Blogs have absolutely soared in popularity over recent years. It seems like everyone from our airlines to our hair stylists are keen to publish their stuff online. But why? What makes blogs such an important social media tool that blue chip brands like Marriott and Coke have decided to adopt them? And more importantly, what separates a good blog from a not-so-good one?
The first thing every social media “expert” should know before diving into the blogosphere is what a blog is—and isn’t! Technically, a blog is a website people update semi-regularly with news, information, commentary, or just general day-to-day details about their lives or business ventures. Blogs are either professional or personal, each boasting its own unique set of guidelines. As far as business bloggers are concerned, a proper blog is:
A Whole Slew of Pages Search Engines can Index
Any blog platform worth its salt will assign each of your posts its own unique URL: meaning Google can index every entry you post. If you’re a chef and restaurant proprietor, for example, odds are that you didn’t devote a main page of your site to your love affair with Wusthof knives. However, if you write a blog post gushing about your love of the Wusthof Le Cordon Bleu sandwich knife for slicing cucumbers, searchers can potentially find your restaurant by way of googling a combination of Wusthof + knife + cucumber + sandwich (trust me, stranger search combos have in fact existed).
A Place to Answer FAQs
If you hear the same question over and over again, why not post a thorough answer on your blog? While you should always answer customer queries immediately, of course, you can also direct them to your blog if the answer is particularly long-winded or complicated. Chances are that if many people are asking you, that many more are asking Google—and wouldn’t it be nice if a few of those Googlers stumbled upon your company’s blog and then hired you or used your products/services?
A Place to Demonstrate Your Expertise
When potential customers visit your website, they want to know your company is the best one for the job. If your blog is chock full of well-written and informative posts, customers will know immediately that the people behind the scenes are capable and competent.
I’m not saying you need to update your blog every day. Yet, if month-long gaps exist between posts, old readers will lose interest and you won’t accumulate any new ones. A loved blog is an effective blog, so aim to keep your posting schedule consistent.
Now, for what a proper blog is not:
Entries about why your creamed corn/seared tuna/artichoke dip is better than the versions down the street aren’t all that useful. Sure, you can post an occasional announcement or promote a product. However, by and large, blogs aren’t intended as hubs for blatant advertising. Want to post about the 22nd Annual Half-Price Oyster Week at your restaurant? Do so in an interesting way. Perhaps you can share the story of this tradition or discuss which wines pair best with fried and raw oysters.
A Will/Business Proposal/Other Official Document
A blog is a pretty informal thing, so have fun when you’re writing! Use contractions and colloquialisms where appropriate. Joke with the reader. Just remember that the voice behind your blog is the voice of your company. With this always in mind, keep it professional and consistent with your company’s image.
Remember that above all else, good blogs are those people find interesting and valuable. If they like what you’re saying, they’ll come back for more; and there’s a pretty good chance that if something you write is especially useful or fresh, it will get passed around. This, as we all know, can translate into more exposure for your business and (ideally!) more money in your pocket.