Originally published on the Shirlaws Business Coaching Blog, 2007-2010.
Are you hip to the benefits of new technology, or thinking about installing a CD Player into your Stagecoach? I promised the theme of this year’s blog would be ‘Efficiency‘, and threatened it would likely start with a technological flavour to educate and entertain a non-business geek audience. What better way to begin a series of blog posts than with a look at blogging for business?
Interaction. Whether it’s sharing the inner workings of your business, developments in your industry, or just communicating with clients and contacts, Blogging allows you to create a dialogue with clients, associates, and the broader online community.
I’ve heard of that, but exactly what is it?
Blogging is often thought of like an online journal or newsletter, where you can regularly share your opinions or relevant information through your website. The length of your ‘posts’ can vary – these might be brief thoughts or well-researched articles.
A blog is usually separated from the website in that it gives readers, through a comments section or discussion forum, an opportunity to give their thoughts or ask further questions. By entering a dialogue with readers you can gain valuable market information.
Regularly updating your website in this manner encourages more visitors and repeat visitors, and is understood to help with your ranking on search engines such as Google. Useful information shared through your blog may also attract links from other websites, drawing visitors and helping with Pagerank.
OK, and how can I make this work for my Business?
First, get clear on why you have a website in the first place. Decisions – the length and tone of your posts, their frequency (will you blog twice daily, once fortnightly or somewhere in between?) and who in your business will write and put their name to the blog posts (may be more than one) – should reflect the overall purpose.
You can draw interest to your blog through other communications, such as client newsletters, and by reminding staff and associates to check regularly or subscribe. You can also draw attention by reading other, related blogs and leaving comments with a link to your site – just be sure your comments add value or risk being considered spam.
Linking from your posts to useful articles on other websites and blogs (known as link-love) can also let people know you exist and may lead to return links. For a great example, see my post from our recent Client Conference. There are 33 links in this one blog post – 18 are internal (eg, links to other Shirlaws articles), and 15 point people outside our site.
Sounds great – what else do I need to know?
Expect your first few months of blogging to be a little lonely, without too many comments. This is an exercise that takes time, and the return on Blogging involves longer-term investment.
Continue to write relevant posts that add value to the community, and people will read them and come back for more.
Have I missed anything?