Over the past several years, I have often discussed with clients the merits and pitfalls of starting a blog for their businesses. Here are some of my thoughts:
As with any marketing effort, the rewards of blogging are great, but there is a lot to consider upfront.
First, let’s consider the benefits of a business blog:
- Increase your website traffic;
- Easily update your blog;
- Share your company’s expertise;
- Showcase new projects/work;
- Connect and participate in conversations with your target market;
- Show your company’s personality;
- Be accessible;
- Turn your customer base into fans of your company
Those are just some of the perks. Now, let’s consider some of the pitfalls – and, more importantly, how to avoid them:
Inconsistency – the most important rule you need to follow with a blog is sticking to a schedule. If you begin your blog and write every day, then you need to continue to write every day. The first important decision is to determine how much time the person(s) assigned to blogging has to research, write and post each week or month. Then, stick to the plan.
- Grandstanding – All right, I know earlier I stated that a blog is an excellent marketing tool. However, over embellishing would even turn off your own mother from loyally following your blog. There’s a balance between aggrandizing and providing valuable content. Walk the line carefully.
- Censorship – the whole notion of social media is to exchange information freely. Yet some companies continue to worry about permitting the public to leave a comment. Forbidding the free exchange of ideas usually has the opposite result, leaving viewers to feel that they cannot trust a company who censors. Another goal of a blog is to start a conversation with your audience. Therefore, it is equally important to respond and participate in the dialog when comments are left on a post. Make it easy for your readers to leave remarks and share posts. Certainly, monitoring comments for appropriate content is understandable, but the purpose of a blog is to start a conversation – don’t make it a one way one.
- Sequestered – With over 400 million estimated active blogs on the web currently, “write and they will come” will simply not work to promote your blog. You need to do some legwork to get the word out by building your blog as part of your website. If that’s not possible, add your blog address to all your communications (business card, brochures, advertisements etc). Next, incorporate an RSS feed so readers can subscribe. Make good use of social media channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to promote new content when added. Including keywords to make your blog more searchable will ensure your audience is more likely to find you.
I hope you agree that the perks far outweigh the pitfalls. If you’d like to further the discussion and learn more about blogs for your business, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, I hope you will take a minute to check out this blog to see how we do it at Elements. Happy blogging!