How many here have a blog? Read a blog? Wonder what the heck a blog is?
Tonight I’m going to provide some insight into the world of blogging. I’ll give you a little background on blogs, discuss the amazing benefits of blogging and provide you with some best practices to make your own blog a success.
Lets start with a little blog background.
The word blog comes from the phrase web log which was shortened to blog.
Around 1994 the first blogs began to appear in the form of personal online journals, with entries, or “posts” listed in reverse chronological order.
These blogs were based on innovative template software that automatically formats postings, so users don’t need to learn HTML. Suddenly anyone with web access could publish online content – and fast. You simply type in the text, upload graphics and publish to the Web!
Blog adoption rates are astonishing. There are more than 20 million bloggers worldwide, the number of blogs has been doubling every five months since 2003.
Blogs are no longer simply personal journals. Blogs can be private or public. They maybe text based, or be built around video, photos or audio content. Blogs can be written by a single author, or a collaborative effort. Some blogs have only three regular visitors, other have 10,000 daily readers. Many allow comment from reader and incorporate RSS feeds.
Companies of all sizes use blogs to communicate with their audience.
> Bob Lutz, General Motors Vice Chairman has a blog
> Stonyfield Farms organic yogurt company blogs
> IMB has more than 3,000 internal blogs,
> Microsoft has 1,500 active blogger, including the company’s official Channel 9 video blog.
The wide popularity of blogging is due to several benefits: these include the fact that blogs are highly flexible, search engine friendly, inexpensive, and enable two-way communications.
When you are thinking about setup up a blog you’ll find that you have almost unlimited flexibility. Blogs can be used for a wide variety of business and personal purposes.
Here are several ideas to get you thinking about your own blog!
> If you work in a corporate human resource department you might start one to communication internal policy, build culture, recognize outstanding employees, post job openings, announce training classes, or respond to media concerns.
> If you are an attorney, you could use a blogs to build credibility and educate readers on your area of specialty.
> Much like writing a book, consultants of all types use blogs to promote themselves, highlight customer success, and establish expertise.
> Executive blogs are used to foster open communication with stakeholders.
> Toastmaster club leaders could use a blog to effectively promote meetings, publish speeches, highlight members, provide public speaking tips.
> Perhaps you are planning a family reunion – a blog makes it easy to keep everyone updated.
> New parents can setup a baby blog to keep family and friends updated and serve as a living baby book – postings could include pictures, babies progress, comments from Mom and Dad, and of course, comments from friends and relatives.
> Finally, a chiropractor could setup a blog to remove some of the fear, uncertainty and doubt around their medical role, include information on how to keep your back healthy, exercises to strengthen your back, holistic articles and FAQs.
Search Engine Friendly
A second benefit, and this is a biggie, is that blogs are loved by search engines. Pages tend to rank well in organic search results attracting readers which for businesses can turn into new clients. First page rankings are increasingly difficult to achieve.
A third benefit of blogging is that it is inexpensive compared to other marketing tactics such as print advertising, public relations, and direct mail. Setting up a blog requires a minimal investment, mostly time – and the ROI is long-lasting. There is no expiration on online content.
One final major benefit of blogs is the ability to foster two-way conversations – with readers around the globe. Active conversations allow you to engage with, and learn from, your readers – building much more powerful relationships. The blogosphere is one big conversation.
Blogging Best Practices
Now that I have your attention on the powerful benefits of blogging – I’m going to let you in on the five best practices that will make your own blog a success:
> Be passionate about your subject and show your authority
> Be personal, open and honest
> Post frequently – several times a week
> Be responsive to comments
> Be generous – link to other blogs
With these blogging basics - background, benefits and best practices for success – you may want to learn more!
I have a page of blog resources, examples, and more that can be found on the Savvy delicious page: www.delicious.savvy_resources.com.
You can also learn more about blogs in this book -- Naked Conversations.
Here’s to your blogging success!