Visiting Columbus, Ohio to give a talk about blogging for business (what else?), I picked up an official visitors’ map for the city. Unfolded, the piece had a street map on one side, with information about the city on the other:
- Food and Drink
- Visitor Information
With some time to spare between events, I began to read through the descriptions in the "Attractions" and "Food and Drink" sections of the guide, realizing, as I proceeded, that the set-up had a website "feel" to it.
Many company websites have sections like that, listing categories of product lines or of services the company offers. The content is relatively static, with its purpose being to show what’s available for purchase. From the visitors’ map, for example, I learned that Schmidt’s Restaurant Und Sausage Haus features "award winning German/American favorites and a full-service bar".
Informative stuff, I thought, but not personal or focused enough to make me want to aim my GPS towards Schmidt’s. Upon further digging, I learned that the restaurant is run by the fifth generation of the Schmidt family. Now that’s the stuff a good blog would share. Blog posts might include interviews with the oldest and youngest living Schmidts, complete with photos, and let me know Hans Schmidt might just stop to chat, sharing with me and my dinner companions tales of early Columbus days when his German settler ancestors first arrived. I thought of dozens of ways blog posts could be making that restaurant come alive for searchers by making it more personal.
Further down in the visitors’ guide, I found a listing for Yosick’s Artisan Chocolates. Besides informing me I could find chocolates, pastries, and espresso at Yosick’s, the listing shared that the establishment is Certified Kosher by the Columbus Vaad Ho-ir. I wasn’t able to locate a blog for Yosick’s, but a blog might have clarified what goes into certifying kosher chocolate, and who the Vaad Ho’ir is. ( As it happens, I know those terms, but would’ve liked to know more about what makes chocolate "artisan"!)
A blog is the perfect tidbit dispenser. Blog "chats" with potential customers and clients, informal but very informative, make those customers and clients feel welcome. Remember, too, I was being exposed to Schmidt’s and Yosick’s through a visitors’ map. But, what if I’d been searching online for restaurants in Columbus? Whichever restaurateurs had posted relevant content on the web by bloggin, especially those who’d been blogging more frequently and more recently than their competitors, are precisely those I, as a searcher, would have been most likely to discover!
Another insight I had while glancing through the Columbus, Ohio vistors’ map was that it
had almost too much information to absorb all in one sitting. The big thing about a corporate blog, in my view, is that it’s made up of lots of little blog posts! In each post, you highlight just one idea, showcase just one of your products, or describe just one special service you provide. Rather than a resume-like list of all you have to offer, you engage blog readers with several delicious details centered around just one idea. You can get to all the other wonderful things you have to share in future blog posts!
The message your blog conveys, post by post, step by step, is subtle, but that message definitely makes its presence known.
After all, you and your team are not just "anybodies" – you’re artisans!