If you have a blog, you know that you need to update it. You need to feed it every so often. It can be laborious and there are days when you sit in front of the screen and nothing comes into your mind to write. If you look back over my blog articles you will see that there are time when I write frequently and other times you will see the larder is bare for days on end.
This is an interesting question. From my own perspective I have a few objectives. The first is that I run a digital and social media company and I feel that people expect me as a 'tutor', 'consultant', 'expert' to use the tools that I bang on that others should use! To not blog (tweet, Facebook, etc) would probably be a dereliction of duties. For those who have been on my courses it offers me a way to give them more value out of the service and to update them as to what new courses, clients, technologies, platforms, issues may be of relevance to them.
Another reason is that it offers me more coverage. My website is divided into two parts: the business side and the thought/opinion side. The first part consists of, let's say, 20 pages which are about the consultancy, training, and in-house courses. The second consists of blog posts that cover all angles of social and digital marketing. They amount to just around 700 articles and also provide a source of top-quality referrers from Google searches. This means that there are a number of routes to my services:
Google Search (with service keyword) » Service Pages
Google Search (digital/social keyword) » Blog Article » Service Pages
Twitter Search » Blog Article » Service Pages
Twitter Follower » Blog Article » Service Page
Twitter Follower » Service Page
Facebook Page » Service Page
Facebook Page » Blog Article » Service Page
Blog Articles » Blog Article » Service Page
Blog Articles » Service Page
(and the list goes on)
Who to blog to?
You need to carefully consider who are the people who are going to land on your site or who are those you will direct to your site. I write for clients, potentials clients, collaborators and people generally interested in social media. These people in my mind are marketing managers and directors, pr managers, owners of SME's, customer service people (with an interest in social media), web developers/designers, social media practitioners and trainers. I also write articles that students - graduates, Masters and Ph.D - may find of interest. Sometimes I will consider the people who make decisions on behalf of staff - HR managers. If you're going to blog, work out who your audience is and then you can start sxcripting your blog articles.
What to blog about?
Wow! The number of times that I have sat here scratching my head about what to blog about, would probably turn into days! I pretty much know where the boundary fence or permiter of what I can write about is. It's important that you know, based on your target audience, what is of relevance to them and what will interest them. What works for Innocent Drinks doesn't work for GM and what excites Scoble's audience may not have the same impact as Seth Godin's. I may like watching rugby but I never (well, rarely) blog about it; I like Question Time but Dimbleby never features on this site; I have a passion for Spain but I keep these thoughts away from this site. The exceptions are when my passions fuse with the core areas of this site.
So, back to what I blog about. Broadly speaking I tend to write about SEO, PPC, Twitter, Facebook, new technologies, Analytics and the stuff you can see categorized on the right-hand side. More specifically I will wirte about new changes to AdWords, Twitter and Facebook apps, I write about stats, about the key players, events that go on in the industry, intresting uses of apps like Twitter my thoughts on how the industry is developing, the way I use the apps and much more. I often find that I need triggers to get me started and look to digital/social media news sites like Mashable, Techcrunch and Tech Radar or at the industry gurus like Robert Scoble, Danny Sullivan and Jermiah Owyang. I listen in (through Tweetdeck usually) to what people are tweeting about. I subscribe to MarketingProfs and Clickz and read their newsletters daily.
From a business perspective I am aware that I need to push my core services and periodically notify people about new courses that I have to offer or about the results that people have achieved on the CAM Diploma. I let them know about government schemes that can give them money off courses and invite them to let me know how I can change my site. For you as a business you need to explore, if you think it's necessary, how you can go about teaching people about your business - the way it works, the people who work for you, the products you sell, the events you go to, your thoughts on the industry and much more.
How to save time time blogging?
For those, like myself, who do falter and find they can't think of anything to blog about, here are some ideas to save time blogging:
- Find a relevant (to your subject area) video on YouTube and embed it into your site,
- Ask industry experts to answer a few questions for you.
- Write a book review
- Find a good presentation on Slideshare and embed it on your site.
- Let people know of the best conferences in your sphere
- Add a customer testimonial
- Notify people of upcoming events
- Take some pictures of your products or staff and stick them on the site.
- Find a podcast from the BBC or similar and stick it on the site.
[Caveat: make sure that is completely relevant to your subject]
For a business blogging can be about showing the softer, human side to your organisation and of teaching people about new products and services. It allows your customer to buy into what you're doing and sometimes to participate in the conversation, which leads to a more fruitful relationship. It allows you to show people how your business is changing and to influence the way the buy/work with you. It can help differentiate you (often very clearly) from your competitors. Someone said to me the other day that they would attend my courses and not those of my competitors because they 'got what I was doing'. Do your customers get what you're doing?
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