Perspectives on Business Blogging
There are certain guidelines that companies should bear in mind when undertaking new ventures into the blogosphere. For starters, an effective blog should be a springboard for conversation as opposed to merely an information resource.
The blogosphere has become a virtual hotbed of information dissemination in today’s digital landscape.
Danny Sullivan, Robert Scoble, Matt Cutts the list goes on and on of industry insiders who provide a deepening glimpse into the realms of technology and search by means of their widely popular blogs.
It’s clear that the blogosphere is playing an increasingly important role in the realm of e-business. Questions, however, are beginning to arise in the blogging community concerning what actually constitutes an effective business blog.
Vincent Maher, journalism lecturer at Rhodes University, outlines eleven distinct aspects of effective blogging in terms of building an interactive community. All of the items can be found here, but I want to touch on three of his observations that bear significant mention.
Remember that many readers will be scanning your RSS feed along with many others, so the poignancy of your headline is critical. If the headline doesn’t grab a reader’s attention there is little likelihood they will click on it.
Every day I probably scan through 700-800 articles in Google reader. Obviously, I don’t have time to read them all, so it all comes down to marketing.
If your headline doesn’t spark my curiosity, I won’t be reading your blog.
One of the key ways to create a loyal audience for your blog is to create a community of readers who interact with each-other on your blog. This means that your blog entries should be structured in such a way that they start conversations. This means they need to be short and punchy, with a clearly defined point or set of points.
The blogosphere is not a stage to present oneself to an audience; it’s a community within which to interact and learn.
Maher makes an assertion with which I completely agree, “Unlike print media, the process only gets going once the blog post is published – a blogger is more like a community managter than a writer, in the greater scheme of things.”
I believe this concept is the key to the life (or death) of a blog.
Getting people excited about the products and services your business has to offer is the entire point of the word-of-mouth platform that blogging represents. If a company blog doesn’t offer anything worthy of sparking conversation, people are going to simply find something else to talk about.
Don’t sit and watch the comments streaming in and do nothing, get in there! Unlike traditional journalists, the blogger’s role is to steer and be part of the conversations they start.
One of the main draws of a blog is the opportunity for the average consumer to feel like they have a voice that is being heard. As a business, the best and most effective way to let people know you’re listening is to become an active participant in the conversation.
Let those within your particular blogging community know that their voice isn’t falling on deaf ears.
Maher’s eleven points provide very specific advice for bloggers. I believe, however, that these points echo a deeper, more fundamental blogosphere principle: transparency.
People want transparency from bloggers. Dishonesty and misinformation will kill a blog faster than you can say Edelman.
Time is a valuable commodity to the average Internet user. With so many options at their fingertips, people have to make clear choices on how they will spend their time online. If people choose to spend a portion of that time reading and interacting with your company’s blog, they expect to be told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
This mindset is a little nave, perhaps. Nonetheless, it’s an undeniable truth of the blogosphere.
If you want honest feedback from your consumer base, you have to give them an honest representation of the company.
Ultimately, creating and maintaining a company blog is serious business that comes complete with a new set of rules and, if one isn’t careful, potential pitfalls. However, a thriving community inhabiting a corner of the blogosphere could be the gust of wind that breathes new life into your business.