FREE eCOURSE ON
    BUSINESS BLOGGING

    Everything you need to set-up, develop & promote a successful Business Blog

    Full Name

    Email

    Referred by


    FULL COURSE DETAILS HERE

  • Warren: Blogging and Social Media definitely go hand in hand. Having a successful social presence can do a lot for a...
  • Jennifer Rai: All points mentioned above are very well put together. Blogs having purpose and a focus on certain...
  • jessica@lukeroxas: I ran a small home based business, and lately I’ve decided to put up my own website,...
  • Rob: Rather weird that a blog on blogging hasn’t been updated since 2009!
  • Ayala Land: Perhaps I was one of those companies who, as you put it “think they can avoid it” but thanks to well...

    Join me on Twitter at @BlogCoach




    Blogging News: here are all the key posts


    Blogs for businessI had the pleasure of having some friends over this weekend – it was great to see them, as it seems so long since we hosted at home following the arrival of our first born aka “he who shall be obeyed”! :)

    After dinner, I was chatting with one of my friends and we touched on something that I wanted to share with you because it’s just so relevant to what we are doing.

    He kindly asked how my “blogging business” was going and I replied that at the moment there seemed to be a growing interest in both social media and blogging which meant that things looked positive for the coming year. He was very pleased for me but he went on to tell me that the while he knew of my interest in blogging, he had never actually read a blog himself. “Bollocks,” I thought. I said that I’d be surprised if he hadn’t, as I knew he was someone who liked to keep up to date with the news in general and the financial news in particular.

    So I asked him if he read the Business section of the BBC news website. “Everyday”, he replied. “I particularly like Peston’s Picks – it’s the best bit of the whole site.” (That’s written by the BBC’s Business editor, Robert Peston).

    “Yep, one of my favourites too”, I replied. “What do you like about it?”

    “Well, he always seems to have written it that day so it’s got the latest news – exactly what I’m looking for – and you know that he’s got the inside track on the stories because of his reputation from the TV. I also like that fact you can also leave your own opinion at the end of the article and, to honest, some of those are really interesting too.”

    Well, if those all sound to you like key characteristics of a blog then you’d be spot on and indeed Peston’s Picks is one of the most read blogs on the BBC site, particularly in the current economic climate, for exactly the reason my friend cited. But the fact is that although there are references to it being a blog, it just comes across as the place on the site where you can read what Robert writes. The fact that the technology he uses happens to be called a blog is frankly immaterial – it’s just the name we currently give to it.

    So, in fact my friend is an avid reader of a blog (and no doubt others) without even knowing it. Perhaps he’s also exactly the sort of person that we should be seeking out and listening to as we start blogs for our own businesses. Rather than focusing on creating a widely read “blog”, I believe that he reminds us that instead we should be looking to write widely read articles or to engage in conversations or create connections with people we want to associate with. The fact that we do so through something called a blog happens to be because it’s the perfect tool for the job.

    So when we plan our blogs, let’s put ourselves in the place of my friend and look at what matters to him – that’s all about content, authenticity, discussion and relevance. And it’s very little about the technology that we choose to use to supply him with those things.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    7 Comments 
    Tags: , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Business Blogs, Social Media and Welcome Mats
    2. Spotlight on UK Business Blogs

    Business Blogs Grow UpI’ve been running this blog for nearly three years now and have seen a lot of changes in the acceptance and usage of blogs in business during that time, first in the US and then more recently here in the UK as well.

    Unlike many, I never really entered the blogging fray with a truly personal blog which was designed simply to broadcast my opinions – that wasn’t of interest to me. Personally, right from the start I have approached blogging from a standpoint of it being a business tool – hence the name of this blog – and wanted to share those business possibilities with others.

    Blogging is Dead, Long Live Blogging

    Latterly, I’ve seen a spate of articles about the death of blogging, most notably one on Wired – however, I have been encouraged by the quantity of comments on these posts which in the most part have been supportive of blogging. For me, blogging as I perceive it (ie. in business terms) is not only not dead, it is still to reach its prime – in terms of the Technical Adoption Lifecycle, I see it still very much in the Early Adopter phase, particularly in the UK.

    This was made abundantly clear to me last week in two very different situations:

    • in the first, I was giving a presentation to a group of marketing managers on “Blogging and Social Media” at a workshop run by Generate UK. For most of the attendees, blogging was still something which they were planning and preparing for rather than tiring of it.
    • Equally, in the second, a meeting with a FTSE100 company demonstrated their desire to fully engage with blogging, but only subject to demonstrable benefits and previous examples. Once again, classic drivers for companies in the early and late majority phase.

    In both instances, after discussion, it was clear that there were still huge benefits to be had for them from starting a corporate blog, supported by other social media activity we looked at.

    A great response

    The best overall response to the “Blogging is Dead” theme, though, came from the Economist in an article entitled Oh, Grow up with “Blogging is no longer what it was, because it has entered the mainstream” as its subtitle.

    Spot on – that’s exactly what has happened.

    I particularly loved the analogy that was made with PDAs, not least because I was working at Psion as handheld computers went through their initial boom and bust phase and so have first hand experience of the way that particular market morphed into what we see today.

    “Gone, in other words, is any sense that blogging as a technology is revolutionary, subversive or otherwise exalted, and this upsets some of its pioneers. Confirmed, however, is the idea that blogging is useful and versatile. In essence, it is a straightforward content-management system that posts updates in reverse-chronological order and allows comments and other social interactions. Viewed as such, blogging may “die” in much the same way that personal-digital assistants (PDAs) have died. A decade ago, PDAs were the preserve of digerati who liked using electronic address books and calendars. Now they are gone, but they are also ubiquitous, as features of almost every mobile phone.”

    I see blogging as such. The way in which I see blogs and websites merging more and more reaffirms this small businesses I work with are now deciding not just to set up a blog but rather use the technology to run their whole site giving them control over updates, the ability to post and distribute information as required and of course the all important interactivity.

    For me, the research by Gartner reiterates this in their Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. They also position Corporate Blogging at the start of mainstream acceptance and use as you can see in their diagram below.

    Business Blogging by Gartner


    Where do we go from here …?

    Well, if I had to sum all this up, I think that I would have to say, that if you are looking to start a business blog because you think that itd be a cool and trendy thing to do then youre probably a couple of years behind the times now. Have a look at Twitter instead (in fact you should anyway – follow me for starters at www.twitter.com/BlogCoach) but be prepared to move to the next up and coming technology when it arrives.

    However, if youre starting a blog because of what they can bring to your business, and you want a tool that will really help your relationships with customers and prospects as well as generate new business for you, then you have found the perfect time to start a blog for your business. Just make sure you plan ahead and set it up to future proof your investment.

    So now, without even an small tear of remorse in the corner of my eye, I can happily announce that blogging is now all grown up – and rearing to show you what it can do!

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    12 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Reasons for not Business Blogging are entirely valid … for some
    2. Business Blogging at the Beeb
    3. Who will be blogging by the end of 2006?
    4. History of (Personal) Blogging
    5. Is blogging peaking … or plateauing … or not?

    Google Alerts via RSSI’ve long been a fan of using Google Alerts – as far as I’m concerned, alongside subscribing to relevant RSS feeds, it’s certainly the best way to make sure that I keep up to date with any new information appearing on the web on topics that I’m interested in. It’s also a great way to ensure that I can follow conversations and articles which are relevant to my clients, their own reputation management as well as the markets they work in.

    Now for me, Google have recently made it even more useful through the simple act of allowing me to receive this information via RSS rather than by email. This means that I can now have all of this information coming into one place (my Google Reader) as well as any keyword searches I have running through other sites and of course all the feeds from the key blogs I follow.

    Google Alerts via RSS

    All you need to do is select RSS instead of email as shown above and the system does the rest. Of course, there’s no longer a need to specify the frequency (ie. immediate, daily or weekly) because RSS will always update as soon as you have new information to read. (BTW, if you want a recap on the benefits RSS can bring in general then have another read of this.)

    Anyway, if you aren’t already doing so, then set up some keyword searches on Google Alerts, get them automatically sent to your RSS Reader and keep a step ahead of your competition by getting all the latest information before they do.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    7 Comments 
    Tags: , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Researching business blog topics – use Google Alerts
    2. Blogs as a Research Tool: Wishful Thinking Creative Coaching shows us how
    3. News look for Google Blog Search
    4. How many people does it take to develop a great blog?
    5. Blogging Platforms & Google Trends

    Google Blog SearchGoogle Blog Search has just had a bit of a facelift, though it’s not so much of a ‘new look’ as a ‘news look’ given that they have essentially taken the format that they use for Google News and applied it here.

    In many respects though, that’s a very sensible route to take. Blogs do tend to fulfil a dual role of providing the latest news on topics where timing is critical as well as being a type of interactive website where good information is always in demand no matter when it was posted. In the case of Google Blog Search, their results are skewed massively towards the most recent information posted – even when sorted in terms of relevance rather than date. Probably better this way or we would simply be looking largely at a rehash of Google’s main index and that’s not what we are after here.

    So what Google Blog Search is good at is letting you find the latest information appearing in blogs – does very much what is says on the tin, so to speak – and so the redesign is clearly playing to its strengths. It also benefits from Google’s general uncluttered approach which I sometimes think that Technorati might like to be mindful of again. So check it out and don’t forget to use the RSS feature – will save you masses of time!

    A quick run through

    So what do you get for your beta now and how can you use it. Well, on the homepage, you now get a pre selected set of blog posts in the main results area and, in the lefthand sidebar, you can select one of 11 other pre-ordained categories to look at. Alternatively you can of course head straight for the search box at the top.



    Once you’ve searched on a term, you’ve got the chance to do some filtering, essentially on how recent you want the results to be – you can also sort the results either by relevancy or time, though this makes less difference than you might think. From a business perspective, a really important function sits rather inconspicuously at the bottom of the lefthand sidebar where you can quickly set up either a Google Alert or an RSS Feed for the search terms you’ve just used. Can save you loads of time and keep you up to date!


    So overall, it’s a change but not a revolutionary one by any means – more a shuffle forward and to the side rather than a giant leap. I do, however, find myself using it more than Technorati now for general searches, although to track links etc I still return to the Big T.

    As an aside, at this time of intense political as well as economic debate over in the US, I like the fact that Google chooses to re-iterate at the bottom of the homepage “The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program”. So that’s all okay then …

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    2 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Google spreads the word about Blog Search
    2. Google Blog Search: advanced search capabilities
    3. New blog search engines: Ask.com and Sphere
    4. Google and UK Blog Search Results
    5. Researching business blog topics – use Google Alerts

    BlogDay 2008Its Blog Day 2008. It’s just a single day each year when we are encouraged to share 5 blogs that you might not yet be reading. Its really just a way to try to extend that the type of blogs that you might want to have a look at.

    As a result, I have chosen a varied set of blogs covering a variety of different writers and types – I hope that at least a couple will prove of interest to you.

    Happy Blog Day 2008!

    1. Bird Droppings: the self styled ‘ramblings of a deranged mind’ which just happens to belong to Drayton Bird, considered one of the most successful direct marketers at work today. Not for the faint hearted, but certainly entertaining and most certainly to the point!

    2. Biz Growth News: if you’re looking for personal branding and social media information sandwiched between a generous slice of practical advice and common sense, then this is the place to be heading to see what Krishna De has to say. Not to mention her Biz Growth Live podcast series which features some of the experts that you’ll really not want to miss.

    3. How to Look Good: by Caryn Franklin, of The Clothes Show fame, it’s the easy style of writing that I particularly like which really gets her message across. One of those blogs where you can hear her voice speaking the words as you read them.

    4. Innocent Drinks: the only pseudo corporate blog in my list, but one that I have found which has stuck to its guns and keeps doing things their way. It’s marketing without the marketing and PR without the PR - but it’s certainly branding through and through. Oh and it works …!

    5. Chris Brogan: current darling of the social media marketing crowd and with good reason. Well worth the time to look through what he has to say and just let the idea of social media sink in – you’ll soon find that you start to realise all the options you have and, of course, the central roles that a blog and your RSS feed can play in your marketing.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    Comments Off 
    Tags: , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Links to check out

    Blog Broadcast from AweberThe RSS Feed is one of those key underlying technologies in a blog that can do a huge number of things for us and yet most of us, myself included, are still only scratching the surface with it.

    Its main use is of course to give your readers a secure and immediate way of receiving your latest posts by subscribing to your RSS feed through an RSS Reader. Nevertheless, with so many internet users still unfamiliar with RSS in spite of its many benefits, I always recommend also offering the option of subscribing to the RSS feed via email as well.

    The easiest way to offer this is by using a third party supplier. Feedburner, for example, provides you with the code to create a basic sign up form on your blog and then visitors can use to subscribe to receiving your blog updates automatically via email. A similar service is provided by Feedblitz and Zookoda.

    Normally, you receive these on a daily basis as posts are published. However, there is another provider, Aweber, which gives you the option to take that one step further and effectively create a newsletter with your posts.

    Aweber is probably best known as an autoresponder and email service provider along the lines of Constant Contact and Vertical Response. However, last year, they also launched a service called Blog Broadcast which essentially delivers your blog posts via email but also offers other features in as well. As you would expect from a company which specialises in email and newsletter delivery, this is includes a range of templates to control the look of the emails sent out, personalisation of aspects of the message and title, and tracking of links or ads.

    In addition, as of this week, they have added a scheduling feature to the service. This means that you can now use the service to send out your posts on a schedule which suits you and your readers rather than one decided by the software. For example, you can now automatically send your readers a newsletter every week or every month by email with all of your posts. A great way to use emails to help support your blog.

    Granted this is not a free service but the additional benefits that this gives you are certainly worthwhile and particularly if you also use the other services it offers. For example, I use the autoresponder to deliver my Business Blogging eCourse and you can also use the email broadcast system to send other ezines or general communication to your readers.

    So, if you want to do more than simply send out each post as you make it or you’re looking for an automated way to publish a newsletter to your list of readers, then this might well be worth looking at.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    4 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Blogs and Newsletters: complementary marketing tools
    2. 14 ways to help increase your RSS subscribers
    3. Blogs and Newsletters: reprise
    4. Feedburner: using your RSS Feed more effectively
    5. RSS Benefits for Businesses, Bloggers and Publishers

    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!

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    Comments Off 
    Tags: ,

    Recomended Reading:

    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!

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    Comments Off 
    Tags: , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Google spreads the word about Blog Search
    2. Google and UK Blog Search Results
    3. Google Blog Search: advanced search capabilities
    4. Google Blogsearch can now be pinged directly
    5. Blogging Platforms & Google Trends

    Blogging in the News - UK BlogsSome articles which have appeared in the UK online press over the past week which looks at blogging (primarily business blogging) and its uses. If you find any good articles that could be highlighted here, then please post the links below or send them to me directly at mark[at]betterbusinessblogging[dot]com and I’ll do the rest.

    Thousands of bloggers unite in blitz of green tips
    The Blog action Day on the 15th October seems to have been a success with thousands of bloggers participating and raising awareness on climate change and environmental issues.

    Should blogging be on your marketing to-do list?
    I think we know that the answer is yes, but this is a nice gentle introduction to one aspect of how blogs can be used while recognising the range of opportunities they offer.

    B2B journalists turn to blogs for info
    Another insight into how journalists view blogs and whether they are using then and the information they offer to best effect.

    Blogs give business a global reach
    While I really can’t recommend then Google Translation tool which suffers from the same shortcomings as other online tools, there are some other good comments here.

    Blogging is good for business if you have something to say
    Good pieces of advice here from Jim Kendall. Remember that blogging is like talking to people – if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say, it’s often best to keep quiet and listen until you do.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    Comments Off 
    Tags: , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Blogging in the news – 20 May 2007
    2. Blogging in the News – 20 October
    3. Blogging in the News: 9 June 2007
    4. Blogging in the News – 6 May 2007
    5. News look for Google Blog Search

    EU Directive hits floggersLast year, there was lots of talk about fake blogs (aka flogs) and one or two notables (Walmarting across America and All I want for Xmas is a PSP particularly come to mind) which rose up above the flog mediocrity to be truly awful. There were also some high profile companies amongst them and both they and the marketing companies which initiated them on their behalf were roundly berated by the blogosphere as a whole, and the blogs (or should I say flogs) quickly closed down and withdrawn.

    Generally this is the way that the blogosphere has policed its own. However, in Europe, as from the start of next year, the courts are lending a hand as a new EU directive comes into play which would make this type of activity punishable by law as reported in The Times early this year and The Register more recently.

    In fact, the Directive is not specifically designed for blogs, fake or otherwise. It casts its net much wider than this and is concerned generally with media where someone falsely represents themselves as a consumer. In the online world, these could be testimonials on websites, book reviews on Amazon, reviews on hotel or holiday sites or presumably any online media including forums, blogs etc. where organisations leave favourable comments under a false name to try to influence other consumers.

    So, while its encouraging to see the European Union leading the way in anything to do with “online”, a couple of things come to mind.

    Firstly, is this something that is really necessary either in its proposed form or indeed at all? Is it not possible to maintain a type of self regulation which the blogosphere has shown itself to be particularly adept at when it feels that companies have overstepped the mark.

    Secondly, I also worry that the whole thing is quite “un-policeable” with the huge number of online areas where this type of thing could be going on … and of course if cases are not followed up then why attempt external policing in the first place?

    However, what is clear is that this is a very open confirmation of the importance and influence of Word of Mouth and, by implication, of “Word of Blog” as one of its principal online incarnations. So make sure that you don’t overstep the boundaries and fall foul of the law, but at the same time do make sure that you are using your blog to support and develop your online Word of Mouth and marketing activities as a whole.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

    Comments Off 
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Buzz Marketing and the Law
    2. Predictions for 2007
    3. Faking it … leave it to TV
    4. Wishing you a Happy Christmas!
    5. Small Business Blogging

    Next Page »