Confusion around blogging for business abounds and the growth in the use of social media has left many business asking more than a few questions.
- Should my website have a blog?
- Is Facebook the new Yellow Pages?
- Does Twitter, LinkedIn or Pintrest have more influence?
- Are customer reviews really important?
First we’ll focus on Blogging for Business, it’s role in social media optimization, and the question – Why blog?
What is a Blog?
Although blogging has been around for a while there is still some confusion about what it is and how or if it can benefit a business. A blog is a set of articles, called posts, most often listed in reverse chronological order. You have the choice whether or not to allow readers to leave comments on an individual post. A blog can be part of your website or can stand alone.
Blog Vs Website
There are different types of websites and depending on the purpose of the web content it may not be updated frequently. The core content on most websites doesn’t and shouldn’t change on a regular basis, with the exception of online retailers that are adding new products and updating navigation to help the customer find what they are looking for.
A blog is continually updated with new content and information that is helpful to the reader.
Google and the other search engines want to provide search visitors with useful, current, and relevant content. Quality content is one of the most significant factors used to determine what is returned in the search results.
Do I Need a Blog?
A website isn’t enough. Today’s consumers turn to Google and other search engines when they are looking for products and services. Your goal is to have customers find your website when they search and for it to be ahead of your competitors. In order to get ahead in the results race you need good quality content.
Blogging can be a great way to increase the visibility of your website and if possible should be included in your social media strategy. If you post articles about things that are important to your industry or niche you are more likely to get attention.
A good blog can help you
- Improve search engine placement – it’s not unusual for a blog to outrank a brand for key search phrases
- Attract new customers
- Engage customers and keep them coming back
- Become the authority in your niche
- Reach a wider audience than through traditional newsletters and industry publications
- Build your brand
- Build Trust
- Generating links for SEO and direct traffic
- Respond to customers and stories
Blogging for business has some great benefits but it’s important to be realistic about potential pitfalls. Maintaining a blog requires resources. A blog that is poorly written or updated infrequently is worse than not having a blog at all. You’ll want to make sure you have the right resources to write content and monitor comments.
It’s not mandatory that readers have the ability to comment, but it does build trust and has the potential to increase the reach – people like to know what their friends and colleagues are talking about. It can also be a valuable source of information for your business.
There may be legal considerations. Blogging software is generally easy to use once it’s set up; it will require that someone is responsible for maintenance and updates.
The potential upside far outweighs the perceived pitfalls.
Before you dive in and start blogging you need a plan. You need to assess your current situation, identify your strategy, and decide your approach.
Some key questions to ask are:
- Where are you now?
- Do you have existing websites of a social media following? Can you can use existing followers to promote your blog?
- Do you have the resources to set a blog up? If not do you have money in the budget for design and help?
- Are there legal issues you need to be aware of?
- What are the skills and availability of your current resources?
- Do you have money that can be used for a blogging budget?
- What resources do you need to acquire to support a blogging strategy?
Next week will focus on planning and strategy.
I’d love to hear your comments and stories.