Are you contributing to one of the estimated 36.1 million (and growing) blogs online? Or are you thinking of entering the fray and starting to publish a blog for your small or home business? Make sure you are publishing the right type of blog for your kind of business, or all that writing time will have been for naught.
The Blog Blood Test
Just as there are different types of blood, there are many different types of blogs, and each serves its own purpose. Giving your blog a blood test will help you determine which type of blog is best for your business and what may be wrong with the one you've got now.
Blog Blood Type 1: Customer Relations – Blogging is one of the best ways to put a face and personality on your business, especially if you operate entirely in cyberspace. Those that best employ their blog in strengthening relationships with their customers spend a lot of time interacting with customers, answering questions, providing useful tips, and keeping them informed of business events. These blogs focus less on the company's products and more on the company's culture and outlook. The goal of this type of blog is to engender customer loyalty and establish a consistent flow of interested website visitors.
Blog Blood Type 2: Sales – As you can imagine, most businesses that blog do so because of the perceived benefit to their bottom line. While very little quantitative research has been done with regards to the actual monetary impact of blogging on overall sales, the ubiquity of sales-oriented blogs indicates some kind of return-on-investment. Sales blogs focus on product developments and benefits to the customer. There is less online interaction with customers via the blog as the goal is to move readers off of the blog and onto the product pages. The goal of a sales blog is to encourage visitors to purchase a product, service, or information that the company is offering.
Blog Blood Type 3: Personal Web Journals – These blogs make up the bulk of the 36.1 million web logs online. The majority are personal accounts written without regard to size of readership or monetary value. Many have heralded free blogs as the Internet's greatest achievement, allowing virtually anyone with an internet connection to publish whatever whatever they want, and all in a matter of a few minutes. There are as many purposes for personal blogs as there are bloggers. Perhaps the most common theme is the chance to be heard.
I've taken the Blog Blood Test … Now What?
Which category did your blog best fit in? Did you find that you're writing one type of blog but desiring the benefits of another? If you have not already started your blog, which type do you believe would best match your writing abilities and desired outcome? Simply put, if you're not writing the best type of blog for the benefits you want, you'll never get them – and you'll waste a lot of time in the process.
If your current blog is doing exactly what you want it to, leave it alone. If you find that some changes are necessary, consider the following questions:
- Do I think I can drive actual sales from the blog?
- Would I rather spend my writing time interacting with customers (both positive and negative) or writing about my product? (Remember the blood test)
- Am I the best person to author my blog, or is there someone else who could do a better job?
- Do I want to stage the blog as a company-sponsored communication tool or would I rather it appear as a kind of third-party, objective review?
- How much time am I willing to spend writing?
- How free do I want to be with regards to frequency of posting and responding to customer comments?
Millions of others are already blogging, but do not let that stop you from starting. Give your business the blog blood test and see which type works best for you.