In the second installment of our Business Blogging for Success series, we are looking at best practices for using an internal blog to promote your business and bring more traffic to your website. Because an internal blog is tied in with your website, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know the source of the information. Therefore, the mechanics of your blogging are more important than creating an identity, which is an essential element of running an external blog.
Here are 6 Tips for Using your Internal Blog Effectively
Make sure your Information is Accurate – Always remember that the information you publish online will stay with you forever. If you are going to write blog articles about your business, emerging trends in your industry, or your competition, you better make sure that the information is accurate. Not only can misleading information (whether intentional or not) damage your reputation online and erode your credibility within your industry, it can ultimately result in a libel lawsuit. Because of this, it is recommended that all blog content is approved by someone in your PR department, an executive, or the owner of the business. At the end of the day, your company’s reputation is on the line, so as a business owner, I would make sure that anything being published about my company is accurate.
Write to your Audience – This tip goes back to your high school English classes (Yes Mrs. Henry, I was listening). It’s very simple but very often overlooked. You need to write your content with your end reader in mind and write to the level of their understanding. If you are writing a blog about cooking techniques, your audience most likely cannot cook as well as you. You need to write at a level that explains even the mundane details so that your audience can understand what you are telling them to do. If you are writing technical articles about chemical engineering, you can safely assume that your readers have very advanced knowledge of the topic, and therefore will already understand the fundamental elements of the topic. There is no hard and fast rule to writing, just remember to think like your readers and understand their questions before you write.
Write Consistently – Want to know the biggest problem with a blog? Its owner gives up before having any success. All blogs start out with good intent and have regularly written content initially, then the writer finds that they are not getting regular readers or comments, and then loses his / her motivation, and the blog dies a sad, lonely death. The key to having an effective blog is persistence and consistency. You don’t have to write every day, and you can really write at your own pace, but you need to consistently write articles to keep your readers engaged and keep them coming back for more. Writing a series of articles and scheduling them for release on a timed interval will help you to keep the content flowing regularly, and make it much easier to keep your blog active when you are busy with other projects. I recommend that you write 20 articles before you launch your blog, and schedule them for publication twice a week. That gives you 10 weeks of regularly scheduled posts that will go live with or without your active attention.
Promote and Track your News with Syndicated RSS Feeds – RSS feeds are great for sending your information out to your regular site visitors, and it allows them to stay informed without having to return to your site for the latest news. When they receive an update on your blog content, and find the article interesting, chances are they will come to the site to read more and see what you have been up to. The second part of this step is tracking your readers. Using a syndicated RSS feed such as Feedburner will allow you to track your subscribers, and monitor whether or not your blog is gaining traction. One of our better-performing posts was Twitter Black Hat, and based on that success, I know that Twitter posts will do well in my niche if I choose to write more on that topic. In any marketing format, the things that get measured are the things that get done, so make sure you know what your blog is doing, and quantify your success so you can build on it.
Make it Easy for Your Readers to Spread the News – There are tons of plugins for almost all blog platforms that allow your readers to share the news with the blogosphere – Use them! If you can give your readers a one-click option for posting your content to Twitter, Facebook, Digg, or any of the other social sites, you will get more readers, spread your message to their sphere of influence, and find that your link count is growing at the same time. Internet marketing success is based on a culmination of efforts, and any help you can get will go a long way. Let others help you by removing the bottlenecks and you will grow your reader base much more quickly.
Address News Head-on, and in a Timely Fashion – Because you are competing online, sooner or later someone will call you out, and you will need to defend yourself. It’s important not to shy away from negative publicity, or it becomes true, period. If you are monitoring your name online with Google alerts, you can see what is being said about your company, and address it head-on, in a timely fashion. News spreads fast on the web, so you need to be even faster when addressing any publicity that comes your way. This is true for positive comments, for which you should be quick to thank the contributor for giving you kudos, and also for negative comments, which you should address and quickly rectify if they are true. Bad publicity can turn into a positive if you are willing to address the person and make an effort to rectify the situation. You may not be able to make them happy 100% of the time, nor should you, but your efforts to address the situation will not go unnoticed.