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




    Marketing with Blogs: here are all the key posts


    Business Blogs and TagsShould you be looking at upgrading? Well, WordPress is maintaining quite a rhythm of late in terms of new releases – these can often be time consuming if you are trying to maintain several blogs with up to date software as I am for the people I work with. However, I digress as ever! :(

    WordPress 2.3 Overview

    This version does seem, however, to be well worth the time and effort. From a purely business perspective, there are a number of elements in this latest version which are of particular interest to me, primarily the canonical URLs and tagging elements which I’ll explain in more detail below. But let’s a have a quick recap of all the new things going on first.

    The main additions in WordPress 2.3 are:

    • Tagging: native tagging as they call it which includes tagging in the main software rather than relying on 3rd party plugins (see below)

    • WordPress and plugin updates: lets you know when there are updates available either of the main WordPress software or of the plugins that you have installed

    • Canonical URLs: lots of good stuff here but hugely uninteresting reading. It is, however very useful in terms of certain aspects of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which I’ll try to explain later

    • Pending Review: allows you to run a blog with multiple authors much more efficiently as you are notified when new posts need reviewing

    • Advanced formatting when writing blogs: some additional features which had previously been hidden
    (The full list can be found on the WordPress Blog)

    Tagging

    Ok, so why am I getting even vaguely excited about tagging? Well, tagging is a way of bringing out the keywords in the post that you have written – effectively it allows you to add tags or ‘labels’ to your post so that you can classify the principal content areas yourself without relying solely on Search Engines to decide what you’re on about and therefore make an “educated” guess on your behalf.

    It’s true that the categories function in WordPress offers a way to do this but this, for me anyway, is more structural than anything else. I use categories to help readers identify start points for their research. Tagging will add an additional dimension to that and will give extra flexibility to it which is great – I believe that they are certainly complementary.

    Personally, I already use a plugin called <a href="http://dev.wp-plugins.org/wiki/BunnysTechnoratiTags" target="_blank"Bunny Tags</a> to do some of this (another excellent tag plugin is <a href="http://www.neato.co.nz/ultimate-tag-warrior/" target="_blank">Ultimate Tag Warrior</a>) but the chance to deliver tagging in the main software will help to develop this area further. I would expect to use this element much more extensively in the future and that tagging will be more 'visible' in Better Business Blogging.

    For more information, a nice explanation of categories and tags can be found at <a href="http://dougal.gunters.org/blog/2007/09/22/tags-and-categories-in-wordpress" target="_blank">Geek Ramblings</a> (thanks to <a href="http://www.nevillehobson.com" target="_blank">Neville Hobson</a> for the link).

    <h5>Canonical URLs </h5>
    Oh dear - I somewhat regret mentioning these earlier but let me try to explain. While it's not ALL to do with the concept of 'duplicate content', that is at its core. Bear with me for two minutes on this and then you can sleep ... or watch the latest instalment of <a href="http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/" target="_blank">Heroes</a>.

    Google likes unique content because then it can direct its searchers to THE best page for what they are looking for. However, when two (or more pages) show the same content Google suffers and has to decide what to do with the content and how to rank it. The trouble is that sometimes we create "duplicate pages" without actually knowing it. For example, www.betterbusinessblogging.com/ with and without a '/' or with and without the 'www', all count as different pages ... and hence potentially fall into the 'duplicate content' game. What we want to do is really have all of them point at the same place and be counted only once. The changes here should help to address exactly this problem.

    The WordPress change should essentially take away all these other "pages" - the fact that people generally didn't know they existed in the first place, I guess means that this change will mainly be appreciated by SEO interested parties. However, it is, in fact, important.

    <h5>Summary</h5>
    Well, as any regular reader will already know, I am a great fan and advocate of WordPress and the additions that they have made here in their latest release do nothing but strengthen my belief that WordPress remains the best blogging software for companies wanting to future proof their blogging investment.

    My advice: well, ever the cautious one, check the feedback as it comes in and when it is confirmed that it's stable and you have checked your plugins work, then upgrade as it looks worth it.

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

    5 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. WordPress Plugins for business blogs – which to use?
    2. WordPress extends and upgrades
    3. Change the WordPress defaults, please!
    4. WordPress, your business and your online presence
    5. Optimizing your Blog for Search Engines

    When it comes to Business Blogging, there are 5 Rs which we should focus our attention on if we want to create a successful and sustainable small business or corporate blog. Our aim should be to put all the necessary elements in place on our Blog to allow these 5 Rs to happen as smoothly and automatically as possible. When we manage this, well have created a Blog which fulfils both our readers requirements and our own business needs.

    These 5 Rs are:

    Read - Reply - Return - Recommend - RSS

    Simply put, we need to create and maintain a Blog which in the first instance will attract readers and then encourage them to participate by commenting on our posts or contacting us directly. We then need to make sure that it provides sufficient value or creates enough interest to make them return and become regular readers as well as recommend our Blog to others. The 5th R of RSS underpins all of the others by supporting the distribution and the promotion of the blog.

    If we want people to read our blog, then logically the quality of what we write in the posts will be important. However, we first have to attract readers to our blog – if they dont know about us or cant find us then we are going to fall at the first hurdle, no matter how good our content or services are!

    So promoting the blog is always going to be a critical phase in getting our posts read and its important that we make use of all the methods at our disposal to achieve the best results possible ideally this will combine offline marketing as well as online and blog specific marketing methods.

    As part of this, we need to consider the Search Engine aspects when we write. Its essential to focus on making the content interesting and useful to your readers but it also has to be written in such a way that it is appealing to Search Engines they are a key way to attract readers so we need to write with one eye on ensuring our search engine ranking is as good as possible.

    In addition, to make all of our other efforts as effective as possible, everything about the blog should be attractive and easy to use, from the general design to the layout of the blog and the positioning and display of our own marketing elements.

    The first step in engaging properly with your readers is to have them reply to one of your posts and allow them to voice their opinions, thoughts, ideas and concerns. This creates the interaction, conversations and ultimately the connections that business blogs need to develop and thrive.

    However, we cannot sit back and just rely on the comments simply appearing instead, we need to be actively encouraging them, either by the way in which we write the posts or by asking open questions as part of the text or even by specifically asking for them.

    Having encouraged people to want to reply, try to avoid putting barriers in their way getting people to fill in a form in order to leave a comment is never going to get good results! Its also important to listen and respond to the comments which are left, hence developing the conversation and working towards establishing and then building on a connection with the reader.

    Effectively, we need to get to love comments and make sure that we respond to as many as possible that we receive. We should ensure that we respond to any negative comments which arrive negative comments can often be the most important type!

    As a last thought, you might even consider adding a list of recent comments as part of your blog to highlight those who have made the effort to leave a comment and to encourage them further.

    If people are interested in what you are writing about and find value in it then the likelihood is that they will return to read more. By maintaining the quality of your posts and demonstrating your expertise on a consistent basis, you will be giving yourself the best chance of this happening.

    In the process, you will develop not only a loyal readership but you will also be developing a growing level of trust between yourself and those reading your Blog. Make your blog THE place to go to find information on your specialist subject area.

    Once readers return to your blog, make sure that they can explore all your posts as fully as possible let ALL of your content shine through. To help this, make sure that the navigation around the blog is as clear as possible, that you highlight your key articles (the Foundation articles) and that you include links to related articles at the end of each post.

    As a final point, try to keep an uncluttered look and feel make it easy on the readers eyes again so that they want to return. No-one will come back simply because it looks nice but you want to avoid people deciding to stay away because it doesnt.


    This might have been called Refer but I prefer the concept of recommending which has a more positive connotation and when someone recommends your Blog, that is a very positive thing!

    How do you recommend a blog? Well, clearly, you can tell people about it directly! Word of mouth (WOM) is the most widely used form of recommendation there is so use it to your advantage. When people are considering books to read, films to see or hotels to stay in, arguably the most important element in the decision making process will usually be recommendations from friends. The online world works in the same way and blogs really are the online equivalent of W.O.M.

    There are other online and blog specific ways which are just as important. The most frequent one is to simply reference a post or article from your a post on your own blog, as well as including a trackback. Another option is to include someone in your Blogroll, which is where bloggers highlight the blogs they recommend to their readers high praise indeed. When this does happen, then just like the replies to your posts, follow up and thank the person for the link and hence the recommendation.

    Dont forget that you also make it easy for people to tell a friend about it using an email a friend type of function or links to social bookmarking sites such as Digg or Del.icio.us which will automatically add the post to then be shared online.

    Lots of ways to be recommended so encourage them all!

    Communication and dissemination of information is key to achieving a successful blog and the RSS functionality is the way to achieve that. So the 5th R included here is RSS.

    When someone subscribes to your RSS Feed, it means that they have shown a commitment to continuing the interaction they are interested in receiving more information and with RSS you can provide them with immediate updates from your blog, cleanly and instantly. With so many benefits on offer for all parties, make sure that the RSS feeds are prominent on your blog to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find them.

    To cover all options, you should also give people the opportunity to subscribe to RSS by email – 3rd party services such as Feedblitz or Feedburner make this straightforward. In any case, as RSS is still an unknown quantity in many quarters, it may equally be wise to provide a link to a page which explains what RSS is and what RSS Readers are available.

    Once you have your RSS in place, use it to your benefit. Try to differentiate yourself in your feed and include branding elements such as your logo tools such as Feedburner can really help you to do this simply enough. RSS will also allow you to syndicate your content on a number of different sites immediately and, as a final comment, dont forget that you can create any number of individual RSS feeds to cover individual topics.

    But whether you work from a single RSS feed or develop multiple feeds, it is important that you make RSS a central part of your blog promotion and reader retention program. It is something which underpins the other elements and allows the Business Blog to reach its full potential by making the information we produce as widely available as possible.

    Summary

    If we can achieve each of these 5Rs successfully in our Business Blogging, then we are well on the way to creating a Business Blog which will achieve the goals that we set for it, whether they are focused on creating a network, improving our reputation or positioning, developing a solid base of subscribers, increasing our Search Engine Rankings or simply generating new business.

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

    7 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. The 5 ‘R’s of Better Business Blogging – Recommend
    2. The 5 Rs of Better Business Blogging – Read
    3. The 5′R’s of Better Business Blogging – RSS
    4. Business Blog Design
    5. The 5 Rs of Better Business Blogging – Return

    SEO - Title TagThere has been a recent revision to a report which first made an appearance last year, where 37 of the finest minds in the SEO arena were asked to appraise the various elements which can be used as part of a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) programme – White Hat SEO programme, of course.

    Their opinions and comments were recorded and distributed in Search Engine Ranking Factors V2 which is probably the most comprehensive report of its type in terms of listing and appraising individual factors that I have seen. In any case, particularly given the people involved, it is certainly something to take a careful look at as you embark on any type of optimisation of your blog.

    So what is the most important?

    The element which was given the greatest value overall, and hence considered the most important individual factor in SEO terms, was Keyword Use in Title Tag.

    The Title Tag is used in two principal areas:

    • when you are using a browser, it is what appears in the blue bar right at the top of your screen and tells the reader what is contained within the page;
    • Secondly, on the Search Engine Results page (SERPs), it forms the link that you click on to reach the page shown in the results.

    As a result, not only is it valuable in terms of Search Engine rankings but also in terms of the click throughs that you get. Why is that? Since it appears in the main Search Engine Results page, it can act as an attention grabbing headline for the person conducting the search.

    Creating a “good” Title Tag

    Ideally, you should be aiming to create a Title Tag that will attract the attention of both human readers and the Search Engines – this means that it is likely to be both marketing focused as well as keyword rich. Sounds good in theory, but in practice you are likely to veer more towards one “audience” than the other.

    Opinions vary, but a good rule of thumb is that you have about 8 – 10 words (circa 60 – 65 characters) that you can use effectively in the title tag, so it’s best to make use of them. As a result, you should look to try to:

    • include your keyword / keyword phrase for the page – ideally, focus primarily on these keywords and avoid too many “the” and “and” connectors

    • rather than full sentences, consider using “|” or “-” to break up the phrases (but do remember that it needs to attract your readers too!);

    • include the important terms at the start of the Title Tag, as they seem to carry more “weight” than those at the end;

    • every Title Tag should be distinct and focused – each page and each post is different and so the Title Tag it uses should reflect this.”

    In blogs, the Title Tag is usually generated automatically using the title of the post and the title of the blog. This isn’t necessarily going to best suit your purposes so you may like to consider ways of modifying this – you could alter the template itself or you may find the tools below helpful.

    Tools to help you

    Firstly, a page which I think expands well on the themes that I have mentioned here is Best Practices for Title Tags over at Seomoz and is well worth studying.

    As for tools to help with the actual implementation, if you are using WordPress, then in my opinion, the best option is the SEO Title Tag plugin by Stephan Spencer, who certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to SEO. This gives you full rein to do what you want with a fully customised Title Tag option, as well as an improved default Title Tag as well.

    For those who have strayed down the Blogger route, then these two articles, Control your Title Tags in Blogger and Changing the Blogger Title Tag seem to cover two options (though I haven’t tried them personally) while Rank better in Google bay adding dynamic title tags to your Typepad blog seems to cover a possible solution for Typepad users.

    Conclusion

    So there you have it – the SEO elite confirm that they believe that the Title Tag is the SEO element that will do most for your Search Engine Ranking. One word of warning though (other than the fact that the Search Engine “goalposts” keep moving, so keep on your toes!) – if the content on your page doesn’t deliver, then the best Title Tag in the world will not help you. So before dedicating hours to creating great Title Tags, I’d always recommend paying just as much attention to the content it describes. :)

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

    4 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Blog Post Titles: what are the important factors?
    2. Basic SEO in Blogs: important Title Tag
    3. SEO in Blogs 3: Use the Tags!
    4. Blogworld, SEO and Title tags
    5. Optimizing your Blog for Search Engines

    Don't be an expert blogger... just be an expert who blogs.

    I cant be sure, but I have a sneaky suspicion that there are a number of people who start a professional blog not so much because they are looking for any business benefits or to inform, but rather because they want to be able to say that they are a “Blogger”.

    This really is looking at blogging back to front. Their focus should be to show themselves to be an expert in their field who communicates this expertise through the medium of a blog, rather than portray themselves as a blogger who writes on a particular subject area. It might seem like a mute point, but to me this is an important distinction which really affects how blogging works as a business tool.

    As a reader, I dont go out specifically searching for bloggers to read, what I do is look for people writing with authority on a subject that interests me. For example, I invariably read Jonathan Schwartzs blog, and I do so because of my interest in what he writes about in his position as CEO of Sun Microsystems, not in his role as a “CEO Blogger”. It is what he has to say about the company and the industry from his position of influence that draws me back and makes me read what he has to say.

    For him, his blog has given him the chance to communicate with a huge audience and receive comments and feedback directly without the filters of management or the PR department. For me, it has allowed me unprecedented access to what a leading figure in an industry of interest to me has to say.

    Equally, someone like Brian Carroll at B2B Lead Generation Blog is an expert in increasing sales leads in a complex sale. Thats his specialism and the one that he writes about in his blog. Or Thomas Mahon of English Cut fame a Savile Row tailor who writes a blog to market his skills (and his suits). Both have very different and wildly successful blogs which are based upon their expert knowledge in their field which they have chosen to market through a blog.

    In the same way, when a lawyer, accountant, recruitment consultant, real estate agent etc. decides to use blogs to support their business, they do not immediately undertake a magical metamorphosis from service professional to blogger, they simply engage in a great communications method. And, closer to home, when I play tennis, Im not suddenly transformed into a tennis player (believe me, I have many people wholl back me up on this one), Im just someone who plays tennis.

    So, while I recognise there are skills to learn if you want to blog well, my advice to professionals intending to start a blog is not to do so to get a “Blogger badge” but instead focus on showing your expertise in your field and let that shine through in your blog rather than allow yourself to fade into the masses as a blogger who merely writes on a particular subject.

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

    1 Comment 
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Super Advocate – ‘A’ list Blogger – Bloke down the pub
    2. Become an A-list blogger in your market niche
    3. Moving your Business Blog from Blogger to WordPress
    4. Ladder of Goodwill for blogs
    5. When is a blog post not a blog post?

    Measuring the results of your blogPlanning a blog and then spending both time and effort on creating and developing it is all well and good but, as a business, we are looking to see results which warrant this outlay.

    Effectively, we have a business and marketing tool which has a focus, a target audience and a business aim it also has costs attached to it, often principally in terms of time, which need to be justified. Like all marketing activity, we are looking for a return on our investment and to calculate this, we need to measure how successful our blog has been for us.

    This is turn raises the question of what criteria we should be using to determine this. There are a number of people who have written on the subject, perhaps the most prominent of which is Charlene Li at Forrester with their report at the start of the year but here we are probably looking above and beyond the methods generally available to most organisations. There are also a number of intangibles that could be considered such as branding and profile development, but they are perhaps less relevant to a small business and even harder to measure effectively.

    However, that doesn’t mean that there is no way of identifying the results of a blog. On the contrary. However, first we need to decide what we are going to measure – here the criteria should reflect the main objectives that we set out for the blog.

    Some of the potential methods to evaluate these are:

    • Visitors: you might consider that it is the number of new or repeat visitors to your blog because this displays the attractiveness of the blog in terms of content and will develop the community element;

    • Comments: it could be the number of comments that you receive on your posts because you are looking to achieve a certain level of interaction with readers and develop more 2 way conversations;

    • Subscribers: the number of subscribers to your RSS feed may be important because you feel this best shows active interest from your readers and allows you to start to tacitly market to them;

    • Links: the number of blogs and websites which link to your blog or refer to your articles via trackbacks because the interest levels of other bloggers is important from a viral marketing perspective ;

    • Sign-ups: the number of sign ups to a newsletter which you may have as your main marketing call to action on the blog and which will allow you to develop in terms of a subscriber list;

    • Prospects: the number of new potential customers who get in contact through the contact form on your Blog (or special links) because you are looking for new client introductions;

    • Clients and Sales: while not a direct sales tool, the blog’s end goal is often to generate additional business, either as a direct or as an indirect result of our efforts. So measure it where possible;

    • Reduced Marketing Spend: the reduction in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) spend because of the search engine benefits that a blog brings.

    As you can see, there are a number of different methods we can use and so it is a case of deciding which is the most appropriate according to the aims we had for the blog. This is likely to be a mix of a number of the ones mentioned above but a suitable combination will give an appropriate idea of the level of results that the blog has achieved.

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

    1 Comment 
    Tags: , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. How do we measure a blog’s success?
    2. Planning your Business Blog
    3. What makes a successful business blog?
    4. 52 of the Best Ways to Promote your Blog and your Business
    5. 5 ‘R’s of Business Blogging – a Summary

    David Meerman Scott has just launched his latest book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, and judging by the previous things that I have read written by him, as well as when I’ve heard him speak, then it will be well worth a read.

    At the same time, it’s great to see David practising what he preaches. In launching and promoting his book, he has created a list of individuals and bloggers who appear in the book (myself included it seems) and has then linked to them from the post announcing the book’s release. This has created an initial viral effect as many (as I have done in this post) have mentioned the book on their own blogs which of course starts the ball rolling and “spreads the word” further afield.

    I will be doing a review of the book (more…)

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

    2 Comments 
    Tags: , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Social Bookmarking: add it to your online Marketing list
    2. PR and the New Rules of Press Releases
    3. Promoting and Marketing your Business Blog (Blog specifc methods)
    4. Promoting and Marketing your Business Blog (Intro)
    5. Blogs and Newsletters: complementary marketing tools

    BBC WorldWell it wasn’t a long interview by any means but I made my debut on television today when I appeared on the Business programme on BBC World and on BBC 24 which appears on the mainstream channels here in the UK.

    We talked briefly about the great strides that Business Blogging has taken, in the UK particularly over recent months with companies finally showing a greater understanding of the benefits it offers – we also looked at how to use blogging together with the other principal social media marketing tools. It’d be good to see a longer discussion on this important area but it was equally great to see it being addressed at all. This was initiated, I think, by the Blogging4Business conference which took place today in London.

    And why am I doubly pleased? Because the BBC found me through this blog using Search Engines followed up by online research – exactly the two areas where I had hoped that the blog would make me more visible. Yet more proof, were proof needed, of the areas that a blog can develop for an individual or company.

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

    2 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Blogging survives puberty to reach adulthood
    2. Better Business Blogging eCourse Feedback
    3. History of (Personal) Blogging
    4. Anatomy of a Corporate Blog: Layers and Building Blocks
    5. 5 ‘R’s of Business Blogging – a Summary

    The recent survey by Vizu Answers and subsequently reported on by eMarketer was interesting reading but I believe somewhat distorted if we are looking at blogging from a business point of view.

    One element that I was surprised at was the fact that the report stated that only some 20% of blog traffic comes from Search Engines (blog specific or otherwise). In my own case, across the blogs that I manage, the split is nearer to 50% which either means that either:

    • I am doing something right; or

    • I’m missing out on attracting even more readers of my blog; or,

    • the report is skewed in some way.

    I think that the truth lies somewhere as a mix of all three.

    I get the impression that the way that Vizu ran the survey meant that the questionnaires were primarily on personal blogs in which case the figures make more sense. Recommendations from other bloggers are important when it comes to personal blogs – they are also very important on business blogs but, since business blogs should be very focused in terms of content, they also attract readers through Search Engines as people carry out product research or are looking for specific information sources.

    You do of course have the added element that there is no reason why the unitiated should have any idea that they are on a blog. A blog is a website with special characteristics after all and the people who arrive there via Search Engines are simply looking for the specific information that they contain rather than a site which is a blog or is not a blog or contains a blog or … well, you get the picture.

    So will the Vizu report make me change my focus in terms of marketing my business blog? No. I believe that people will continue to use Search Engines and will continue to focus on finding the information they want rather than worrying if it is on a blog, website, forum etc. However, at the same time I will be looking to encourage readers to refer to my blogs either directly or via social networking and social bookmarking sites.

    Of course, the only way to do that is to try to continue to write posts which are worth recommending.

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

    1 Comment 
    Tags: , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Optimising your Blog for your Readers
    2. Engage your readers
    3. Blog SEO: What’s the most important element?
    4. Business benefits of RSS to subscribers and readers
    5. Optimizing your Blog for Search Engines

    I laughed long and hard at this one from Pete Cashmore at Mashable because it so beautifully sums up so many people’s attitudes to blogging, YouTube etc. I think that my only addition would have been a podcast of the cat purring as well. :)


    However, I have to make my point again that Business Blogging is altogether different and it serves as a reminder to me that blogs, podcasts, social networking sites and the like are all media (or tools if you like) which in the hands of one person allows them to talk about their pets and in the hands of another can be used to successfully promote a company, create great PR or develop new business.

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

    Comments Off 
    Tags: , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. Business Blogging: UK and Europe still learning how
    2. Reasons for not Business Blogging are entirely valid … for some
    3. Business Blogging at the Beeb
    4. 5 ‘R’s of Business Blogging – a Summary
    5. Treat your Blog as your online home

    At the end of 2006 and perhaps prompted by Time’s lead article declaring “Person of the Year: You“, there was a lot of talk about user generated content, thats to say information on sites being supplied by those using the site rather than those who set it up and run it.

    There are many good examples of websites which work primarily on content which has been generated by the users themselves. Sites such as YouTube and MySpace are ones which have attracted a great deal of press coverage at the social end of the spectrum.

    Business and Networking Examples

    In business, there are equally impressive examples. Amazon contains a huge amount of product information but arguably more valuable are the reviews written by people who have read the books. Similarly, sites such as TripAdvisor contain lots of information but the dynamic part comes from guests who leave their own opinions on the hotels and holidays mentioned.

    In social and business networking, many sites are primarily online structures or shells which allow their members to post articles, share information and advice or generally interact in forums. Their challenge lies in creating something which is appealing and then attracting users with similar interests who will use them and participate. Many do this very well and it shows in their success and their growth.

    Collaboration on Business Blogs

    But it is not only sites of this size which can benefit from this trend towards online collaboration and sharing of information. Your company blog offers the ideal place for exactly this type of cooperation and community building after all, it is targeted at a specific group

    So, for your own business, look at the benefit that you can accrue by getting some of the stakeholders in your company working with you:

    • Sales & Partner Networks: companies with non competing sales or distribution networks can use their blogs as a central source of information that their partners can use to increase their sales and coverage, as well as share their own experiences

    • Internal Communications: from a company perspective, tap into the collective ideas that bounce around inside of a company with nowhere to go. Give them an outlet and a chance to be expressed. Using an internal blog, you allow them not only to be put forward but also developed as others add to the initial idea

    • Market Research: tap into the combined ideas of your most valuable assets your customers. Give them a place (open or private) where they can suggest new ideas or show how they are using your products and services already. It may be quite eye opening

    • Product Development: in certain industries, particularly in hi-tech, allowing developers and customers to put forward new ideas extends the type of research and product marketing that you can achieve 100 fold. You also increase the chances of developing a group of product evangelists into the bargain

    As you can see, you don’t need a site the size of Amazon to enjoy the benefits that collaboration can bring – your business blog has all the elements that you need provided that you focus it correctly.

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

    2 Comments 
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Recomended Reading:

    1. No blog is an island
    2. Treat your Blog as your online home
    3. Why on earth do you link to your blog?
    4. Predictions for 2007
    5. Internal Communications, Information Sharing and Internal Blogs

    « Previous PageNext Page »