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10 Tips for Writing a Successful Blog [Series 1:2]

10 Tips for Writing a Successful Blog [Series 1:2]
Published December 5, 2008 by jkgibbs Comments: 2

Blogs serve as one of the best ways to communicate with people via the Web today, but a lot of corporate blog start-ups begin posting with little or no idea what to write about. They shamelessly promote their own products and services to a point of putting off potential readers and hurting brand image. While it is true people go to blogs to find credible information on products and services from opinion leaders, it is important to remember the overall purpose of a blog is to establish credibility and two-way communication with the target audience about a given topic.

This post is the first in a series to help you successfully manage a blog for your company. In order to do this, it is necessary to understand the top five reasons blogs fail:

  1. Not enough comments left by visitors
  2. Not enough subscribers
  3. No increase in traffic to the main website
  4. Difficulty coming up with fresh content for each post
  5. No tact in promoting products and services via the blog

From a corporate standpoint, blogs are an affordable way to promote your business and encourage repeat customers, as well as generate some additional revenue. A corporate blog can:

  1. Allow you to create a personal voice for your business other than traditional PR;
  2. Help to acquire prospective customers and to build additional loyalty from current ones;
  3. Provide a platform to be an industry expert.

This is just the first installment of tips and tricks to managing and upkeeping a successful blog for your business.

Update Regularly with Relevant Content

While it is important to keep content new and fresh, it is equally important to never create unnecessary posts that overload subscribers. Each post should stay relevant and not be created for the purpose of “out blogging” the competition. The best way to keep content relevant and emerge as an expert is to write about current industry events and trends. It is also important to not load each post with shameless promotions about your product or service. In fact, you may not want to mention your product at all. The purpose of a blog is to build subscribers and create a personal interface for current and potential customers to communicate with you. However, it is possible to slowly implement promotional efforts after a loyal subscriber base has been established.

Make Subscription Opportunities Prevalent

When writing a blog, it is important to make it as easy as possible for people to subscribe in every way possible. The best way to do this is by adding buttons for multiple RSS readers as well as the option to subscribe to updates via email. It is also important to make these buttons easily accessible. Do not place them at the bottom of the page. If someone doesn’t read all the way through your content,  he’ll never have the opportunity to subscribe. Find out what location is best suited for your individual blog. Also, using an image to promote your feed (icon, button, etc.) is a little more eye catching and can lead to more subscriptions.

Allow Comments

Don’t be afraid! Allowing readers to make comments on individual posts can help you to better understand your audience. Also, giving audience members the ability to communicate with you, as well as each other, can increase viewer sentiment, thus increasing buzz on and about your blog. Viewing comments on your blog posts can help you discover how and why visitors are becoming subscribers. This information can help you properly cater to these people.

Check back next week for the second installment in the series. For now, check out the Strategic Insights philosophy on podcast advertising.

Discussion

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2 Responses to “10 Tips for Writing a Successful Blog [Series 1:2]”

  1. Josh Gibbs said:

    I absolutely agree. It is a REALLY bad idea to start a blog if you do not have the resources to maintain it with frequent updates. Lot’s of medium and large companies have positions called Social Media Managers where a single employee is responsible for maintaining the brand online in social media such as blogs and social networks. Smaller companies usually have someone on the administration end do the same thing but on smaller scale. In both instances, this person is usually the one responsible for overall quality control of the business.

    Like Chris said, the key take-away (or Strategic Insight) is to be patient and prevalent.

  2. Chris Griffin said:

    To this I would like to add a comment about possible negative effects from undernourished or neglected blogs. These days, it seems that blogs are like belly buttons – pretty much every one has one and for the most part, they are useless. (By “useless,” I mean they have succumbed to one or more of your Top Five Reasons for Failure above.)

    A timely, often posted-to, relevant blog can be enormously helpful in promoting a business and raising awareness. Conversely, a blog started with good intentions and then abandoned or otherwise poorly managed can promote the perception that the blogger doesn’t see the value in their own creation. This can reflect negatively on their business as a whole.

    Blogging can, indeed, be an affordable way to promote your business and build a loyal customer base, but establishing, maintaining and growing a worthwhile blog requires a long-term commitment of time and effort to succeed. People looking to start a blog with an expectation of some kind of ROI should be aware of this. They may be better served by first asking themselves if they have the necessary resources to dedicate before pulling the trigger.