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Business Blogging Resources for the Little Business That Could

Business Blogging Resources for the Little Business That Could

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Published by Martin Vika

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Published by: Martin Vika on Jun 07, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 ==== ====Grow Your Online Presence Faster Using The World's Leading Blogging Platform:http://lnk.co/I1M3E ==== ====Measuring the state of business blogging can be tricky. Statistics are contradictory and changealmost by the day because of the exponentially rapid growth of the blog as a medium (not tomention its newness). A recent Pew Internet research poll the amount of businesses using blogs to be in theneighborhood of 7% (a research poll conducted by American Express last month suggested asimilar percentage). Meanwhile, another poll by Guidewire Group suggests 89% of companies areeither blogging now or plan to in the near future. Despite these wildly differing figures, the point ofagreement is that business blogging is growing. The pace seems to be the heart of the dispute. There are about 175,000 blogs being created each day (or about two per second), but don't letthat figure frighten you: the business share is a drop in the bucket. Experts put the number ofactive business blogs in the U.S. today at about 5,000, with half of them being less than a year oldand only 10% older than three years. Many new business blogs, like all blogs, are abandonedafter a few months, and only about 39% of total blogs are in English language (Japanese is top).What all of this says is that blogging is becoming a global norm but is still very much open tonewcomers. Trends vary by company size, with smaller companies tending to make more use of businessblogging, while larger companies maintain a healthy share. About 55% of all business blogs arestarted by companies with fewer than 100 employees while around 15% account for companieswith 1,000 or more employees. However, of the largest 500 companies in the United States, 40%utilize blogs in their comprehensive strategy. Outside the unruly statistics, what is actually successful in the world of business blogging itself is alittle clearer. Virtually all research and opinion on the subject points to a handful of critical factors,including: A writing style that is able to both connect on a personal level and be entertaining. This includesknowing your customer and establishing a significant relationship in the blog medium.The company's willingness to be engaged in an honest marketplace dialogue with its clientele (thesource of the infinitely precious credibility of any blog).The individual blog writer's time given to the blog itself, for relevant research, thought, respondingto posts from readers, and the overall construction of quality work and frequent updates. Of course, individual companies in their unique industries face their own quirks and demands. Forexample, depending on the situation or industry, your business may want to focus most carefully
on the tone and style of the writer. Companies with reputations they'd like to salve or improve (oilcompanies, for example) may find particular interest in the transparency aspect of blogging. Whilein a fast-paced industry (such as technology or media), a company blog might need to weigh itstime devoted to updating material for the blog more carefully. Many businesses begin bloggingwith clear goals in the onset, or even test a blog internally before developing an external blog.Some businesses also run more than one blog. General Motors, for example, runs anentertainment blog (Fastlane) and information blog (FYI) combo that has been very successful. The General Motors blogs is a great example of successful business blogging in its maturity. Bothare easy to navigate and subscribe to, are succinctly written, and utilize costumer-generatedmaterial, including photos and video. There are also many links (not only to GM but other autosites and even other blogs), so the reader gets a real sense genuine dialogue and openness. Alook at the high volume of comments and responses in the Fastlane blog shows that successfulblogs are both social and relevant. In the world of blogs, there is still disagreement on who should be writing the business blog. In thecase of Fastlane, it's Vice Chairman Bob Lutz. For some companies, however, the pitfalls mightoutweigh the privileges of having an executive doing the blogging. The voice of the boss does notalways come out well in a blog. Also, an executive might be unlikely to continue blogging for longdue to a simple lack of time. This is the situation for about half of all blogs that are created: afterthree months, the entries stop and the blog is essentially dead. For this reason, typically the mostsuccessful business blogs are run by the employees rather than the CEOs. Therefore, it mightmake more sense for your business if the employees conduct blogging because they generallyhave the energy and detailed insight (and voice) to make a more readable blog because to thepeers of the readers, and thus legitimate. Legitimacy has proven to be of central importance to any success in business or market blogging.A few years back, Dr. Pepper attempted to overstep this in the marketing of their now infamousnew product, Raging Cow (a flavored milk drink). The company hired teenagers to try the drinkand blog about it after being coached. Dr. Pepper's efforts were received with viciousness andeven boycotts for trying to infiltrate the "integrity" of the blogosphere with marketing throughcoached customers and "hip-ness." The whole thing went sour and Raging Cow went unreleased.Moreover, many of us are looking at the fate of "Pay-Per-Post" and its legitimacy in the nearfuture. Another drink company, Jones Soda, offers a much different and more successful model of bloglegitimacy and customer outreach. A visit to the blog gives more the impression of a teen hangoutthan a business. The blog, in fact, acts as a hub for numerous customer blogs. There is all of theusual business-related material present: an online store, a product locator, and message boards(with posts reaching into the thousands). But the people at Jones very obviously know theircustomers well and have developed a highly successful blog counterpart to their business byloosening the reigns and putting the clientle completely in charge. Terrifying as this might be tosome executives, it seems to have worked brilliantly for Jones. In summary, business blogging can be best looked upon in its infancy even though the sheerstatistics of blogs appearing everyday appear to be high. Businesses that whish to enter theblogospere should do so cautiously unless they have a strategy that meets several of therequirements above. However when executed carefully, a business blog can be a great source of

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