Why business blogging is an important part of any digital marketing initiative.

Why business blogging is an important part of any digital marketing initiative.

A client recently asked me to give him a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) of a blog. Thinking about it I realized that also there might not be a SOP but we can definitely frame guidelines around which an amazing blog can be cultivated.

Firstly let's address why every business should have a blog.

You first have to understand the difference between a blog and a website. I am not talking about technology or design here. I am talking about the fundamental attitude that goes into both.Simply put a website is - Formal and a blog is - Informal.

When I say that a website is formal I mean that it represents the structure and foundation of the business. It represents the business in a direct and formal manner. Here flights of fancy or wild speculation are not welcome. The website content has to be crisp and introduce the company's products and services in a proper manner.

A blog is the website's informal fun loving cousin.

A blog is where the company can show off its personality, its own unique style and also its sense of humor (or lack thereof). A blog allows a stiff and formal company to unwind online. It allows the business to put up information which might not be within the framework on their business practices.

These could include:

  • A commentary on the state of the industry and other observations
  • A humorous incident or joke can be recounted shamelessly on the blog.
  • Something terrific done by employees can be highlighted on the blog.
  • A platform to showcase a debate among the leaders of the industry.
  • Observations, comments and reviews of other people and companies.
  • Educational material such as videos, articles and links to useful information can be posted.
  • The company's philosophy and outlook can be communicated to prospective clients.

You must now be getting the sense that a blog is a lot that a website cannot be. A blog gives you a certain license to spread a little further than you normally would.

I love blogs which effectively mirror the company's individuality and uniqueness.

Some Do's and Don'ts for your Company Blog

Tons of material has been written on what to do and what not to do in a blog. But here are some points from my own experience.

Do's

  • Keep your blog separate from your website. Let the blog have its own space and act as an independent website.
  • Experiment with your blog design. Make it fun and interesting.
  • Write about a wide range of topics. A blog should not have boundaries.
  • Invite people from within the company and also outsiders to contribute to the blog. The more the merrier.
  • Include an email subscription option in the blog so that people get updates whenever you post.
  • Categorize the posts into relevant categories so that visitors can read only a specific area of interest to them.
  • Ensure that all activities and events of the company are reflected on the site. Post photos and write up about activity or event after it's over. A blog can be the company's historian for all posterity.
  • Post as often as you can. An up-to-date blog really reflects well on your business.

Don'ts

  • Do not put up dry, long and boring academic material on the blog. No one goes to a blog to do some heavy reading. At best give a link to a document which can be downloaded and read at leisure.
  • Avoid nasty comments, sarcastic observations or disparaging remarks about competitors or others on the blog. This is not a forum to bring out old grudges. You do not want to come across as bitter and nasty.
  • Avoid turning the blog into an advertising billboard for your services or products. If you have to then only advertise some new products or developments. By all means provide a banner to your site but don't cover the blog with flashing ads.
  • Don't hire professional bloggers to put up routine posts just to have a blog. If you have to hire a professional make sure he/she puts up content that involves your company directly or indirectly. No one wants to read regurgitated content from a copywriter.

Appoint a Blog master or a team from within the company to maintain the blog.

The best person to maintain a blog is the person who has the pulse on your business and your market. It also requires someone who can write well, have a sense of humor and is technically sound.

It's also a good idea to have a team write your blog. This way a lot of points of views come into the blog and when someone's busy or away the other's can make up for it. Make sure your blog master or blog team is acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts.

Evangelize your blog as much as your company website or its products.

A blog is a fantastic tool to showcase the softer and informal side of your business. It can also show to prospective clients how engaged you are within the industry and how much you are remaining up-to-date on current happenings.

But a blog will not sell itself. It has to be included in all the company's communications. It has to be added onto visiting cards and brochures. It has to mentioned by the senior management team in their talks.

When your blog becomes the heart of your company

Given enough time your blog can be THE go to place for your staff and your customers. It can reflect the soul of your company and your company's DNA. A bit dramatic you might think? Think of all the best companies in the world whose blogs are visited everyday by customers and fans alike. If you want to make your brand into a cult then your blog is an invaluable tool.

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