Blogging for Business

Blogs are an integral part of the way people consume information online and how businesses can communicate with the public, eclipsed only by social networks. The landscape of blogging has changed over the years with a few veteran blog publishing tools like Wordpress, Blogger and Tumblr still dominating while other newer platforms including Medium and Svbtle popping up. Some social networks have also added blogging features to entice users to publish longer form content along with their shorter updates including LinkedIn blogs and Facebook with Notes.

Effective business blogs – and successful blogs in general - tend to have the following qualities that help attract and grow a following:

  • current content.
  • frequent posts.
  • a strong voice.
  • a strong focus.
  • visuals.

Visuals including photos, illustrations, infographics and videos can be instrumental in the success of a blog. In fact, an entirely new form of communication evolved from blogs and social media that focus on visual content on sites such as Instagram, Flickr, and Vine. Blogs are not just about posting text content anymore.

There are many reasons to blog for your business. Some of the best uses of a blog that can be beneficial to your business include:

  • enhancing your reputation.
  • building your brand.
  • showcasing your expertise.
  • publishing up-to-the-minute information.
  • educating existing and prospects.
  • enhancing social media marketing.

There are some downsides to blogging for business. Blogging can be very time-consuming and blogs are content-intensive. Once you have a following of readers, they may have a high expectation to see new content from you on a more frequent basis than you can manage. You can lose a readership more quickly than gaining one by failing to blog on a regular basis.

A blog is not looked at as a direct sales tool because people are not conditioned to visit a blog to shop. Instead, people frequent blogs to read the content, to comment and to interact with other readers. That doesn’t mean you can’t sell or promote on a blog.

Some businesses and individuals have been successful using a blog to promote an online catalog of products or services. You can also easily incorporate a shopping cart feature onto your blog using an e-commerce plug-in. A blog can be a useful addition to an online shopping site where you can elaborate on products and provide additional information and resources.

Think of a blog as a complementary informational tool for your business. Develop content that is more universal than commercial such as an overarching lifestyle or theme to guide the content of your blog. If you sell pet products, advice about pet care would be relevant content of interest to your customers and prospects. If you are a graphic designer, blogging about graphics software tricks and tips could be a great way to establish your expertise. If you are a landscaper, blogging landscaping inspiration can position you as someone to hire.

While using a blog as your main company site is possible, most companies still maintain a more static website with key background information then add a blog for more current news. Many companies now produce their websites using blog publishing tools because they are easy-to-use and most do a good job of integrating social media into pages and posts.

Blogging for business requires a strategy, some tangible goals and even an editorial calendar to keep your content on track. If you’re going to undertake blogging as a marketing communications tactic, find the right blog tool and the right blogging style that suits your company. Then line up the resources to keep your blog updated and useful.