If you lead a business and aren’t part of the 34% of U.S. companies using a blog for marketing purposes, your business likely will within the next year.
According to Emarketer, the proportion of companies using dedicated blogs as a marketing channel—excluding blogs on social networks and microblogs such as Twitter—will rise to 39% in 2011 and to 43% by 2012.
Emarketer reports that businesses are launching their own blogs for communications, lead generation, customer service and branding primarily for these reasons:
- corporate control of the tool
- its integration with company web properties
- no limits on post lengths
- the ability to maintain a full, searchable repository of information
Successful blogs generally follow these tips and guidelines:
- Make your blog as non-promotional as possible.
- Keep it relevant to the reader.
- Answer your customers’ questions or address their pain points.
- Be sure it’s well-written.
- Make it relevant to your company or products.
- Offer proof or third-party validation to claims you make.
- Keep each blog posting under 500 words.
- End each post with a question that encourages dialogue with your readers.
- Post regularly. Shoot for at least three times each week.
- Talk in your normal voice.
- Use real language. Don’t talk over people’s heads.
And once you’ve launched your blog, follow these tips for promoting it:
- Promote your blog URL on your website.
- Include the blog URL in your email signature. Encourage your employees to do the same.
- Put your blog URL on your business cards, direct mail and print advertising.
- Post your blog on Facebook.
- Post your blog to your LinkedIn status.
- Put your blog URL on company invoices as well as other correspondence to customers.
- Talk about your blog when you speak at events.
Finally, remember that your blog is a promise to customers that you will communicate with them honestly and regularly. So, before you launch a blog be sure you have the time, staff and resources to post consistently and for the long-term.