Following a recent venture providing technical support – and the countless queries I received from the “less-technologically-advanced” Generation X crowd – I felt rather inspired to write about the blogging world and how our technology and marketing skills are evolving!
First we had the Yellow Pages, then came company websites … it wasn’t long after this that companies started planning entire online marketing campaigns, complete with SEO and keyword-rich copywriting – but it didn’t stop there. Email marketing was born thereafter, and was soon taken over by social media … and blogging.
The internet and social media have transformed the way we communicate with our friends, family, employees and even consumers. Since 2000 there has been an increase of internet users of about 480% and there are currently about 2, 267-233,742 internet users worldwide according to Internet World Stats data. With more and more people starting to accept and, at times, become avid followers of certain social media channels, it may be a good idea to start educating yourself and keeping up with the times – and your target audience!
It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”
~ Charles Darwin
What is a blog?
A blog (formed through the joining of the words ‘web’ and ‘log’) is like a personal diary or news feed which consists of short entries or posts that are published online and regularly updated. These posts are usually displayed in chronological order where the most recent post appears first.
Blogs are inexpensive, easy to set up, easy to use, and quick to update. With the informal tone and the short length of each post, readers will find them easy to read and make your company more approachable as the blog gives your company a new dimension by almost “humanising” it and giving it a voice.
From photography and business blogs, to blogs for mothers, families, food, traveling and finances – there is a large selection of different blogs to suit every industry, making it possible for absolutely anyone to start blogging!
What’s the point?
Do you find yourself asking what’s all the fuss about and why you should even bother looking at starting up a blog? There are two ways to answer this question:
If your blog is going to be used internally then it can help make your company “employees” become more of a company “community”. As Social Media Examiner states: “we, as humans, like to be part of a movement. We want to be part of a team.”
By blogging, you create a platform where you can easily connect and share information, expertise, thoughts and ideas with your employees – while at the same time learning from them through the discussions that are created. Employers and their employees can openly communicate and reach mutual understandings and meaning – what true communication is all about! As the head of your company, you will also be able to remain relevant in this new communication style that the world has adopted as well as meet any Gen Y employees on their own turf!
Keeping the customer informed
If your aim is to reach existing and potential customers, then a blog is the best method to use! A blog shares and promotes all your company’s knowledge, policies, beliefs, values and culture; and makes it accessible to everyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!
All that content is constantly on display, bringing potential customers directly to you. Potential customers will get to know you and your company and because they are able to comment and discuss topics raised in the posts, you are also able to learn from them and have them tell you exactly what they think and want.
Through your constant research and writing of articles, you are also able to keep up to date with the latest information about certain issues or questions that may come up regarding your industry or company. By always keeping up to date you are able to build your customers trust and earn their respect – which will ultimately lead to more sales. They want to deal with someone who knows what they are talking about!
I’ve always known that there is no better advertising than free advertising – and you get exactly that with your blogging community and discussions. Someone is bound to start talking positively about you and your product or service – and this will help promote your company in a more authentic manner, ensuring your online reputation remains favorable. Any “less favorable” attention can also be dealt with immediately and directly to the party concerned!
You have been warned
While it may sound like blogging is a wonderfully easy thing to have that will make you a multi-millionaire in a matter of hours, it is important to approach blogging cautiously and cleverly. Ensure that you know exactly what you want to achieve, how you are going to achieve it, who your audience is, and always plan your content. A blog is also constant communication with your readers, so always make sure that you constantly and consistently interact with them and answer any queries they may have.
Remember to be patient! Blogging is more like a marathon than a sprint – it will take time to build your following and blog community, so remember to persevere and above all have fun!
The online world is an enormous, unknown world filled with endless possibilities that are just waiting for you to conquer it.