This is the first of a four part series which will look at the important subject of promoting and marketing a Business Blog. The other three parts of the series will individually focus on the blog specific promotion, general online promotion and finally offline promotion.

There are a number of different ways in which you should be looking to promote and market your Business Blog to encourage the sort of traffic that you are looking to achieve. Like a normal website, if you believe that you can simply build your site and people will immediately swarm to it in their thousands, then you are going to be sadly disappointed.

I have divided the methods into 3 areas covering:

    1. Marketing and promotion techniques which are specific to blogs;
    2. General online promotional techniques;
    3. Offline marketing

These can be shown as below:

While the methods have been divided into three sections, they should be considered and implemented as a single set of activities. An integrated approach combining all of the elements will provide the best results and so should be considered as such.

1. Blog Specific marketing and promotion methods

At the heart of a good blog will be good and focused content which will in itself attract visitors to your blog as people recommend your blog to others and also attract people who will want to link to your site.

In addition to this content, you should be looking t at the following elements to promote your Blog.

    a) RSS Feeds
    RSS feeds are an excellent and easy method to help readers to find you and your content so use them wherever you can.

    b) RSS Feed Directories
    There are a growing number of directories where you can submit your RSS feed and where the content from the RSS can be searched on topic area and the content of individual posts.

    c) Blog Directories
    There are an increasing number of directories which are dedicated to blogs and which can offer a good way to get your blog referenced and linked to.

    d) Blog Search Engines
    There are some main Blog Search Engines which are important to be indexed in luckily, this can be done rather more simply than is the case with the mainstream Search Engines by pinging the relevant web servers.

    e) Pinging
    Pinging, in terms of blogs, is where you send a short automatic notification to the blog servers to tell them that you have posted new information to index. Simple just remember to post and ping!

    f) Blog Tags
    These are tags or phrases which are added by its author to indicate the main content focus – for blogs, the most commonly used are tags for Technorati.

    g) Post Comments on other Blogs
    You should not only be reading other blogs but also commenting on them. Its a way of getting your name out into the blogosphere as well as encouraging people back to your own blog.

    h) Trackbacks
    When referencing other blogs, then you should always link to the original source and wherever possible, you should also include a trackback as well.

2. General Online Methods

I have previously described blogs as websites with special characteristics which set them apart and make them so very useful. Nevertheless, this does mean that they can therefore be promoted in the same way as a normal website using the online methods available to us.

    a) Search Engines
    Search Engines are an excellent source of traffic so give your Blog the best chance to be found by making sure that it employs Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and is referenced where possible.

    b) Generic Directories
    Submit your blog to the main web directories and any other relevant general web directories.

    c) Search Advertising
    Search Advertising, or Pay Per Click advertising, is just as applicable to Business Blogs as it is to websites for bringing additional qualified traffic to your blog.

    d) Write Articles
    Posting articles to online article sites is a good way to both raise your profile and create additional inbound links to your Blog.

    e) Online Forums
    Participate in online forums which are relevant to your business both content and the signature will add additional traffic.

    f) Email Signatures
    Not strictly online as such, but you should always make sure that the signature that you have on your email contains your Blog address.

3. Offline Marketing

Offline marketing techniques are equally effective for promoting your blog. You should therefore consider integrating the emarketing methods outlined above with the traditional offline methods that you already employ to market your company website.

    a) Personal and Company Stationery
    Make sure that your Business Blog address appears on your personal and company stationery such as business cards, letter heads and compliments slips.

    b) Business brochures and collateral
    Likewise in your brochures, flyers and leaflets, you should take the opportunity to give the recipients a direct link to further information on the subject.

    c) Presentations and Seminars
    You will normally have a section regarding you and / or your company so include here the address of your blog and the type of content that they will find there.

    d) Conferences and Exhibitions
    On your stand, on the flyers that you distribute and in any presentations that you give, you will have the chance to focus peoples attention on your blog.

    e) Direct Mailings
    A blog is often an excellent place to direct people for passionate views on the product or for a centralised information source for a conference you are running, for example.

    f) Press Release
    You could also issue a Press Release outlining the fact that you have decided to create and develop a Blog and giving the reasons behind it and the benefits that your customers can expect to gain from it.

    g) Word of Mouth
    Dont forget the age old method of simply telling people about it!

It is the integration of the methods that are mentioned above which will bring the best results rather than individual elements in isolation. So concentrate on focusing on those which are most appropriate to your main target audience and the continue adding the others to build up the traffic over time.

The next part in the series will look in more depth at the Blog based promotion methods.

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