I’ve spoken often about the value of blogging. Whether you’re on your own, an individual who wants to make a few extra dollars while providing personal commentary on the various things that interest you or a company who wants to instill their corporate values and brand in the public or to their existing staff, blogging is one of the most influential “non‐media” type platforms in use today.
In the mid 1990s, most of us would wonder who in their right mind would keep notes online or an “online journal”, as it was known before its evolution. These often frequently updated web logs (see, “web logs” became “weblogs”, which in turn evolved into just “blogs”) quickly became very popular among online internet junkies who wanted to get their information fast and with less bias than information put out by big media.
A blog today is traditionally maintained by an individual that makes regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, and additional supporting material such as images or video. Entries are most typically posted in reverse‐chronological order and support comments by readers in an online interactive format. The word “blog” can also be used as a verb. Although blogging was a core staple of ’90s internet geeks that had a lot to say, it very quickly grew into a powerful new marketing tool, major news platform, and worldwide communications medium. Further popularized by hosted blogging tools, usage spread quickly in the late nineties, with the initial online journaling platforms being replaced by content management systems and professional blogging tools.
Blogs keep gaining increased notice and coverage for their growing influential role in communicating news and providing a platform for outreach, marketing, and collaborative information. Not to mention, sales. if you do it right, you can make some good money by blogging. In the paragraphs below, we’ll review what it takes
Authenticity & Transparency
Blogging has become a huge influencer of branding and reputation enhancement, providing that honesty and transparency are maintained. Authenticity and transparency are the bedrocks of blogging – particularly company blogging. Being open and honest with your audience will improve trust within a target community.
When people use the terms “authenticity and transparency”, they’re basically saying “be honest”. If you act like you’ve got nothing to hide, and back it up by actually not having anything to hide, your readers will start to trust you. Yep, its true, honesty breeds trust – who would’ve guessed? and yes your audience cares. So, why do we need to be so honest on the internet? Isn’t the web where we’re supposed to be what we want, lie as much as we want? To put it simply, everyone has a bullshit detector. You don’t want to get called out; it would be embarrassing to say the least and your audience would quickly dissappear.
To have a successful blog today you need to maintain your integrity, post real actual opinions, offer reason, allow comments, be passionate. Engage in conversation with your readers, “give and take” but most importantly, write unique content from your own point of view.
Finding a Niche Market
People on the web have been on a “long tail” internet marketing craze for some time now. Talking about the many little niche markets are starting to make up a larger percentage of potential clients. The keyword phrase “The Long Tail” was first coined to describe the niche strategy of businesses such as Walmart and Amazon that sell a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities over the web.
Targeting many small or pockets of niche markets drives highly targeted traffic to sites, so why shouldn’t everyone get in on it? Perhaps without even realizing it, many bloggers have already done so. With the rise of blogging and the growth of social networks, we have evolved online as we have in other ways; our online personas continue to mirror our offline lives.
Our interests tend to target something specific and sometimes, such interests don’t necessarily fit into a general blog with a wider audience and varied subject matter. Posts that are this general often get ignored or lost in the shuffle, and as a result, many bloggers feel they need a target niche to be heard. As a result, blogs and blog platforms have now gone the way of the e‐mail address: one for personal use and another one for business use (and perhaps one for your alter ego). One blog for customers and another one for your employees, each its own niche within its own community. Online society is quickly becoming similar to offline society and there are tones of niches to fill.
In many cases, the whole point of having a blog is to gain a larger wider audience, with too much crossover, your audience won’t be as targeted as possible; and once you’ve started that crossover readership, it can be very difficult to pull it back to your core focus. It is extremely important to market your site to the appropriate audience, so be sure that you comment on other websites that are in the same niche, that you advertise appropriately on your site, and where you keep your focus. There’s nothing wrong with creating a targeted message to your targeted audience, so don’t expect to please all of your readers and followers. Instead of trying to make everyone happy, find your own audience based on your niche market and subject matter…and keep posting.
Internal Blogging for Companies
A well written blog is an essential tool for companies bin and small who want to effectively communicate with their staff. A blog will:
* Capture information for that employees can use for both short and long‐term reference ‐ *Localize information so everyone knows where to find it. *Decrease deficiencies found in traditional knowledge transfer.
Blogs can be placed on or linked from the company website or intranet. The internal blog should be one of the most easily accessible points to gain internal company information.
Ideally, everyone should be able to post entries; however, to maintain a sense of control and decorum, it is sometimes best to allow all management to have access to post comments while everyone else in the company should have access to post comments.
Typically it is much easier to pitch an internal blog to the execs than an external blog, internal blogs are substantially easier to implement and to maintain with senior management on board. Additionally, an internal blog is much more likely to be read by employees than most company intranets, corporate newsletters, or general announcements. So, what are the most important items to include in an internal company blog? Obviously, any important company announcements, which should include new products, new company strategies and direct, new additions to staff as well as any awards won, special events, and even“fun” things like riddles, links to interesting online content or sites related to your industry – even birthdays announcements and other community postings can be included.
It does not have to be a cumbersome undertaking, just a couple of small posts per day or even week are good enough to communicate your information without risking inundating your readers. Posting too much information or too often can easily alienate your audience. Space out your announcements and a good idea is to do a “round‐up” once a week to hi light all important communications and links.
It typically takes a minimum of five and even up to ten repetitions for a piece of information to get through to and be comprehended by the majority of your staff so the more vehicles that you have for more internal communication the better. Another tactic to try, like the Monday morning meeting of old is for your staff to have 1 time that they know new posts are available (Monday morning) and another where they will be notified via email when an important post is made. Whats more if you employ a younger staff you will be surprised at the interaction and honesty received through your blog.
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