Why start a blog?

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Over the past few weeks, I have been speaking to clients about the ins and outs of blogging. And the question I always try to answer first is, “Why start a blog?”.

For businesses, a blog is a place to begin building relationships with your audience. It’s a place where transparency, honesty, and relevancy all meet.

Blogs allow your business to:

  • provide relevant information regularly
  • receive feedback from readers and engage them in discussion
  • distribute content more widely through search engines, online communities, and so on

Blogs allow your readers to:

  • receive regular updates from you when they want, where they want
  • easily share your content
  • find you through search engines via keywords and tags

Content is key, of course, so create useful content and publish regularly and consistently. Consider using audio and video in your posts. Different people interact with content differently. A podcast or video post might be exactly what your audience is looking for, and it may deepen the relationship if you are the voice/face of your blog. The Flip video camera is a favorite of mine. It is simple to use and with an editing program like iMovie for the Mac, you can create short video segments (vlogs).

Polls, surveys, and contests are also a great way to engage your audience. And they can be fun too! PollDaddy is a great polling tool and WordPress has a plugin that allows you to create and manage your polls through the admin area. WordPress also has a survey plugin, SurveyGizmo, and SurveyMonkey is a great tool as well.

Promote discussion on your blog with commenting and be sure to follow up with your audience. Participate on other blogs as well…it’s a good opportunity for exposure and linkbacks to your site.

David Meerman Scott of Web Ink Now offers some insight on the top five corporate blogging mistakes and how to avoid them.

Any other ideas, tips, suggestions for starting and maintaining a good blog? Let us hear them.

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