Saturday, 23 October 2010

A blog is not just for Christmas

Blogging for business is a serious business.

Once you start, you quickly establish a pattern in the minds of your customers which you break at your peril. If you set out to produce say a monthly blog, or indeed a customer newsletter, then your customers will come to expect the next one next month. Think of your blog/newsletter as a magazine. If it doesn't appear - even if the customer doesn't normally read them - then they may make an assumption that you are in some way unreliable, can't meet your commitments, or worse still can't be bothered. The fact that your business is booming, and so it is hard to find the time to write it, will be lost on your loyal readers.

So if you are minded to produce a blog for your business, what do you need to consider?

Firstly, what is your message? I don't mean the topic, that will of course vary from one blog to the next. I mean, how do you want your readership to react? Is it to be purely informational - readers will go to the blog just to find out which products are in stock this week, or if there is a special offer? Or is it meant to be informative (there is a difference), where readers might come to see, for example, if there is any impact on your industry from the latest government pronouncements? In the latter case, the message is more subtle - you are demonstrating to your customers that you understand the business and the environment it operates in, and it will lure readers back because it is relevant and entertaining, thereby continuing to expose them to your marketing.

Secondly, the periodicity. Blogs have an advantage over newsletters in that they can be shorter and perhaps more frequent - and to a limited degree more variable in timing - but avoid setting a pattern you cannot sustain.

Thirdly, plan ahead. You should always have half a dozen ideas for topics in a list, so that you know what will be coming up. This enables you to develop recurrent themes and orchestrate the marketing message better. You can bet that the lead topic for a large circulation magazine is planned a lot more than 6 issues out. Doesn't mean you can't switch topics if unexpected things happen - the impact of the protests in France might be one example.

And fourthly, make sure the logistics of publishing are clearly established: how you load your blog; a tight link with your website home page; promotion of each issue through Twitter or whichever other social media you use.

Finally, all you need to do is to write! If you find this difficult, either because you are not a natural writer or you find it hard to make the time, then that's where Emmens.Biz can help. We will invest some time talking to you to understand your company, your brand and your brand values, so that we can establish the style that's appropriate. For subsequent issues, we should need only to spend maybe 15 minutes on the phone to talk over topics and angles, and then produce a draft for you to review. We can offer an introductory price which enables you to see how well we meet your needs before you make any longer term commitments.

And hopefully we can show that although blogging for business is serious, it can also be fun!