Business blogs can be merely dutiful to endlessly engaging. Either way will get results: a higher search engine ranking in the first instance (if the right keywords are consistently included) or a more involved and enthusiastic customer following in the second. One would think that the latter would be the aim of any company with a business blog. Not necessarily.
Like anything else creative, blogs take time and commitment to do well -- that is, creatively. If a blog is not based on input from a company's executives or sales team, it can be based on items found, and noted or expanded on, in roaming the Internet. That at least gets a firm's name in the path of search engines. But an opportunity to give the company personality and visitors regard may well be lost.
To be fully effective, business blogs need community development of story lines, even if the "community" is only a couple of people on a sales team. Compelling blogs are based on shared input that brings an organization alive. Content matters if a blog is to appeal to prospective customers as well as being noted by search engines. (Actually, though, a blog that simply provides Web-generated "tips" on a given topic or product space can also be effective.)
Lee Oden discusses an energetic approach to business blogging on the TopRank Online Marketing Blog in a post entitled "Smarter Ways to Get Content Ideas for B2B blogs." Beyond internal blogging bull sessions (of importance in themselves), Oden adds a sophisticated approach to search marketing keywords, the use of social media keywords, repurposing (updating) older content, turning to thought leaders, and being a curator of content from multiple sources as techniques for building effective business blogs.
However much is invested in a business blog, it should definitely involve more than farming one out and forgetting about it. A blog without continuing staff and executive input is a missed opportunity to influence your marketplace.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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