If the idea of creating a business blog scares you, you are not alone. All the hype and media attention makes the average business person feel that blogging is too mysterious and complicated to try. This is not the case!
Both the largest and the smallest companies blog to great effect. It’s not an experimental or risky technology. Blogs are easy to create and maintain. I use Typepad, but there are several good technologies out there.
So why do they inspire fear? Here are three things that I hear from clients that are not true about blogs:
- You need to be hip and cool to write a blog—unless your business is built around a celebrity, this can be a distraction. Readers are hungry for solid information.
- You’ll run out of things to write about—ask the marketing and sales team to volunteer topics that they are dealing with. If you are a small company, feature a guest blogger on a key topic to spice things up.
- You’ll be criticized and unable to withstand the onslaught of negative comments about your post—the risk of being criticized is always there, but if you follow common sense business rules, you should be engaging in a debate about a business topic, not a personal attack. If this happens, use your blog tools to prevent one person from hijacking the debate.
Most blog fears come from a misunderstanding about how a blog can support your business goals. Blogs should be part of your overall marketing strategy. They help you build and support your customer community. This is a key part of Web 2.0 marketing. You need to sit down with your team and see how you can extend your reach. Ask for input from all your departments. Customer Service should weigh-in on what they think customers care about.
Look at your blog as an alternate way to educate and sell to your customers. If you have a newsletter, add a section at the bottom that lists your latest post titles. This will make your customers aware of your blog. If they are interested, they’ll subscribe. Remember, your readers can be as active as they wish. They can subscribe to a feed or email update or drop in occasionally. It’s up to them.
Also, one significant benefit is that blogs are naturally optimized for search engines so you can generate more traffic. Just remember to focus on your keywords when you create your post titles.
The best way to start a blog is to start small. Build up your content and go slowly. Like any other marketing effort, you need to learn from your customers.