Can a blog build your brand?

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Everyone knows what a blog is. Well, almost. For those who came in late, a blog (short for "Web log") is a website that an individual uses to post content regularly, with content being displayed in chronological order, beginning with the newest. A recent Universal McCann survey puts the number of active blogs at 184 million and the readers of blogs at 346 million. A vindication to the fact that blogging can be a brand building activity, is the number of professional bloggers, which currently stands at 46% of all bloggers according to a Technorati survey. Statistics notwithstanding, if you question the efficacy of blog in brand building, just type in a few keywords about your industry on search engines and see how many blogs turn up.

So how does one go about building and managing content on a blog? Here are a few insights.

 

1. Create a blogging calendar: It may be easy to embark on that all important decision of "I am going to create a blog" in a moment of truth, but if you don't have an agenda, your strategy or the lack of it can deliver zero results. Decide which is a comfortable recurrence, say a month, and create a calendar for the next 12 recurrences, which could be a year of planning.

 

2. Decide on the subject of your blog: Remember, your little blog has to compete with gazillions of others for eyeballs and if it has to make any reader evince interest, and more optimistically make her visit again, your content has to be unique as possible. Lets consider a fictional example of SolarTop Heaters, a manufacturer of solar water heaters. In this case your blog could be called, "Nifty tricks to save energy" and address one feature of your product each month that helps save energy.

 

3. Do NOT market: Since users are subject to a blitzkrieg of marketing material each day, you don't want to add to their misery. Remember how you winced when the supposedly well-written article in your favorite newspaper turned out to be a marketing feature in disguise. Keep your blog brand agnostic and do not give in to the temptation of promoting your product. For example, the SolarTop blog could feature articles on the domain in general and avoid mentioning the product itself. It helps position the company as a domain leader.

 

4.  Give your blog a good address to reside: If you want your blog to be of any help in your website marketing, make sure it stays on your domain. For example, www.solartopheaters.com/blog. There is a plethora of plugins that you can use to host your blog on your website.

 

5.  Promote your blog: Once your blog is up and running, submit it to all the search engines. Most blogging plugins provide this feature by default. Use your social networks to promote your blog. Add a footer to your email with your blog address which could read - Nifty tricks to save energy at www.solartopheaters.com/blog

 

6.  Quality not quantity: Treat a blog as an email. You would not want to read long emails, so why would someone want to read long blogs. Keeping blogs sweet and short not only helps users assimilate your views better, but also helps you generate content consistently.

 

7.  Manage your content: Taking the solar water heaters example further, you may want to research your domain constantly and update your calendar accordingly. Writing content at least 2 weeks prior to posting it may be a good idea, since you will have that extra time to review and compare with other similar blogs.

 

8.  Update your keywords: Every time you write an article, you should by default be selecting a set of keywords for it. These can be added as tags to your blog. Further, you could use your company name as one of the keywords. For example, SolarTop Water Heaters.

 

9.  Treat blogging as part of your marketing: The time you spend on blogging should feature in your annual marketing plan. Unless your blogging activity becomes a discipline, it is not likely to sustain itself and you may lose users that you carefully built.

 

10.  And if all's well, your blog could make money: If your content is well accepted and you manage to get a fairly large number of users, you may want to set up advertising on your blog to generate additional revenue.

 

Good luck and happy brand-blogging.

 
 

The writer is Chief Thinker, ReZonant

 

Issue BG95 Feb09