A Word from MS Word on Blogs
As easy as it can be to get carried away with or demotivated by technology, your ability to add a blog post to any one of the most popular blog sites via a simple MS Word document is only an excuse to get your voice out there.
You'll need a server site to park your images (to which your blog links in order to display them), but beyond that one complexity what's to stop you?
Well, do we know what blogs are and what they can do for us?
Benefits of Blogs to Small Business
A blog is just an online diary, right? No. It's a knowledge sharing repository with an inbuilt Content Management System (CMS). OK, that's maybe stretching it a little, but the long and short of blogs is that they are only as good as they are DESIGNED.
As long as you don't get carried away with writing long novels, your blog can be designed to accomplish one or more of the following:
- Knowledge delivery
- Customer and product support
- News and announcements
- Product and services promotion
- Peer (customer) review and knowledge sharing in comments
That last item on that list is important. Social media is a broad term that often misses the point – it's not getting your voice out there, but getting your voice heard!
Blogs are often listed as one of the "must haves" of a small business foraging around the Internet's information dump. It is, "quintessential to SEO; it enables verbosity of content to cheat the search engines; it farms interest in your products and services and develops a raft of B-B, B-C growth…blah..etc."
- Your blog content can look too massive and too much bother to try and read.
- Your blog can look like a sales pitch and that's no way for me to spend my lunch break.
- Your blog is so concentrated on bloating keywords that it actually has no value.
- Shallow values are readily exposed.
Who reads every blog post anyway? Probably your close family and your competitors. That's it. As a customer I don't care that you have entered the Euro-Asian market. I want to know what you are or what you can do for me.
Blogs can offer a useful navigation architecture that enables your customer to search you content but as with any online strategy Content is King:
- Your content can be useful.
- Your content can be supportive and encouraging.
- Your content can lead to new markets through knowledge transfer and peer to peer learning pathways.
- Your blog content can surface in social media, others' blogs, or even in the top search engines. (Imagine a whole national school year of future customers citing your content?)
- Your blog content can save people time, energy, and money!
- Challenging values and beliefs (for example alienating politics, religion, social prejudices, etc.)
- Lack of usefulness.
Opportunities - The Best Blogs
The best blogs are undoubtedly those that surface from a search and give you a solution more efficiently than reaching for some text book on the shelf. They engage like photographs by adding alternate perspectives and engagement with our emotional intelligence.
The truth is that to write, manage, and maintain a successful blog and to secure a true return on your investments in time and infrastructure your blog needs to be as ACCESSIBLE, USEABLE, LEARNABLE, and ENGAGING as any of your Web or social online offerings. It also needs to be VALUABLE to your customer!