Friday, February 19, 2010
Blogging For Dollars
Top Tips For Making A Business Connection With Your Weblog
Published Thursday, February 18, 2010
by Monique McKenzie, For The Charlotte Post
Though the Valentine’s Day season is a time when we’re reminded about the importance of making connections, you certainly don’t have to wait until February 14 to start hooking up with potential clients. By blogging—maintaining a weblog or online diary—you can regularly communicate your company’s happenings to current as well as potential customers and that can boost business.
With blogging, you can meet several objectives. It enables you to communicate with other people in your industry. For instance, if you’re a dog trainer, you can share your techniques with others who share your interests. Also, blogs are great tools to provide customer updates or just give additional details about a particular product or service. Beyond that, blogs can help you shine as an industry expert and since blogs are usually linked to search engines, blogging helps customers you would never meet find you. Most importantly, blogs can help you get a read on what your customers are thinking as they either respond to your blog or simply ignore it. That’s a much stronger connection than you can establish with a website alone.
Essentially, you can set up your own blog using four easy steps. First, get a blog account. Sites like LiveJournal.com, Wordpress.com, and Blogger.com are free. At a minimum, you should join Twitter (www.twitter.com) and send updates that are 140 characters or less. You can also set up your blog on sites like myspace.com, blackplanet.com, facebook.com, and other social networks but they aren’t as closely connected with the search engines as some of the blog-only sites.
Next, decide on a theme for your blog so you can focus your content and select a template that will effectively support and communicate your theme. Sites like “the cutest blog on the block” (www.thecutestblogontheblock.com/) allow you to custom design your blog template. Another site, eblogTemplates (www.eblogtemplates.com) boasts over 300 quality free templates that were compiled by the site’s members. As you choose a template, look for one that will enhance the text you write not overshadow it.
As a third step, start writing. If you actually want people to read your blog, it needs to be attention grabbing, amusing, original (The EXCLUSIVE), Informative/Insightful and/or Interesting. And just what subjects are hottest with readers? Blogs on “How to” topics, competitions, celebrity interviews, free resources, industry outlooks, and top lists are most wanted. Even though you need to post regularly to maintain momentum, you should only post if you have something compelling to say.
Finally, you need to find ways to drive traffic to your blog. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to link it to a larger site—particularly your company’s website. However, you can boost traffic to stand alone blogs as well by getting websites with similar content to link to your blog, posting your messages to your company’s fan page on facebook, and hosting contests.
So if you’re looking for yet another reason to spend time on the net, blogging for your business should keep you busy enough and help you snag additional customers in the process.
MONIQUE McKENZIE is host of The McKenzie Business Forum talk radio show Thursdays at 3 p.m. To connect to the show live or hear the archives, go to www.thecharlottepost.com.
Posted by tha artivist at 8:30 PM