I can no longer imagine a start up company that does not include social media as a part of it's marketing strategy. And I can't conceive of a marketing strategy that doesn't build it's focus around a blog.
A blog is the hub of a larger on-line presence that that feeds and plays off of the other social media tools including Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google +, and the other emerging networks.
So why are most business Blogs unsuccesful in their mission of promoting a specific business? It's been my experience that most business Blogs speak in the voice of the business, instead of the business' customers. And when you make this mistake, your Blog often tends to have:
- No Plan
- No Objective
- No Integration (With other social Media)
- No Audience (And therefore, no traffic)
A blog allows a business to give itself personality, differentiating itself from its competitors and allowing it to state its value proposaition. If integrated properly, it also allows others to readily find the information online. So what are the best practices for blog writing?
First, make sure the blog entries are highly optimized for search. Keywords, titles, keyword rich links and consistent messaging all help keep your articles focused, and easily indexed by the search engines, allowing your site to maintain itself at the top of the search engine rankings.
Second, create compelling content. It's not as hard as you think. You don't have to be Shakespeare to create significant Web traffic. You are positioning your firm as an expert in your field. So create reader centric content, and give it away freely. Kepp the information abouth them, and not yourself, and help them reach their own goals. Trust they will remember where they got the information. Becuase if it's good, they will. And keep the inforamtion timeless. Make sure your articles have a long shelf life, and that you articles will retain relevancey long after they are written, In this way, you can continue to generate Web traffic in the future, and continue to receive a return on your marketing investment.
And Third, (and this is the biggest mistake most people make, so pay attention, I'm speaking to you) formalize your approach. Appoint someone in your office the "Social Media Czar" and give them the task of strategizing and implementing a social media calendar. How many times will you tweet a day? How often will you Blog? Creating a calendar and a program and holding someone accountable for action will go a long way to insuring success.
Keep in mind that although a Blog is hard work, there is nothing that will make your business' marketing plan easier. A Blog is one of the most cost effective and efficient ways you can create new business opportiunities.