In the past few years, the rapid growth in personal and business blogging has many business owners asking if blog marketing is for them. Business blogs have cost advantages over traditional advertising and marketing tools. As online blogs are designed for regular updating, the ongoing addition of fresh content makes them naturally search engine friendly. Well-constructed business blogs have other built-in optimization features like links between posts that help to keep visitors on your site. Besides being wired for organic growth, business blogs provide a platform to showcase your expertise through posts on industry issues and new developments at your company.
While the internet has empowered consumers with access to independent opinion, business blogging has taken the buying process beyond the static review to interaction through blog comments and responses. Enabling comments on your blog can increase your customer contact and generate sales leads for your online business. Some business blogs develop such a following that visitor comments sustain the momentum, encouraging inbound links and improving your site’s rank with the search engines.
Blog writing, however, requires an ongoing commitment, as well as a clear vision of your blog’s objectives and focus. Here are six questions to ask before you or your employees jump feet first into the corporate blogosphere:
1. What do you want to achieve by starting a blog?
This may seem like an obvious point, but setting goals for your business blog will help you decide if this strategy can work for you. Understanding the market you want to draw to your site and what you want to do with those visitors when they arrive will point you toward a static site or interactive features, such as comments and surveys. You can get as technical as you like when setting objectives for business blogging by using analytics software to measure traffic to your site.
2. Are you prepared to plan and set up your business blog?
Although the new blog building tools are more user-friendly than in the past, you’ll still need to do some homework to learn how to create a blog. You’ll also need to make decisions about who will maintain and moderate your blog and whether you want to use RSS feeds or sharing tools for social networking sites.
3. How will you know if business blogging is working for you?
If your goal is to build relationships or open a dialogue with customers, you’ll need a way of assessing if you’re achieving those goals. You may also want to track the percentage of visitors who convert to sales before and after you’ve launched your blog.
4. Can you make an ongoing investment in blog marketing?
Blog writing requires discipline and the patience to wait for results in improved traffic or conversion to sales. If you only update once a month and occasionally add resources, your business will lose some of the search engine advantages of blogs. Visitors and search engines like new content, and consistently offering valuable content that readers can use, such as a calendar of trade show dates, encourages visitors to come back to your site.
5. Can you foresee a steady stream of topic ideas?
Before creating an online blog, try brainstorming topics for posts. Your business and customers are your best sources of inspiration for topic ideas. If one customer asks a question, chances are good that other visitors will also want to read your response.
6. What rules and policies will you put in place for your blog?
Opening your blog to comments allows anyone to post, and not everyone who comments will wish you well. You need to consider how you’ll manage self-promoters on your blog. What will you do if a thread turns into a lovefest for your competitor? Will your employees know how to respond to well-reasoned criticism of your products or unjustified attacks from anonymous commenters?
A successful blog marketing strategy needs a practical plan. But deciding to allocate time and resources to a business blog can enhance your web presence and draw prospects to your site. Consumers have come to expect to interact with businesses online, and business blogs are a low-cost way of starting a dialogue.
About Guest Author:
Dee Barizo blogs for The Best Degrees, a site featuring the top nursing programmes offered online.