Intelligent conversation is a great way to get prospective customers to take a look at what you do. A good business blog can help here!
The first things first, a blog is a publishing platform for a lot of things, that well dreamed out first book, a talkcast or blog, a product, an idea but it will only thrive when it is frequently updated with fresh interesting content, in the vernacular, good stuff! Marie Antoinette flippantly said of the hungry masses, “Let them eat cake,” however if you want a high traffic business blog, you had better give them meat and potatoes.
Business blogs are a form of conversation marketing. What is conversation marketing? This is what Wikipedia;s unsourced article says> “Conversational Marketing is the engagement of social media by a corporation to promote their product or brand. It differs from traditional forms of "customer touch" because the company may enter into an online dialogue which is stored publicly in a forum or blog”
Conversational marketing may be a new buzzword in internet marketing but it’s been around for a long time. Providing informational and how to brochures to augement your marketing has been around a long time with things lik, “How to keep your new automible in great running order.” How to get the best performance out of your air conditioner. Simply talking about how great your company or product is won't do it, though.
Here are some suggestions for a great business blog- Product and service details
- How-to videos
- Product tips and tricks
- Customer success stories
- News and announcements
- Articles about complementary products
- Requests for feedback from customers
- Things to look out for when shopping for products or services like your own
- When I owned Patriot Limousine, Ltd. I sent out a flier to schools about things a parent should look for in a limousine company for prom night. It got rave reviews and lots of business. If I owned a limousine company today it would be the number one post on my blog for prom and semi-formal season.
Keep in mind that blogging requires a substantial time commitment. Luckily, there are plenty of small agencies and freelancers that can help you with setting everything up. Actually I do a training for companies called Web 2.0 Guerilla Branding Training, where I teach companies about using talkcasts, blogs and social media to create branding on the internet. I also have a cd product that will introduce you to this topic, you can contact me at:www.marketing monday morning.blogspot.com or www.technogrannyshow.blogspot.com. I still use the blogger address because I want my clients to know how easy what I am teaching them is.
Before going down the business blogging path , I would carefully look at all my current sales and marketing programs that are already effective and see if I couldn't improve elements of those before venturing out into the blogosphere—this is a tremendous time commitment to keep fresh content and a blog out there which you do not update or react to comments on your blogposts can really do you more harm than good.
To blog effectively, think from your customers' perspective. Firstly, search the Web for the kinds of websites and blogs that they might be visiting already. Visit technorati, search by category and find out what the most popular business blogs in your niche are doing.
"You can may even offer to contribute to those blogs, and sometimes take out some banner advertising rather than start your own if you are an entrepreneur in a time crucnch.
Connect to your existing website: you will make your existing Web site more attractive to search engines by linking it to your blog. Always try to link to high traffic synergistic but non-compeitive sites also. Remember the idea is to get business for yourself and not direct it to others.
Jazz it up for audience and search engines! People expect to get information quickly online. A how-to video clip would be great for moving your blog and Web site up to the top of search engine results, but you should keep the video's length between 30 seconds and one minute. This is called social proof videos. They can also be testimonials. This also helps your search engine optimization.
Many business owners start a business blog because they think they have to. It is important to understand, that you CAN have an authentic, successfully maintained and trafficked blog even if your topic isn’t as web savvy as the blogosphere itself. We understand that business owners aren’t necessarily captivating writers. But tere are some things that you can do to “good enough” and that’s all it takes. If you are in an industrial or seemingly uncreative business, never fear blogosphere because good info doesn’t always have to be tech savvy.
Because Industrial business owners are experts in their industrial businesses, it’s important that they understand the mystery behind the blogosphere and have a plan
of sorts for their blogs.
In my Web 2.0 Guerilla Branding Training I teach clients that a blog is a great internet branding and search engine ranking tool.
But a tricked out blog without traffic is useless, and the most effective way to gain traffic is to earn it. This is the principle of attraction above promotion. Remember that the goal here is to attract links by becoming a resource. As in all marketing you need to figure out some things about your “perfect” client or customer. What kind of information would benefit them? What kind of info do you have to share that would be of interest. Plan your message, and stick to it. Write in a way that appeals to your audience. Don’t surprise them with Beethoven when you have started them off with Led Zepelin. Keep it real and consistent.
Yes, you want links but not just for links sake, you want complementary, synergistic links.
Links s the point where business bloggers get confused and often give up. . For a blog to really take off, it needs links. In order to get them you’ve got to focus on form as well as content. To achieve things like getting hits on Digg or Stumbled Upon and in order to get your blog on other blog rolls and in social bookmarks, you must convey your content in a unique, web savvy way. Put videos on your blog.
Tell a story! Check out previous Monday Morning Marketeers like “Episode 48: Telling Your Technology Story” or Episode 11, Branding with Creative Story Telling. and EPISODE10 - Brand Your Uniqueness with Your Strenghts For other great ideas also check out: EPISODE9 - Create Your Own Brand, there are more story telling ideas here. If you are really a novice, check out Episode 7—Branding, What is it?
Ridethe coat tails of other news stories and events. If you are a Green company and there is a Rootz, Green City Music Festival, plug into it somehow (there was just one in Pittsburgh.) In this case you could talk about how the Festival used to be called the Smoky City Festival until Green Companies like yourself started working their magic.
Be Prepared for Commitment—put it on your calendar to blog.
An unmaintained blog that says, last post 14 days or 30 days with unattended comments on your posts is worse than no blog at all.
Pimp out your blog with ping backs, widgets and other techno stuff that is not as hard as you think it is.
Bloggers fail to note is that a blog can be optimized much in the same fashion as a website, but with a few blog - specific twists:
- Host your business blog on it’s own domain
- Name your categories after targeted key phrases
- Provide ping backs and internal links to other blog posts, and to your website.- -
- Use heading and formatting tags for important phrases within your post.
A Successfull Business Blog Requires Participication and Promotion.
If you want community to embrace you, you must first embrace the community.
- Post comments on other blogs (Search technorati for posts relating to topics you’ve written about. Cross reference! Start a dialogue!) Always, always add your tag line to your comments in case others want to find you.
- Add blogs to your blog roll (share traffic)
- Research the best blog directories, and submit your blog to all of them. (Be availble)
- Link to your blog in your email signature, and print the domain on your advertizing materials
- Submit your posts as articles at free article directory sites. Link back to your blog and to your website.
- Visit digg.com, zimbio.com—these are good sites for pinging your blog and RSS syndication.
Focus! Focus! Focus!
Remember your purpose is give your audience meat and potatoes in stead of cake.. Getting lost in promotion and optimization can sometimes mean less time spent providing good content to your audience, which by now you should know is the back bone of blogging success. Set yourself up with your blog as a credible expert and the traffic will flow to you and so will business.
Calls to Action
• Niche market to a specific audience
• Plan what effect your message should have on your audience
• Menu: Meat and Potatoes—valuable, usable content
• Attract links from your niche audience by being that good
• Focus on Form (for your web savvy linkers)
• Commitment: Be consisten in your posts
• Optimize—I no longer put up recipes on www.technogrannyshow.blogspot.com, did it once and destroyed the focus of my blog.-
• Particpiate and Promote –stick your Web 2.0 hand out and embrace the community, get involved, react to other blogs in your niche, join relevant social networking sites
• Focus on good content and positive messaging
This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information: © Joanne Quinn-Smith, Monday Morning Marketeer 412-628-5048
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