Last month, we defined what a blog is and offered a few tips about how you could harness its mighty marketing powers. But whether you’re new to the game or an established presence, here are four more business blogging tips:
1. Explore different blog platforms.
WordPress, Blogger and Webs.com are all great — and free — places to start. Several platforms will walk you through the process of designing your blog, using templates to make it easier for newbies. They also typically allow you to purchase a domain name (given it’s available and not being used by someone else) for a monthly or annual fee. This means that instead of having a blog address that ends in something like .wordpress.net, you can use a site address that ends in a simple .com or .net, which will make it easier for your customers to find your blog. As you become more comfortable with the mechanics of your blog, you can transition into the host’s paid version that will remove their ads.
Each of the aforementioned platforms has its own approach to blog building, which means each also has its own benefits and drawbacks. Check them out, and see which best suits your company’s needs and dovetail with the rest of your company’s online experience.
For example, if someone on your staff knows HTML coding, this frees up the opportunity to be even more creative than you could be when using a template alone. Of the aforementioned platforms, Webs.com is best suited for providing readers with a clean, professional-looking blog. This is not to say you can’t make any of the other platforms look, feel and navigate like a professional blog. Pest Management Professional’s blog (PMPPestTalk.com) uses a WordPress platform, which, thanks to our digital team’s HTML prowess, looks like a direct extension of our magazine’s site by retaining its feel and style. This brings us to our next point …
2. Learn to integrate your blog with the rest of your company’s online presence.
Depending on your capabilities, this could be as simple as linking to the blog from your company site’s homepage, or as advanced as rolling it into the actual site. However, it’s essential you make sure your customers and prospects can find your blog — otherwise your efforts are for naught. This leads us to …
3. Promote your blog any way you can.
Include the URL in your print ads, on your website and in your email signatures. Cross-pollination among your promotional materials is essential. Many don’t think of blogs as being promotional in nature because they associate them with casual communication. The truth is, though, they can and should be both. Link your website directly to your blog and vice versa. As long as you’re keeping your blog posts on topic, there’s no reason why your company can’t communicate with its customers and prospects in a more casual voice than you might use on your website, which keeps things professional and simple.
4. Iron out the details before going live.
Perhaps you’ll want to assign one employee to be your blog’s sole contributor. If so, that person doesn’t need a degree in English — but the voice of your blog should project your company’s professionalism. Misspellings and grammatical errors are easy to police with a computer’s spell checker.
If you’d like several employees to help generate content, consider assigning a blog editor to serve as coordinator. All blog posts can be filtered through this person, who should develop and use a set of guidelines for blog posts, and make sure the content received is relevant, appropriate and free of errors.
There’s your primer. Now, get to blogging. You’ll be glad you did, and you might just have a little fun.