I get asked these questions over and over again from clients -
- Why should I have a blog?
- We are not an internet business, why should we blog?
- Does blogging really work for businesses?
This post is the first of a 5 part series on business blogging for small and medium businesses. I’ll be covering the basics in this post and then move to more advanced topics in subsequent posts.
The Concept of a Business Blog
First of all I would like to elaborate more on the definition of a business blog. According to blogossary, a business blog can be defined as
a regularly updated website managed by a business or company in order to increase sales, promote a product or service, and/or to open up the lines of communication with current or prospective customers.
Notice the phrase in the definition ‘regularly updated’ – I think that is key to the success of a blog. It enables businesses regularly update the public, existing and potential customers about their products, services, announcements and press releases.
‘Regular updated’ could vary for several businesses; for instance a small size building repairs company looking to get more customers online via a blog would not need to blog every business day. ‘Regularly updated’ in this scenario could mean once a week updating the public about their timetable, new equipment, DIY tips, hires and general announcements.
For a law firm trying to garner an online audience and prospective customers, posting on a blog could be more regular due to the fact that there is a lot more to say. There are several case studies, announcements, changes in law, advice and FAQs from everyday interaction with clients. As an example of what I mean, check this popular law business blog based in China - it gets updated on a daily basis.
The point I’m getting to is that businesses should blog within their means to keep the fire burning. There is no point bursting into publishing several posts at the start of a blog and then cooling off due to a lack ideas for posts. Consistency is key and you as a business owner, determine your means and level of consistency from day one.
Tip: Have a publishing schedule & stick to it!
Fluid Marketing and PR
Remember, 90 per cent of the time, most corporate websites tend to be static and rarely updated. Blogs provide your website the opportunity to be active and ever changing. This not only helps search engines assign authority and relevance to your site, but also gives your business a personality.
Your tone, message and content would inevitably get picked up by the press, customers or prospects from a well optimised blog.
Your blog is probably the cheapest and most effective PR tool you have.
Coming Up with Ideas
When implementing a blogging strategy for our clients, the starting point would usually be listing potential categories for posts. We would typical come up with 6 to 12 initial categories and then drill down to about 5 ideas for each category. The result of this exercise is to come up with an editorial schedule comprising of 30-60 post ideas.
If these ideas are not followed up, they inevitably become useless – so we immediately assign these post ideas to the writers (who could be full-time internal writers, members of staff with the required expertise or freelancers). Assigning a schedule puts a plan in stone for all parties to assume responsibility.
Now that we have a publishing schedule, what do we need to do to get visitors to the blog?
How do you market your business blog? Our next post would address this….so stay tuned.