Using your blog as a business communication tool
Your business blog gives you a chance to interact with your customers, which is priceless for building relationships that will last for years. It is a way to communicate directly with your customers on your own terms. Many people overlook that blogging is a form of social media and it's designed to get two-way communication going. When you commit to constantly updating your blog, it also offers them up-to-date information on your business and industry. Here's how you can work that two-way communication with your own business blog.
Create a community
Create a community on your blog where people can share ideas and ask questions. There are a number of options available, such as plugins that help you do this and one of the most popular is Disqus. It turns your blog into its own social media channel. Users sign up and all of their comments are integrated. When they leave a comment, it has a link to their blog. It also gives them a place to keep track of comments they’ve left at other Disqus blogs around the ‘net.
Get the feedback to help you grow
One of the best ways to use your blog is for obtaining customer feedback. Come right out and ask by ending your blog posts with a question. Ask them something like, 'What do you think about this?' or 'Have you ever experienced anything like this?' Another way to get feedback is by doing opinion polls. People love to give their opinions and you also get valuable information on how they think and feel.
Allowing comments? Always respond
Always respond to comments no matter what they say. One of the deadliest blog mistakes is ignoring someone who’s taken the time to leave a comment. Even if the comment is meaningless, thank them or give them a quick reply. Your readers will see this and it will brand you as someone friendly and helpful. Get a dialogue going and participate in it.
Frame yourself as an expert
One important use of your business blog is to establish your expertise. Take new developments in your industry and other things your readers wouldn't know and inform them. In addition to showing your readers that you know your industry, it also attracts new prospects that are looking for the information you offer.
Announce new products and services
Use your blog to advertise what's new with your business. Showcase your products and services. You can also use your blog to offer special deals and promotions exclusively to your readers. One word of warning though – don't use your blog only for promotion. Slip promotional messages in among your more informative and engaging posts.
Your brand message
Your business blog gives you the opportunity to broadcast your brand message around the world. Use it to tell people what you're all about. The great thing is that you're in total control of it. It's a great brand reputation management tool.
When you have a business blog, it's not enough to simply drive online traffic to it. You also have to get your offline customers there. In all of your communications with customers offline, tell them about and make sure they know you have a blog. Let them know the value they can find there. Tell them what they can expect to find there and offer an incentive to visit and participate.