We have been writing online since 1994, but we didn’t know that we were blogging until around the year 2000 🙂
Wikipedia says: The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz. He broke the word weblog into the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar of his weblog in April or May of 1999. Basically a blog is a website where a blogger enters “posts” in reverse chronological order ( meaning that the newest “posts” are displayed first ) using some sort of blogging software that allows readers to comment on posts, effectively adding new content to the blog.
Initially blogs were generally private affairs with bloggers using them to keep online diaries. These days blogs have expanded to a virtually unlimited number of uses, including helping to build businesses. While a number of unscrupulous business men have resorted to publishing “splogs” or spam blogs, we will focus on how you can utilize blogging to help build your business while contributing to the blogosphere.
The blogosphere ( the community of blogs or the social network of blogs ) has a certain set of rules that have to be followed in order to publish a successful blog. The first rule is that your blog must contribute to the blogosphere – that is you must actually publish real content and not advertisements. A sure way to produce a blog that flops is to pump it full of advertisements disguised as content.
While the goal of a business-type blog is to build interest in your product or service, there is a right way to go about it and a way that is sure to fail. Instead of trying to sell products in each of your posts, think about trying to open a dialogue with your customers. That brings up another point – if you are not 100% confident in your product or service then a blog is not for you.
With the way that the blogosphere works if you are not willing to get behind your products and services completely. then you are going to have problems. When your customers or clients post comments to original posts, there are bound to be some problems or issues exposed – it is just the nature of the beast. If these issues are not addressed satisfactorily ( or even worse if comments are not followed up on or even allowed to be posted at all ), then your company is not going to have a very good reputation in the blogosphere. If you are not willing to have an open discussion of your business with the readers of your blog, don’t blog.
The goal is to build up a reputation for your blog that reflects positively on your company. If you can do this, you are well on your way to building a successful blog. If a potential customer comes to your blog and notices your clients that had a problem were satisfactorily appeased, then they will view your company in a better light than they would without that information.
And that brings up a huge advantage to having a blog for your business – you can out flank the media, your competitors and all of the other traditional information outlets with your blog. If you successfully optimize your pages and build up a reputation for your blog ( think Google pagerank ), your posts stand a good chance of coming up first in search results for a particular product or service. Obviously if that page reflects well on your product or service this is preferable to your clients getting their information from a different source.
Another advantage of creating a blog about your industry is that you can set yourself up as an expert on the topic. While this only works if you have substantial knowledge of a given subject, most business owners are well versed about their industry – at least more so then the average reader of their blog. So capitalize on this knowledge by posting “insider” information about your industry – and where appropriate highlight your company’s, products or services strengths.
You have to remember however that your blog is not a press https://www.alexandremthefrenchy.com/ release. If the readers don’t feel like you are posting in the true spirit of blogging, then your blog is doomed to failure. So don’t let your PR guys write the blog; take the opportunity to make real connections with the readers of your blog. Blogging done the right way is one of the best ways to truly achieve 1 to 1 marketing.
Your blog will have to be integrated into your whole net strategy – for example in your online catalog you can have links to posts that discuss that product. If customers contact support, they should be sent links to blog pages discussing the information they are looking for as well as the product pages or the FAQ. And don’t forget to include your blog in your marketing strategies, new product launches, etc.