Guest post by Pratik Dholakiya
So blogging is a rage, and it has been like that for a while. It also doesn’t seem to lose momentum, which is incredible. The only disappointment is that not all businesses have a blog although it’s been proven that blogging actually opens up more opportunities for businesses, generates leads, establishes an ongoing relationship with potential customers, and helps close sales even without trying.
Businesses find it difficult to blog because it’s not just about blogging; it’s a whole lot more. Here are at least 6 unavoidable – and just as time consuming as actual blogging – tasks that go with business blogging:
1) A Blogging Schedule That Redefines Commitment
What’s one thing that you just can’t avoid when it comes to blogging? It’s developing content and it’s not as important as how to make your own website or if your website is mobile ready or not.
It was, and always will be about content on the Internet. Hire professional writers, invest in a team of freelancers to dole out content for you, or develop content all by yourself — no matter how you approach this task, it’s as inevitable as death and taxes. If your companies need a profitable presence on the web, developing good content and publishing it regularly is the first step.
To publish this content regularly actually redefines commitment. Ask popular bloggers or companies that earned reputation online and they’ll share stories of unquestioned and rigorous commitment to blogging everyday – often more than one post per day – for years on end.
No shortcuts here. It’s just the way it is.
This isn’t a secret, and it’s as old as the Internet. Yet, it’s often forgotten.
2) Odd tasks and Blog House Keeping
It’d have been nice to just keep blogging but that’s not enough. Often businesses also have to do hundreds of odd jobs and complete tasks that don’t exactly fall into the purview of publishing. On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, link building, community building, social media sharing, and responding to comments are all types of tasks that will go with corporate blogging.
As for housekeeping, you’d have to weed out links that point to your blog from questionable web directories, articles, and web 2.0 properties. You’d have to manage spam comments, manage trolls, field conversations, and keep the conversations going.
Put all this time spent on tasks like these, and you’d be looking at spending at least an hour or two everyday if you are productive and fanatically ruthless with your time management.
3) Becoming a Multi-tasking Master
Develop content, publish this content, and share your posts on social media. Comment on other blogs, answer questions on Q & A sites, contribute on online forums, and then respond to a few incoming emails about requests to guest post on your blog or request to guest post for other bloggers. As if this wasn’t enough, every input on social media will eventually trigger a cascade of responses, which you’ll need to respond to.
Blogging is just the start. You’ll pay attention to design elements on your blog, Make sure that the widgets work fine. Manage your content from within your CSM. Make sure that links within your blog work. You’ll also continuously look for more content ideas to publish.
As you can see, business blogging is a full-time endeavor.
Go unresponsive on your blog and you’ll see traffic falling like a brick. There’s a direct proportion of inflowing traffic and website engagement with your degree of responsiveness. Every comment on your blog has to be dealt with: you have to approve, disapprove, or trash it. If you approve a comment, you’ll have to respond to it.
The story is similar on social media. An average business will have presence on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. This is in addition to any other business related presence on Quora, comments left on other blogs, and online forums. Every message, comment, shares, and like demands a response.
Why do think social media and commenting takes up so much time?
5) Philanthropic approach to business
What’s so difficult about content marketing? It’s the philanthropic approach to business marketing. Traditionally, all you had to do was to throw money out to create collateral. Today, that’s not enough. You need to give before you can ask for anything in return. This, by itself, is philanthropic and as you can probably guess, not everyone gets used to giving away anything (including information) just like that.
The new age of marketing demands that businesses give out free trials, loads of tips and information, and paranoid support along with plenty of advice in addition to creating products and delivering them as expected to customers.
This certainly wasn’t the way business was done earlier, although the core principles of doing business remain the same such as trust, delivery, branding, and exceeding expectations.
6) Back to ancient trade: Credibility and trust
Flashback to ancient trade scene: Traders and merchants develop relationships (which do factor trust and credibility which helps cement these relationships), sell their ware, and make money. Period.
For a short period of time, during the industrial revolution and thanks to mass production, businesses just sold more and more products without much thought to trust, credibility, repeat businesses, and about what customers actually think.
That period is past us. It’s the information revolution now and your business blog plays a vital role to fuel this revolution. The information revolution just buried the mass trade practices that industrial revolution spawned. Today, companies still produce in bulk. Products are distributed far and wide. Only, consumption isn’t happening the way it used to.
Social media, reviews, company blogs and other information available online now influence the buying decision.
In short, consumer behavior went back to ancient trade practices. No one buys a product today because it was produced; they buy only if they are ready and if the word out there positively favors your products or services.
As a business, your task is cut out for you. You now blog to keep communication open while you establish credibility. You engage on social media to keep conversations flowing while you invoke trust. On social media, you also keep in touch with customers until they ready to buy. Using eCommerce, you finally facilitate the buying stage. With customer support, you serve them for life.
That’s what business blogging entails. Online marketing is just a set of channels for new age marketing but business blogging is a culture that businesses should develop.
Do you have a business blog? How do you go about developing content? Are you responsive or do those messages drown in “to-do” task lists that are never completed?