December 2007

It is great to see articles appear in major newspapers which extol the virtues of blogging and in particular business blogging. This is partly because it adds some additional (hopefully) useful information for companies looking at whether they are going to incorporate it into their own activities and partly because it is always hugely powerful when one information medium sticks its neck out and recommends another.

So last week’s article in the New York Times entitled Bloggings a Low-Cost, High Return Marketing Tool was a good read particularly with an opening line which states that blogging is widely considered as “a low-cost, high-return tool that can handle marketing and public relations, raise the company profile and build the brand”. Good start point but that’s by no means all that they do!!

As the article nicely points out, the benefits for small businesses range far and wide but need to be focused in order to be successful. To be truly effective, they need to form start of the business strategy which, after all, is what should be happening with all marketing activities. They can then be used to:

  • demonstrate expert opinion

  • develop a community around the business

  • become a respected source of information

  • create new relationships and partnerships for the business

  • develop greater awareness of the company and the brand

  • show a personal side to the company’s activities

and many more activities, some of which are outlined in more detail in the document “An Introduction to Business Blogging“.

There was, however, one small element that I disagreed with. Although I share the author’s opinion that blogs are not for all companies, I do believe that the opportunities they offer are more extensive than most people believe. To use an example given in the article, a restaurant may not consider blogging to be as important as serving great food but it can certainly benefit from the publicity and visibility it can offer.

After all, blogs are the nearest thing to online Word of Mouth that we have and Word of Mouth is a key elements of a restaurant’s marketing opportunities. Additionally, a blog can also be used to run a ‘customer reactions’ area which can introduce the interactive element to a website, allowing diners to record their impressions, enhance Search Engine rankings and help to generate online word of mouth par excellence.

The use of blogs is starting to be better understood by both small companies and corporates alike, but we are still only scratching the surface of what they can be used for and help businesses to achieve. Here’s hoping that, in 2008, we can help to push the boundaries even further.

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Once again the time has come to put the keyboard to one side for a few days so this will be my last post before Christmas and for a few days – family duties call! I will, however, be posting between Christmas and the New Year and planning my own blogging ahead in 2008 to try to see where blogging and social media will be fitting into the business fabric over the next 12 months.

There will also be a very important series lasting most of the year which will be looking at blog promotion and general business marketing which I will be giving you more details of in the New Year.

For now, though, I’d like to really thank all of you who have been reading and commenting on Better Business Blogging during the course of this year – it certainly has been very inspiring to have had the opportunity to talk to so many of you, mainly online but also face to face, and I hope I will be able to meet more of you during the coming year.

A very Merry Christmas 2007, Happy Holidays and a Peaceful Festive Season to you!

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  1. Happy Christmas!

To say that I’m not a fan of Blogger is probably understating things a bit – when it comes to business blogs, their system is certainly way down the list of blogging platforms that I’d choose or recommend.

However, when it comes to their owner Google, then as part of their foray into the world of blogging, Blogger is a crucial part. Firstly, in spite of my reservations, they certainly helped the personal blogger (and splogger – but that’s a different story) by buying and developing Blogger when blogging was still something that the general public knew nothing about and businesses had never considered them as a serious marketing tool.

After that, they introduced a blog specific search engine which, although it doesn’t match Technorati in the level of information that it offers, is still blog specifc and is updated very quickly through pinging. Recently, they have also bought Feedburner which is the preeminent RSS tool – a key element of blogs around the world.

So what have they done now? Well, in many respects, nothing as innovative as the elements that I have mentioned above, but nevertheless, something which is significant … although it may not sound it. They have added blogs to their universal search engine.

So what is good about that? Well firstly, this is the selection that you can make on Google’s homepage which currently allows you to choose images, news, maps … etc or others. In the near future, you should also be able to choose blogs as well as an individual “category”. This is a real change and step forward for blogs because of the preeminence and influence that Google has as a Search Engine which will in its turn benefit blogs more than simply having the blog search engine as a separate entity.

So, yet again, Google leads the way in terms of accessing and referencing blogs … so let’s take advantage of the elements that they offer and use them to our advantage!

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