensure all information is legal, ethical, accurate, and not taken from any other source without permission or credit.
Finally, remember that you are trying to reach and build a community of readers who can potentially become clients or customers, so you need to allow for comments and feedback and be a responsive blogger. Reply to comments, consider following your own followers back , and encourage interaction.
Blogging is a great tool if used correctly, and remember that it’s perfectly appropriate for business, not just those navel-gazing weirdos…