In the first of my posts on Business Blogging Basics, my aim is to answer some of the more fundamental questions that I have heard when discussing the merits of a business blog as part of a well defined Online Marketing Plan. An Online Marketing Plan (or indeed a Marketing Plan) encompasses all of the marketing methods and techniques that are used to increase the profile of a business.
Whenever a new business is started or a new product is offered for sale, concentrated time and effort needs to be put in to ensure that the intended target audience of that business or that product gets to see that the business is available to address the audience’s needs and requirements and that the product being offered for sale is now available for purchase.
So, let’s look at some of those fundamental questions:
What is a blog?
A blog (short for Weblog) is an online presence. A way of conveying information. A diary of thoughts. An online journal. A way of expressing your thoughts, views and opinions.
A blog allows us a way to express our opinions on a variety of subjects that are relevant to us and our target audience.
What is a business blog?
The same answer as the one above but within a business context. It’s a place to share your knowledge and expertise about your business and its industry. A means of providing a voice for your company on a regular basis. A way of interacting with anyone who is interested in finding out more about you and your small business. A method of keeping your clients and suppliers updated with the comings and goings of your business operations by providing a news archive.
A business blog allows us to share our thoughts and opinions on the topics that are relevant to our business and the wider industry. If our readers are able to leave comments and feedback, it provides an interactive means of keeping in touch with our target audience.
What is the difference between a news section and a blog?
Many websites will (and do) include a news section. Although good content when used correctly, a news section tends to only be used to publish factual information about the business. For example, a News Section is a form of press release and will include:
- company newsletters
- new product announcements
- events and exhibitions being attended
- new staff joining the team
- various statistical information about the business in question.
A Business Blog can cover all and every topic imaginable. It can contain press releases, company newsletters and statistical information just like a separate news section but this will only be one part of the business blog. Your blog can also cover thoughts and opinions about the industry as a whole. It allows you free reign to discuss the topics you feel are important to your target audience. You can:
- conduct product reviews
- share tips and tricks
- provide ‘How To’ guides
- show product video demonstrations
- discuss industry trends.
Why should my business have a blog?
There are many answers to this question, but the one key idea behind a business blog is that it’s a cost-effective platform that you as a business service provider can use to talk about you, your company, the services you offer, the products that you make and sell, your industry as a whole.
It allows you to be seen as an expert in your field, a trusted knowledge source. After all, when it comes to your industry and your product and service offering you are the expert. You are the one that can advise your clients and customers effectively. You are the go-to person to answer questions and provide consultancy and advice.
As the business owner, you determine the strategy behind your blog and it’s content. You can split your blog into sections or categories, in order to help the reader find the information they need quickly and easily. Although an easily managed and effective part of the marketing mix employed by a business, it does well for us to remember that a business blog is only one part of an overall Marketing Plan. The best marketing plans use a variety of Marketing Methods to reach out to and engage with their target audience.