Monday, April 15, 2013

Blogging for Business: Should I?

'Why blog when I can use other social media?' I hear you ask. Despite the general opinion that social media has taken over the online world, the blogosphere is still very much alive. Whilst sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow for instant information relay, blogs allow businesses the opportunity to be short and sharp, but with the crucial details included.

In a nut shell, micro-blogging sites like Twitter are limited by word count. Bigger social networking sites like Facebook will always be replaced by the next big thing, leaving the problem of regenerating contacts. However, your blog will stay constant and your readers will always know where to find you.  

Blogging isn’t as daunting as you may think. Look at it as the beginning of a conversation. They are a great way to generate traffic. Here’s some top tips for blogging:

  • Know your audience. Always write with your intended audience in mind. It’s important to understand what visitors will be expecting and the kinds of things they would be interested in.

  • Keep it short and snappy. Although blogs are generally informal, keep it to the point. Many online readers scan information, make it stand out.

  • Don’t post updates daily. Social media is tailored specifically for frequent updates, blogs allow for depth.

  • Mix it up. Keep it interesting. Blogging solely about your business will leave you struggling for things to write about and will generate less traffic. Blog about industry specific news, events and changes. Things that your audience will be interested in. Don’t just simply copy an article, read it and give your own take on the matter. Don’t waste your reader’s time, make it worthwhile. Some things you may wish to include are surveys, how-to’s, reviews and interviews.

  • Decide how much time you have. Don’t commit to post a blog daily if you do not have the time and the resources. Set yourself 1 or 2 blog posts a week and include a few extra if something happens in your industry that your readers may find interesting.

  • Don’t over complicate. Your blog acts as a voice for your company, so be sure that all posts originate from within. The person blogging is allowed to have a personality. Use simple language; pretend you’re speaking to a friend. Remember, blogs are the beginning of a conversation.

  • Use keywords. Search engines will love your blog if you repeatedly use words specific to your business. There’s nothing Google loves more than an active blog.

  • Encourage a response. Don’t be afraid of reactions. Engaging with your readers is the best way to gain their trust and maintain their interest. Don’t worry about negative comments. The reply feature gives you the opportunity to turn the negative into a positive.

  • Don’t be afraid. If you have a statement to make, make it. Causing debate isn’t a bad thing, within reason of course.

  • Have fun. In some respects, rules around structure go out the window when blogs are involved. Sentences can be as short as you like. Include pictures amongst the text to break it up. Use common phrases. It’s all about grabbing your reader’s attention and keeping it.

- Beckie Kinsella

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