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“What the Blog?”

Yvonne DiVita,
Windsor Media Enterprises LLC
divita@windsormediaenterprises.com
February 2005

Blogs…some folks describe them as ‘thin Web sites.’ Other people continue to call them ‘journals.’ Still others say blogs are just a passing fad, a trend in technology that will gradually disappear. What’s the reality? And who’s to say whether blogs are the next big thing, or just folks chatting online?

The reality is that blogs are ‘thin’ Web sites. They don’t have dozens of pages, nor do they give extensive details about their purpose. They’re messages posted in reverse chronological format, to a niche audience. And while they embody many of the same elements Web sites embody: content in the form of text, graphic images, an About page, links to related resources, and much more, they don’t exist to be an online brochure. A blog is a conversation (one friend calls it a ‘bloggersation’) with clients and customers, in your personal voice.

Blogs as Leading Edge

Those of us who use our blogs as a business tool, to inform and educate our readers, know that blogging is merely an effective way to help form networks, communities of like-minded people, groups that support a collective cause. It’s THE next thing in technology, but is it the next BIG thing, or the latest and greatest? That is a matter of opinion. My opinion is that it is leading us to the next big thing.

For you e-mail marketers – blogging isn’t putting you out of business. If you’re clever, you’ll learn to use a blog to supplement your e-mail marketing efforts. Engage readers on your blog to read your newsletter, and sell advertising on one or the other, or both. Always authorize ads that are relevant to your audience, and you’ll find that your readership will grow because people trust your judgment – and trust builds referrals.

Writing in a Personal Voice

Let’s address the issue of blogging as online journaling. Many folks still say most blogs are just folks chatting away, sort of like an online café, sipping coffee and munching cake while talking about what their sister did on her last date.

The truth is: blogging isn’t “just journaling.” In the sense that blogs are the personal voice of each author’s writing, and that for the most part, they are offered in reverse chronological order (last post to first post), you may look upon them as journaling. However, Technorati, the online blog directory, says it’s following over 8 million blogs today. It updates its database every 7 minutes with news from bloggers all over the world.

These bloggers are not chatting about their sister, June, or their Dad’s prostrate surgery, or their dog’s fleas-although some may be. Most bloggers today are in it for the business value. Blogs give business owners a personal face to clients, customers, vendors, competitors, and prospects. Unlike Web sites, which offer pretty much static content, even when updated regularly, blogs offer insight into the person…into the heart of the company…into the thought process behind the products and services.

Personal … Trusting … Communicative

When used as a business tool, blogging is a powerful connector that builds trust. Check out these blogs for reference on how to work a business blog and also make money:
http://windsormedia.blogs.com/lipsticking
http://bloombergmarketing.blogs.com/bloomberg_marketing
http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog


Rewards

I hear too many people say blogging is a lot of work. They lament, who has time? The answer is: YOU have time. Yes, blogging requires consistent (think three or more times per week) updating. But you do have the time, and the content. It’s right in front of you on a daily basis. If you can’t quote newspaper articles relevant to your business, or find something in an industry publication (complete with a link to it online), look at other blog posts from other bloggers. Surely, out of the over 8 million blogs linked to at Technorati, you can find a dozen or so to write about.

Fresh Content

Of course, if you’re writing a newsletter… use content from that! It’s your work. Posting the same material in more than one place isn’t a bad thing. It’s a GREAT thing. Put a paragraph in your blog and link to your Web site for further reading. Offer holiday sales on your blog and direct the linked landing page to your Web site. Explain a new word, or quote from an uplifting, inspirational book. Really, copping out of a blog because you don’t “have time,” or, “don’t know what to write,” is just putting you further and further behind. And, lest you think you can’t conduct business by blogging, visit David Garfinkel’s blog and see how it’s done:
http://world-copywriting-institute.typepad.com/world_copywriting_blog

No Whining

Another excuse folks give for not blogging is that “no one will come to my blog and I’ll have wasted time and money.” (only $14.95 if you use Typepad. Less, if you use Google’s free tool, Blogger). No, no one will come to your blog if you don’t do two things: announce it to them, and link it to them. Find out who’s blogging in your area of expertise, make friends with them, exchange links, and watch how quickly you gain readers.

Blogging is about networking, not whining. The blogosphere is waiting for your voice. Join us and find out what we’re already saying about you. Good or bad, don’t you want to know?

 

 


Yvonne DiVita is the President of Windsor Media Enterprises LLC, an author services company offering print-on-demand publishing for the author in you. As part of their marketing efforts, WME also offers Business Blogging Boot Camp training on a monthly basis. The boot camp is a hands-on, one day seminar, designed to help small business owners take advantage of the power of blogging to build networks and communities. Find out more information on the boot camp at http://windsormedia.blogs.com/businessbloggingbootcamp

Email: divita@windsormediaenterprises.com
Company Profile: Windsor Media Enterprises LLC
Company URL: http://www.wmebooks.com

 

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