Someone says “you should start blogging”. And your eyes glaze over…
- What is a blog?
- Why, when, where, and who?
- And how is it going to help my business?
You probably already know the answer to question 1 because you are reading one now.
The main characteristics of a blog are:
- It is self-published, giving you control of the content.
- The content is: generally informational/educational, occasionally news, sometimes a discussion, or often a story, sometimes a personal journal but it could also be a business “story”.
- It resides on the Internet and is searchable.
- The content consists of discrete entries (called “posts”) that are typically displayed with most-recent to oldest. This article on Wikipedia about Blogs has heaps more info on the origins (1997)and history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
I first heard about blogging in 2001 and started using one for business in 2006. I also used a blog to record my personal journey during three years of travel around North America in an RV. I now have 4 active blogs.
There can be a variety of reasons for “why” you want to blog. The most important reason is that you have some key messages, business or personal, that can best be shared in episodes that you control. The” when” is entirely up to you (more to come on that topic). The “who” can be yourself, your business colleagues, or guest bloggers whose opinions you want to share with your readers.
The hard-thinking part is about how it can help your business. I like to think that one of the main purposes that a business blog serves is to keep your website clean and uncluttered. It allows you to post timely messages that move down the page when they are less timely, but remain searchable when needed. They are especially great for new product releases, acquiring dialogue on issues, and sharing technical information or how-to data about your products and services.
It is also a great place to share information, news, opinions, comments, etc. In many organizations, blogs have replaced newsletters because they can be published faster, remain more relevant, and are often briefer or more targeted to specific audiences. One of the key principles of blogging is brevity.
Because blogs are self-published, they don’t require individuals with website skills to create them. This provides a greater flexibility for the business staff in an organization to publish and control the “news”.
The greatest business benefit is that it improves communication. You are more likely to share key messages with your customers and stakeholders if you can post them to a blog than if you are required to go through a rigorous process to publish the information on a website. Because of the ease of use, the turnaround is generally quicker and therefore timelier as well. The content is searchable so that means your audience is more likely to find what is relevant directly to them.
Only blog if you have something of value to share.
What was the value in this blog to YOU?