Tweets? Status updates? Blogging? What are all these strange new terms entering my lexicon and what do they really mean for marketing my business?
As the internet continues to grow at the speed of 1s and 0s, so do the online tools available to promote your business and engage your customers. Many of the most popular tools fall under the broad category of “Social Media” and include things like Bloggin, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
So what are these things and how can you use them to promote your business? This three-month article series will take you through the ins and outs of the major social marketing tools and hopefully empower you to jump into the online marketing sector with knowledge and confidence.
This month’s topic is Blogging.
In terms of age, blogging can be considered the oldest of the online social media. “Blog” is short for Weblog, the original name for this type of online journaling.
Originally, it was exactly that: a way for people to keep a journal online that others can access and read. For many people, millions really, this is still how it is used. Businesses, however, have found ways to use blogs as part of their marketing, customer service and brand building.
Angela Todd, an interior designer and HBA member, uses her blog to inform readers about the projects she is working on, educate them on new trends and promote classes she is teaching around the Portland metro area. She shows before and after transformations and gives “do it yourself” tips to her readers. The bottom line for Angela is that her blog allows her to establish herself as an expert in her field.
“Stories and projects sell your expertise. Talking about how great you or your business are – not in the context of a project – isn’t effective,” Todd says. “When you finish a satisfying project, are acknowledged by your peers, win or are nominated for an award, teach a class, make an appearance, or do a non-profit project for goodwill, let your network know. They want to see you successful and they will remember you as a subject matter expert in your field.”
Larger, national businesses have embraced blogging on an even bigger scale. Many CEO’s of well established companies blog regularly, and get called out if it is learned that a PR flak is actually the one writing it! Online shoe super retailers Zappos.com goes as far as to encourage their employees to blog and set up a specific website to host them, http://http://blogs.zappos.com/blogs. This follows the company’s general branding strategy, which is to promote their superior customer service.
Blogs are relatively easy to set-up and many sites offer free blog platforms, including Blogger, WordPress, TypePad and LiveJournal. Your website tech person can even embed the blog, using the software at places like WordPress, into your company site so things are seamless.
Blogging is a new and fast growing part of business marketing and communication. If you feel left behind, don’t, because most are just learning about it and figuring it out. But it can be an important part of every businesses coordinated communication plan. So, wade into the social media pool, test out the waters a little. Soon you’ll be swimming right along with everyone else.
Blogging Tips and Tactics:
– Link to outside webpages within your blog. This helps search engines find your blog and increases your traffic.
– Remember once you post it that it is live for everyone to read!
– Keep things short and concise. Some topics require longer posts, but shorter posts are read more often.
– Include photos and graphics as appropriate to illustrate your point or show your work.