Barbara Weaver Smith of The Whale Hunters suggests business owners ask a lot of questions before putting time and effort into social media. "These tools require an investment of time, which translates into money – at least in opportunity cost.." It’s important to ask ciritical questions of yourself and your team, Weaver Smith concludes.
As I was reading through the list of questions businesses should pose about tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, I couldn’t help thinking that at least three of those questions might be asked before any company embarks upon blogging for business. (That’s true whether business owners intend to compose their own blogs, or whether they employ a professional ghost blogger like me to help them create the content for the blog.)
Are you ready?
Your website should be up to date, accessible, and refreshed, says Weaver Smith. One thing I often find myself pointing out to business owners is that the navigation page from the blog to the main website will be smoother and more direct if new "landing pages" are added to the website top match the different search term categories that attract searchers to the blog. (As a blogger, I become part of the company’s marketing team, which, hopefully, includes a web designer and SEO expert.)
How much of your marketing time or budget should you invest?
Make your decision a deliberate, well-informed, strategic one, advises Weaver Smith. I couldn’t agree more. Research what your competitors are doing. Weigh all of the costs, both dollar costs for content writing, incremental SEO and branding work related to the blog, and the time and opportunity costs. You need to set in place quality controls, Weaver warns, because your presence online represents your brand.
How will you measure results?
80% of all web interactions begin with search, which is what makes blogging "a fantastic and legitimate marketing tool", according to Chris Baggott, co-founder of Compendium Blogware. But, without a system for gathering and analyzing information about the visitors to your blog, you’re operating in the dark. You’re going to be putting time and effort into your blog, but you need to know precisely what it’s bringing back to you. At the recent Blog Indiana conference, I learned how many resources are available for website analytics. Tracking the ROI of your business blog is a must!
What Barbara Weaver Smith says about social media is oh-so-true about business blogging. "Whether you participate, and how and when, are important strategic questions for your business." As a professional writer focused solely on business blogging, all I can say is, "Amen!"