Been Blogging, you?

A business Blog has proven to be an effective way to generate buzz and traffic.

—Why Business Blogging is much more than a hobby

I knew a guy that refused to Blog simply because he despised the word. He was a journalist, constantly on the lookout for story leads, but he cringed when someone said the word.  He is just one of a handful who feel that way, and like all acts to resist new technology, they eventually fade into the night. Especially when that fad becomes overwhelmingly popular and beneficial.

But think of Blogging as one tool in your online marketing strategy, perhaps even a central piece. It can be used in many ways to communicate more effectively with staff, customers, industry experts and potential investors. What makes a Blog work so well? They have the ability to target a specific audience in a quick and cost-effective way. This means keeping your customers informed about new products, events or industry information. All of these components portray that you are the expert in your field; whatever that is.

But just as Blogging can be a great way to generate traffic and buzz, it can also work against your intentions if done improperly. Posting unfavorable content or saying something you might eventually regret can’t be erased. Someone, somewhere out there, has it stored on a server. Not to mention the traces left on search engines like Google.

Blogging is a powerful marketing and communications tool that can help businesses indirectly promote their product(s) to customers, stakeholders and suppliers. According to eMarketer, as many as 43% of companies will be Blogging by 2012. Here’s a list of 6 things to consider when starting your new Blog:

Shipping it is not enough. You’ll need to ensure that your Blog is integrated into your existing marketing/communications strategy and presents a brand message that is cohesiveness throughout all mediums. If it’s done properly, a Blog can enhance your overall traffic, activity and more importantly, ROI.

Consistency is everything. Publishing periodically isn’t enough (as I admittedly do myself).  Assuming readers enjoy your work, they will come back and expect the same level of “awesome” that the received the first time. So set up a monthly calendar of potential topics, and stick to a weekly plan for consistency.

Content is King. As important as consistency is, it’s the quality of that content that will make you stand out amongst other similar Blogs.  Think of your top 5 favorite television commercials. What do they all have in common? The fact that they stuck in your head is one of them. People like commercials that stick and commercials that people like often stick. As you embark on your new Blog, make your posts memorable. If you are memorable your posts will stick in the minds of your readers long after they were published. If you are really lucky, they will even share it with their friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Read It, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Flickr, etc.

Simplicity. The simplicity of Blogs makes them influential. For the many of the technologically challenged, Blogs are refreshing. They cut out a lot of the fluff and simply present what matters most. That is the information.

SEO. A Blog will inevitably enhance your businesses Search Engine Optimization. The more your name is associated with keyword-rich content, the more often it will show up in search engines.

Blogging is hard work. Before jumping into it you need to understand that this is much more than a diary of the days events. You’ll need a dedicated staff member to be responsible for the creation and maintenance of the Blog. They will probably spend 30-60 minutes a day to brainstorm topics, write, edit and tag all posts. Depending on the size of your company, that number could increase dramatically.

After considering these recommendations, it is important to measure and track your success. This means analyzing website traffic in key areas such as top posts, referrals, and click rates. You can start by using complimentary stat trackers and even Google Analytics in-depth array of information on bounce rates, visits by country, and more.

Blogging has its advantages and disadvantages and should be handled with great care. If you can’t wrap your head around Blogging, don’t be alarmed. It is a learning experience that, if done properly, can be very beneficial for your business. After all, the goal is to become the expert in your field, solidify your position in the industry and attract new business.