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Thoughts on Blogging for Business

posted Jan 25, 2012, 9:30 PM by Jen Brass Jenkins

Believe the Bloggers.
As you recall I had the opportunity to sit on the Q&A panel for the Social Commerce Exchange last week. The event was very successful (in my opinion) as there were between 300 and 400 people there, and it was packed with content. Afterward, I created two different pieces around this content: one was a post on the LIME Marketing blog, Blogging for Business, January 2012's Social Commerce Exchange, and the other was a curated list of tweets that were posted during the event that evening. 

This second piece I created through a tool called Storify, which I haven't tried before though it has been available for awhile. I find it really effective for this type of situation where just as much content was being generated in questions and answers via Twitter as was being presented by the speakers during the event. I also love the way the tool allows the user to collect tweets or other links (like so many other tools now) via a button you can install on your browser for later organization.

Excerpt from curated piece created via Storify

Since both of these pieces outline the events/content covered that evening, I don't want to rehash that here, but merely make note of some thoughts I had during the evening:

  • There are so many different kinds of blogs and so many different ways of blogging for business. What may be right for one business is an absolute no-no for others. Content and strategies that may work for one industry would look absurd if used for another. For example, for LIME Marketing I consistently write about marketing techniques and trends, case studies, new technology, and ways that small businesses can use these things. A business selling products, however, such as Zagg, which sells device accessories, will want a very different approach. Because our companies are about very different things, we have very different audiences, and very different strategies for reaching them. The blogs I write are a little longer and divided into subsections so that readers looking for specific information can scan the blog and find what they are looking for. Zagg's blog posts are shorter and tend to be about gadgets, product rumors, and apps—all things their audience might be interested in. I bring up these examples to illustrate the breadth of topic this last Social Commerce Exchange was attempting to cover, and because I think both these blogs (biased as I am) are pretty good at identifying their audience and posting useful content for that audience.
  • There is more than one style of brand ambassador. If one particular blogger insists that their way is they only way to reach an audience, they are wrong. It may work for their particular audience; it may work for their parent company; you don't have to accept that this is the only method that will work for you. Subject matter experts come in all tones and communication styles, and that is what a brand ambassador is: a subject matter expert about your brand. One presenter at the So Com Exchange gave his "secret sauce" for the perfect blog: don't talk about your product; however, for companies selling makeup, or, yes, even software, some audience members might wish to see demonstrations of that product. Part of the point of the business blog (in my opinion) is to represent the company in the digital world. This inherently involves some self-promotion or at least self-awareness that this content exists for a purpose. No content is actually free content—someone is paying for it.
  • If blog posts are subject to a consistent filtering process by a committee, this will defeat the purpose of a blog. If you are unable to post in a consistent, relaxed manner along a developed formula of editorial content that represents the company because of executive disagreement over what should be published on the business blog, the posts published there (if any) will communicate an inconsistent, mixed message. The business will need to rethink the purpose of the blog and the most effective way to implement it.
  • Blogging for profit is very different from blogging for business. If you expect to make money off of blogging, you must carefully consider the industry/genre you are blogging in, how you expect to generate traffic to your blog, and what the audience in your target industry/genre considers relevant. If you are blogging for business, you still consider what the audience wants, but the blog itself is part of a larger sales/monetization strategy, not a stand-alone money-making channel.
And there you have it. I think I have finally been able to completely juice almost every drop from the content generated in that one evening (at the So Com Exchange). Not bad, eh? It's certainly been a good exercise in how to repurpose content, because there is always more you can get out of it!