Friday, November 20, 2009

Business Blogging: Why You Should Do It

Blogging can be a great benefit to your business if done well. In this post I will explore the benefits a blog can offer your business and why you should consider taking part in this method of direct communication with your audience.

What is a Blog?

Just to bring everyone up to speed…a blog is either a website or a section of a website that is updated regularly with posts from one or several “bloggers” or authors. Blog posts are often more casual in nature and offer the ability for users to leave comments, thus creating a conversation.

There are several free blog software options available to power a blog. Some of the most popular free blog software services available today include Blogger, Type Pad and Moveable Type just to name a few.

Why Should Your Business Blog?

Join the Conversation
No longer is the web a place to simply consume content, today users are content creators. Blogs in addition to other Web 2.0 services (e.g. ratings, reviews, media sharing, etc…) have helped this shift take place. This shift towards social media has resulted in millions of conversations happening on the web every day.

Blogging offers you and your business one path for participating in and creating conversations with your audience. For most businesses that conversation will be with your customers and/or industry colleagues. For many companies a blog is a great way to share and demonstrate your knowledge and experience in your industry. With time this can really enhance the reputation of the company and the blogger. A blog can also enhance a traditional business website by offering users a way to interact with your brand and share their experiences with your product. In both of these cases a blog can serve as a way of reaching out to an audience and engaging them with valuable and insightful content.

Get Feedback From Your Users
Once you are up and running and participating in the conversation you will naturally gain insights from user feedback. This is true of all social media platforms. User feedback, whether positive or negative, can be used to your businesses advantage. For example you might gain insights into what your business is doing right or wrong. What works? What doesn’t? What do your customers need and why? All of this information combined with other sources of collecting customer feedback can really help refine your product or strategy. Feedback from your audience also serves as valuable user generated content. This content will not only increase the overall value of your blog offering, but can also serve as trusted word of mouth marketing to new and potential customers. Authentic user feedback is pure gold!

Increase Search Engine Traffic
A blog will help increase your search engine traffic! One reason for this is due to the fact that blog software platforms almost always publish search engine friendly content pages. Secondly, search engines (especially Google) tend to favor blogs. Google will often return to a website or blog that is updated regularly, which all blogs should be. So this will help increase the frequency that Google visits your site looking for new content thus adding your pages to their index faster. Thirdly, a blog allows you to expand your keyword base. A traditional business website does not change often and has only a limited number of content pages to optimize your content for your targeted keywords. Blogging allows you to publish supplemental content targeting a wider basket of terms including new and related keywords that your website might not speak to. Your blog will become a new channel for customers to find you through search engines.

Promotion and Distribution with RSS
RSS feeds have become a great tool for bloggers to get their content distributed across a variety of blog networks and search engines. Many web users regularly visit sites such as Technorati which aggregate blog content across a variety of topics. Aggregation sites are a great resource for finding articles and content. By distributing your blog content through RSS feeds you open more gateways for new users to find you.

Have Some Fun
Last but not least blogging can be fun. If you choose the right people to blog for your company, and they are willing and able to do it, a blog can offer some nice variety to a person’s work routine. Blogging is also a great way to stay engaged and informed with your industry.

If you are considering if a blog might be right for your business I would suggest you give it a try and see what happens. Blogging might not be for every company (or everyone), but until you try it is impossible to know.

Happy blogging and thanks for reading!

Posted via web from Mike's posterous

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