Whether you are aware of it or not, your customers, potential clients, business associates, competitors and employees are already engaged in business blogging. They are conversing in real time about your products or services, news and developments in your niche. They are discussing about your new product release. Sad to say, if they have not spread it already, they are definitely gossiping about the customer service blunder you hoped you could keep hush-hush. Word travels fast in the blogosphere. Blogging gets you noticed and referenced, favorable or not, in your industry’s conversations. Business blogging has its benefits but, alas, it also has its share of pitfalls.
A business blog can help build your company’s reputation and credibility in your niche business area. It is a cost-effective way to communicate with targeted audience. It provides business feedbacks through comments. A well-executed blog can boost search engine rankings thus raising chances of potential customers visiting your site and ultimately generating sales.
More importantly, you should be aware of the pitfalls or perils that accompany business blogging. If you have finally figured out how blogging can work for your targeted market, then, seriously consider the technical pitfalls of creating a blog that might befall you especially if you are a newbie in the field of blogging.
Before embarking on blogging, you must have read and read some more blogs to familiarize yourself with the blogosphere especially your specific niche. Reading other blogs can spur ideas for blogging topics. Not doing any research will leave you writing in futility. You don’t know what questions your target audience wants answered and what they would like to read. More so, you might not even have a clear-cut goal. What is the purpose of your blog? What problem does it want to solve or gap to fill? You have not determined what is it you are trying to get done. You definitely will not have good topics to write about because topics should be in consonance with your business objectives. Writing without a purpose will get you nowhere. It will just turn readers away.
Not knowing how to use your blogging software properly will, in most cases, produce a non-professional-looking blog. A blogging tool goes to great pains to ensure that your blog will look good, the text look beautiful and the html code it generates follow web standards. It will be to your business advantage if you understand how the vast and sophisticated features work to increase your blog’s chance of being found on the Internet. Keep in mind that first impressions count with readers.
Not optimizing keywords, categories, subscriptions will make it difficult for readers to find your blog. The primary purpose of a blog to be successful is readership. Search engines are a great source of readers. If you are writing a blog post that you want to be read, bear in mind that readers will use keywords to find your blog entry. Keywords are vital to high search engine ranking. Top ranking equals traffic and traffic is readership. Categorizing your blog will also make it more user-friendly and make the content more search engine ranking friendly. Subscribing to an RSS feed allows readers to receive automatic updates whenever you publish fresh content. Not making frequent posts makes readers lose interest in your blog as there is nothing new to peruse. You have to make it a priority to post consistently. The more you post the more reasons the readers will come to read some more.
Finally, you have sorted out how to avert the technical perils of business blogging. Brace yourself; there are even deeper pitfalls with much more severe repercussions to consider. For one, businesses that allow misrepresentations – faulty or misleading information to appear on their blogs can create a public disaster. Some business companies keen to develop one-to-one links with customers, set up character blogs. A character blog is typically conceptualized by marketing people to promote a product or service using fictitious character. This kind of blog is quite risky as some ardent bloggers regard them as an insult to the blogging community. A classic example is the Vichy case. As part of its marketing launch for its new anti-aging cream, Vichy’s advertising team created a blog featuring a bogus author named Claire who incessantly whined about the travails of aging using the same wordings as the Vichy print ad. It elicited a flurry of negative reactions from around the blogosphere condemning Vichy for passing off a phony on their turf. Blogs are about real conversations with real people.
Turning a deaf ear to what the blogosphere is saying can be fatal to a company. Kryptonite, a lock maker company did not respond quickly to a blog comment and cost them millions of dollars. Engadget, a highly trafficked blog published a video file showing how a Bic ball pen can easily open a Kryptonite lock. Kryptonite took its time before issuing a statement that did not assuage the thousands who bought the lock in good faith. Bloggers lambasted Kryptonite and caused heavy traffic to the Engadget blog site. Finally, Kryptonite succumbed and replaced the locks at a staggering cost of $10 million. Take heed; monitor what others are saying in the blogosphere. Your blog is part and parcel of a dynamic conversation. You should track your image in the blogging arena. Reputation risks can surface if your company pays no attention or misjudge the opinions in the blogosphere.
Business blogging can expose your company to legal problems that can cause serious damage to your business reputation. Irresponsible blogging can subject your company to libel, slander and even harassment lawsuits. Off-hand comments may offend customers. Disclosure of confidential corporate information and trade secrets will definitely place a company in jeopardy. Several instances of indiscreet blogging have caused employee terminations. Ellen Simonetti, A Delta Air Lines employee was fired for posting inappropriate images of herself in uniform on her blog. A system administrator at the Manitoba Health Sciences Centre was sacked after posting on his blog “Sitting around doing nothing for three hours while being paid – priceless.” Needless to say, companies should draw up corporate blogging policies that will state clearly acceptable and unacceptable blogging practices. Companies should educate its employees about the business and legal risks involved with blogging.
In a nutshell, do not blog for the sake of blogging. A clear business goal is a must. See to it that your blog reflects your company’s desired image. Carefully weigh the implications of anything you post. Be wary of potential consequences and be reminded that with blogging, anything that appears on the Internet is instantly available to a global massive audience.