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January 9, 2013
GM Staff

Better blogging

In a New York Times business blog post (nyti.ms/SoP2Q8), small business expert Melinda Emerson wrote, “The ultimate benefit of blogging is the opportunity to communicate your expertise and establish your business as a resource.” Blogs — short for “web logs” — can also help drive traffic to your website, build relationships with others in the industry, and increase brand awareness. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, here are four tips for a successful blog.

1. Have a plan.
In the Entrepreneur article “10 Reasons Your Small Business Shouldn’t Start a Blog,” (bit.ly/XWlSy6), not having enough time and not knowing what to write about both made the list. You need to determine how often you plan to post content and who’s going to be writing. The author also recommends developing a calendar of at least four post ideas for each month so the well of topics never runs dry.

2. Create a conversation.
“Presenting instead of conversing,” was one mistake social media editor Lou Dubois wrote about in his Inc. article “7 Blogging Mistakes That Small Businesses Make” (bit.ly/Z0wY5u). Dubois says that a good blog should engage its readers, driving them to comment, and ultimately develop a conversation.

3. Avoid promotional posts.
In that same Inc. article, Dubois included “being too promotional” as another mistake businesses make with blogging. Instead of blogging about your own products and services, Dubois suggests providing useful and informational content, which will more likely have an impact on customers’ purchasing decisions.

4. Show your expertise.
An article published by Mashable (on.mash.to/TqpwLK) asked a panel of young entrepreneurs what their tips were for a successful blog. Stephanie Kaplan, co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of Her Campus, says that your blog should help position yourself as an industry expert. She recommends accomplishing this by writing about what’s going on in the industry, in addition to your own company. You can also do this by following author and She Takes On the World Founder Natalie MacNeil’s advice of solving readers’ problems. Think about the problems your audience or customers are facing, and write posts that will benefit them.