A few years ago when Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites were quickly emerging and gaining popularity, many social media experts believed blogging would slowly fade away. Blogging, which is essentially an online discussion, is actually quite old. Forms of blogs date back to the mid-1970s when intranet services—in-house Internet—found in university and other settings used this online communication tool.
While blogging temporarily took a backseat to social media and other forms of publishing, it is still here and stronger than ever. Why? The answer is because it is one of the most effective ways companies or individuals can get their message out, plus more. As to PR/communications benefits, blogging has the unique ability to turn a company or an individual in to an “expert” on a variety of topics.
More details as well as some of the other benefits of blogging include:
- Branding. A blog is another way to differentiate you or your company from competitors. It allows you to freely describe why and how others might benefit from your company’s services.
- Positions you as the expert. As already referenced, maintaining a blog elevates your expert status in the industry.
- Target your audience. Blogging allows you to target your audience or end-customers, again impressing them with your expertise and the features and benefits of your products and services.
- Search engine ranking. According to recent reports, Google and other search engines are now putting a much higher value on “authorship” and content. Therefore, a blog can help lead new visitors to your company’s site due primarily to the blog.
However, there are a few things you need to know before starting a blog, such as:
- Frequency. While there is no set criteria, new blogs should be posted at least once a week.
- Topics. While the blog can be about a variety of topics, it should be focused on credible, valuable information that tactfully promotes you or your company (if that is your goal).
- Advertorial. The best way to kill interest in a blog is to turn it in to marketing material. Look at blogging as sharing sincere, informative news – not advertising.
- Length. A blog should be no longer than 500 words, preferably shorter.
- Where to post a blog. WordPress and Blogger (from Google) offer blogging sites and many are free. However, here is the caveat: blogs that are tied to a website invariably get more readers and more readership benefits your website overall.
- Invite comments. As with other forms of social media, encourage interaction. This generally draws even more followers to the blog.