Blogging as a business marketing tool is on the increase, and it’s easy to see why. It offers organisations an effective way to reveal a more personal side of their business to their customers, prospects, suppliers and staff.
The best Blogs are conversational in style, and encourage interaction through comment and discussion. Your blog will help your business to build a rapport with your target audience, and give you the opportunity to gain valuable insight into what makes them tick. They’re also a fantastic way to drive more traffic to your main website, highlight your expertise in a particular area, build brand awareness and position yourself as a market leader.
So where do you start?
Initially you could try setting up a hosted blog a service like Blogger WordPress or Typepad (Blogger and WordPress are free, while Typepad offers a 30 day free trial). You can have your blog up-and-running in minutes.
If you want more control over your blog, you may want to consider hosting it on your own webserver, and there is plenty of blogging software — both free open source options and commercial offerings — that let you do just that.
To test-drive some of the open source (as in free) options check out OpenSourceCMS.com which lets you play with a huge variety of open source software to find out what works for you. You’ll find blogging software under “Blogs” in the CMS Demo menu on the left nav. I have this blog running on my web hosting account alongside my other websites CJ Writing, Image Invitations and Reenascreena.com. It uses the free, open source WordPress blogging platform, which was an absolute doddle to install and use.
Whatever platform you choose to use for your business blog, here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Update your blog regularly — unless you provide fresh, topical content both your readers and search engines will rapidly grow tired of your blog. Make blogging part of your daily or weekly routine.
- Give your blog a focus — decide what your blog will be about, make it relevant to your business and to your readers, and make sure its a subject that you’re interested in, or even better, passionate about. That passion will shine through in your posts and you’ll attract more readers and more inward link that will help promote your blog’s search engine ranking.
- Don’t make it too formal — unlike a lot of business writing, your blog should be personal, and written in a conversational style that connects with your readers. Steer clear of business or technical jargon, and try and write the way you’d speak to a friend. Blogging is about building up a rapport with your audience, and you won’t do that with formal, stuffy or overly verbose language.
- Keep it varied — although your blog needs to have a particular focus, try and vary the topics you cover within that broader subject area. People don’t generally want to read about the same thing over and over again.
- Have fun — if you enjoy writing your blog, chances are that people will enjoy reading it.
Blogs are becoming a serious and very effective business tool. If you have a business, and want to maximise the effectiveness of your online presence, you should seriously consider setting up your own blog.
If you need help with setting up a blog for your business, or with writing regular, entertaining, targeted blog posts to keep your readers coming back for more then get in touch.