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Should Your Business be Blogging?

By Marc Reifenrath on September 16, 2008 in Digital Marketing

There are literally tens of millions of blogs out on the web today.  Many of these are personal blogs and there is a growing community of blogs that are for businesses.  More and more businesses have been jumping into this form of communication and doing so with no direction.  The lines become crossed of whether or not this is a personal blog or another form of well thought out branding and PR by your business.

Setting up a blog has become very easy.  In about ten minutes you can have your blog setup and ready for posts.  Two of the more popular providers allow you to use their software free of charge; WordPress and Blogger by Google.  Both of these platforms have their advantages and disadvantages, and by doing a little research up-front, choosing the right one for your organization can be simple.

Before you race-off to setup an account with one of the above providers however, you really should spend some time asking yourself if a blog really benefits your organization.  This will likely depend on the type of business you are in.  If you have a client demographic that is on the web and would be interested in hearing and learning from what you have to say on a regular basis then yes, go for it.  One of the single biggest mistakes you can make is starting a blog on your site and not posting to it often enough.  From a corporate blog perspective, users want to be enlightened; they want to be educated about your area of expertise.
Think of your blog as a conversation with your current clients and prospective clients.  In this conversation you will need to educate users on the various topics that are impacting your industry.  Avoid potential damaging topics, such as what you did over Labor Day weekend and how much you had to drink.  By mixing business discussions and personal escapades you are blurring your message and could be harming your image.  Also, be sure that you are spelling correctly and using proper grammar.  By creating well thought out content that truly is a resource, users will begin to look at you and your company as experts.  This builds rapport over time and will strengthen your relationship.  If the user isn't a client, over time the need for your products or services could arise and you will now be at the fore-front of their mind.
Often times a blog is considered a one way communication effort.  In some cases this is very true, in others it is not.  A blog can have user generated feedback via comments to your postings.  Be prepared for the good, the bad and the worst case scenario.  Both of the solutions I've referenced allow the administrator to delete specific comments; however, this decision should be contemplated. Some users may post negative feedback just because and others may have valid concerns.  By opening this dialogue and displaying your genuine interest in what others think of your product or service  could help you garner trust and confidence.
Many corporations struggle with exactly what they should be blogging about.  This is a common position, it is clear they should be doing something, but they just don't know exactly what to do.  In this scenario there is help.  There are many consultants that offer blog "coaching".  These consultants can help train your staff to use the medium in a very effective way.  Over time the consultant won't be needed as your staff becomes more and more comfortable with posting on their own.
Remember, it is ok if your company doesn't have a blog.  If it is something your business decides to do, make sure you have a clear plan in place for regular posting.  Think through what you ultimately want to accomplish with the blog.  If you're not sure what your business should be doing, check out how other businesses are using this medium and how it applies to your situation.  Happy blogging, if you choose to do so.

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