Setting up a business blog can be an extremely efficient way to enhance your company’s image. A successful blog enables businesses to convey to the public that it’s made up of real people, rather than just a large, faceless corporation.
Greg Banbury from Naked Wines emphasises the importance of keeping blog posts interesting and new. People want to read about fresh and innovative ideas and plans for the future rather than old, boring information that they already knew. If posts are not exciting and up-to-the-minute, readers simply won’t return to the blog at a later date. He describes the blog as “a tool to humanise your brand”, which can be achieved by sharing stories and photos with customers. However, it is crucial that blogs are not used merely as another sales platform, because this will discourage people from coming back and reading further entries. Instead they should contain relevant and attention-grabbing reports of what is happening in the business.
Blogs have been met with a range of responses from business men and women. Many have embraced these web entries with open arms, and have latched onto the trend by setting up and constantly updating a company blog. But there are still a number of people who cannot accept or even understand the value of a business blog. It is indeed true that there are countless blogs that contain false and unreliable material, but these must be filtered out and ignored. Business blogs are a corporate tool whereby companies can communicate with customers or their employees, to share information and expertise. They can help to build additional traffic to their website and are good promotional instruments for businesses to project their brand into the public domain.
Cristian Nellemann, founder and CEO of business broadband and telecom specialist, XLN Telecom, offers advice on blogging for small businesses:
• Get interactive
Customers love it when businesses ask their opinion on something, as it makes them feel values.
• Map your audience
Twitter allows you to geographically isolate your audience and tweet to only those followers within a certain radius of you. It’s the modern alternative to leaflets through the door but it offers much more – the opportunity for feedback.
• Improve your search engine optimisation (SEO)
Ensure that you are near the top of the pile in search engine rankings. Taking advantage of ‘buzz words’ (things that people are currently Tweeting about) will ensure you get lots of hits. Carefully selecting the first few characters of your post will also improve your search engine relevance.
• Offer rewards
This is a great way to convert online interest to offline loyalty and can be a good platform for promotional offers. If you’re looking to build a loyal offline following, make it worth someone’s while to follow you by offering a free gift or discount to the first 10 followers.