Blogging 101

businessweek111.gifDon’t believe the hype. Yes, blogs can change your business. Blogging can also do zippo for your business if you don’t go about it the right way. Don’t blog because it’s some sexy new marketing thing. Blog because you honestly want to engage your customers, peers and potential employees in a running dialogue.

So, what’s a blog?

Weblog, or, more commonly, blog, is a frequently updated site. The focus is on individual posts (traditionally links plus commentary) that are arrayed with the most recent posts at the top. See the wikipedia entry for blog.

Aren’t blogs just online diaries for teenagers and agitated political types?

Blogs are tools used by anyone who wants to easily communicate on the Web and link their thoughts to others. Over the last few years, blogs have gone mainstream. In addition to the tech types who created the medium as a collaboration tool, all types of personal and professional blogs are popping up. Some estimate a new blog appears each second.

Businesses are taking advantage of direct communication. While the number of corporate blogs is relatively small now, it’s growing rapidly. Thanks, in part to articles like these:

Why would companies want to blog?

  • Create a simple to use communication tool that lets you speak directly to your audience
  • Make your site much more interactive, dynamic and relevant to the audiences that matter
  • Showcase ideas/approaches to give potential customers a ‘taste test’ of what it’s like to work with you
  • Increase traffic to your site through better search performance and links from relevant sites
  • Create a timely response mechanism with huge distribution potential (Web feeds)
  • Virtual focus group — test ideas and get input from the people who really count

Can’t I get a blog for, like, free? Why should I pay someone to help me?

Absolutely, you can get started for free here at Blogger. Or, for $15 bucks a month, you can use TypePad, a great hosted service. Or, you can download WordPress, the open source blog tool all the cool kids are using, and get started that way.

It’s not about the technology or the tool, though. You don’t need a partner like Weblogs Work to blog. You need a partner to ramp up quickly. To blog well. To mesh up this new tactic with all your other marketing programs. You didn’t design your own logo, did you? If so, see the stuff about WordPress.

So, if I launch a blog, will I get Boing Boing’d and on all those news shows like English Cut did?

Probably not. Maybe, but probably not. That was the rather remarkable work of the Web’s answer to Terry Gilliam — Hugh Macleod, and his faithful PR ninja, David Parmet. Plus, small business blogs were relatively new back in those golden days.

As Seth says, there are no shortcuts. You’ll build an audience post by post (with our help). You’ll listen, reply, post again. You’ll be amazed, for sure, at the response and interest your blog will generate. But blogging is a long term thing — a commitment to start talking in a more personal way. It absolutely pays huge returns, but you have to tend the garden. Those hooked on the quick boost need not apply.

Brian Oberkirch | 4:14 pm | Tags: Blogs | Bookmark on | Digg It

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