How to Create a Combined White Paper: Problem/Solution + Numbered List
Defining the Three Main Types of White Papers
Prepare a Plan for Your White Paper

Writing a Good Business Blog

Early blogs focused on technology and the ubiquitous "this-is-my-life" commentary; an intermediate wave of blogs focused on news and politics; more recently, the hottest blogs are business blogs. Why do businesses want to participate in a medium that is commonly perceived to be the stomping ground of narcissists, egomaniacs, and children?

Your company may already have a Web site. You may even have some great mechanisms in place for sharing company news or handling customer support. What makes what you're already doing different from a blog? Three words: writing, updating, and dialogue.

Writing

The biggest strength of blogs is in establishing dialogue with readers. For that dialogue to be successful, you need a blogger whose style, personality, and knowledge meet the needs of the audience.

Keeping the writing in your blog short, to the point, and useful. You don't need to finely craft every word; in fact, levity and a casual, friendly style can serve you well.

Blog writing is all about openness, honesty, and information. Blog writing isn't formal, so keep the tone conversational and personal. A blog is not the place for business jargon or marketing propaganda.

Posting new material often

Most blogs are organized reverse-chronologically for a reason — it's so you can't miss the latest post. The blogging format lives and dies on current information.

Current doesn't mean every couple of weeks. Current means posting often, even multiple times daily if you can swing it. Many bloggers post several times a day; most post at least a few times a week.

Posting religiously has its benefits as well:

  • Your readers return more often, because they know they're likely to find new information.
  • Your blog is more likely to show up more frequently in search engine results lists as well. Quantity is definitely your friend in this medium.

Don't let your quality slip in your quest to post regularly. You may drive readers away.

Gathering feedback through dialogue

Every company can benefit from knowing what its customers want, what they like about its products and services, and what they don't like. Getting that feedback can be a nightmare, though. Focus groups are costly and time consuming, and can be conducted only in areas where you can physically locate a group of appropriate people. Surveys are also time intensive, nothing to blink at cost-wise, and are hard to get people to return to.

Blogs can help you gather feedback from your customers more cheaply and faster than almost any other technique. By tracking the feedback you get on your own blog and reading what is said about you on other blogs, you always have a current picture of just how your company is doing in the public's perception.

A blog can also gather responses over time and provide a way to see changes in attitude and perception. If you are doing things right with your blog, your customers will jump at the chance to tell you what they and what they hate about your company, products, and services. These people know what they are talking about; they may even know individual products better than you do.

So why not use your blog to tap into this rich vein of knowledge? Your organization can benefit at almost every level from knowing whether it's giving customers what they want. A blog is a nonthreatening, nonintrusive, and interactive way to get that information from your customers. Even better, they'll appreciate the opportunity to give it to you!

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