18 Jan 2012

Blogging for Your Business: Simple Tips for Success

In: Inspiration Marketing Tech/Geek Zone

In business, failing to plan is planning to fail – your approach to writing a blog for your company should be no different. Without a clear-cut idea of exactly what it is you are trying to achieve, the overall message you are trying to convey, and precisely how you intend to do this, it is likely you will gain little by investing any time or effort into blogging at all.

How to write your blog

Once you establish your objectives and sit down to create your first post, you may find yourself with the dilemma – where do I start? If you are lacking inspiration, research a current topic or news item that many people may have interest in, and then consider how this applies to your own business. Alternatively, publish a post about recent news, events, or accomplishments from within your own company. This keeps your reader updated, shows pride in the achievements of your business and promotes a positive company image. Remember to always maintain the personality of your company: your blog should demonstrate your expertise and professionalism; it is not a direct sales tool or an online personal diary, so should never contain advertising or negative personal opinions. Finally, a fundamental tip is to always proof read your blog, preferably twice, before you publish. If your post does not flow properly, contains errors in spelling or grammar, or doesn’t actually make any sense, readers will instantly become disinterested and it could potentially harm the audience’s overall perception of your business.

How to promote your blog

Whilst putting your efforts into writing exceptional blogs can be a worthwhile exercise in its own right (allowing you to organise your thoughts and objectives etc), again there is little point investing your valuable time in it if no one is actually reading what you have written. So, once you’re comfortable with your writing, the next step is to promote your blog. If at first there is little traffic on your site, do not be put off – adapt. Use the site statistics to uncover which posts are attracting the most interest and use this information to influence the sort of posts you are publishing and the way in which you are writing them.

It is crucial that your blog can be easily found, both on your company’s own website and on the web in general. If your business caters for a niche market, it is more likely you will rank highly on the search engine ratings. If not, you will have to work harder in order to optimise your chances of attracting readers. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is essential: for example, you can improve your visibility by including links to other sites, guest writing and commenting on other blogs. Always do your research: there are free and paid tools online you can use to find out which keywords will maximise your chances of being seen – include them in your titles and heading tags. Lastly, ensure that you update your blog regularly, or at least, consistently: without fresh content, there is nothing to keep readers coming back for more.

If you are still unsure of what to do with your blog or how to go about it, consider how these successful businesses that have used their blogs to their advantage:

Starbucks – they use their blog to directly engage with their customer base, as a forum for exchanging ideas. The website is extremely simple, with only three main links: ‘Got an idea?’, ‘View Ideas’ and the company blog – ‘Ideas in Action’. Starbucks has a free and wide-ranging tool to discover exactly what the consumer wants; the consumer gets their favourite limited edition Mocha Coconut Frappucino back on the menu. A win-win situation.

Sweet Leaf Tea – an iced tea drinks company based in America, this blog perfectly captures the essence of a company that is fun and friendly. The eye-catching infographics are not only entertaining but designed for sharing: helping spread their logo and brand across the net. In addition, their use of competitions – encouraging their readers to send in comments and photos to win free goods or merchandise – keeps readers not only interested but most importantly, returning.

Thomson – examples of posts on this travel blog include positive entries from their own staff on their holidays, the rise of music tourism and tips on travel writing. Their posts encourage readers to consider a variety of different locations and types of holiday, without directly pushing their own services in the text. However, they are all still designed to promote the reader’s interest in travel: after all, you can’t write a travel blog if you haven’t actually been anywhere.

Regardless of what you choose to write about, be passionate, seek to understand your readers and most importantly, always make sure that your blog is a positive and constructive part of your company’s brand. Happy writing!

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