Sure, blogging isn’t quite as cool as Facebook and Twitter. It certainly isn’t as easy either. However, a blog is still imperative to a small business’ content and marketing strategy.
Although social media and a company blog can perform similar functions, they shouldn’t not be considered interchangeable. Blogs are superior to social media sites for damage control, corporate communications and messages from executives, because you can control the look and feel of them. A blog can add a human element to the company and create conversation with those who have something to say about your company, or your company’s niche.
Blogging works in the B to B world for two reasons, said Mike Rowland, president of Impact Interactions, a marketing services company that specializes in social media, in BtoB Magazine.
“When you look at the b2b market, what’s necessary is thought leadership, and you cannot get thought leadership in 140 characters or a Facebook post,” he said.
Also, blogs allow for more in-depth customer interaction than either Facebook or Twitter. They are also ideal for collecting customer feedback, which is a great way to remove some of the burden of your customer service personnel. You can avoid customers calling in with questions, or going somewhere else for the answer, by addressing them in a blog. It keeps down the marketing and corporate speak while really getting at the needs of your customers and prospects. Use a blog to share and to talk about customers, industry challenges and how you approach your work.
But, avoid selling on a blog at all costs. Keep that sort of content to your social media sites, and to your salespeople.
In partnership with Business on Main, here are a few additional tips to keep your company blog going:
1. Make it fresh and exciting: What can you bring that’s a little different? Whether it’s beautiful photography, cutting-edge design, quirky humor, compelling customer stories, research or contests, think creatively to keep people coming back.
2. Be strategic: There’s no evidence that blogging on a regular schedule is imperative to success. If you can only post every couple of weeks, make sure that when you do, the blog furthers your story or fills a specific purpose.
3. Use multimedia: It’s recommended that readers are given the option to read text, listen to a podcast or watch a video. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Some blogging platforms can auto-embed YouTube onto the page, and free or low-cost podcasting tools are available from the Web.
4. Make it simple: Popular blogging platforms are fairly simple to maintain without technical support. “It doesn’t get easier than using WordPress as a blogging platform,” says Nick Armstrong, a Loveland, Colorado, online marketing consultant. “Themes are getting better to the point where you almost don’t need a geek for anything but setup and major tweaks.”
5. Remember your website: The most fabulous blog ever written will suffer if its foundation, your website, stinks. You should be able to make edits to your site without a consultant. To drive optimal search results, you need deep understanding of metatags, search engine optimization and content navigation. “If your website isn’t sound, you will get hosed,” Armstrong says. “Hire a geek if you don’t have one on your team.”