Ari Hest gets it – blogging, I mean. Unlike me, though, Hest doesn’t blog for a living; he’s a singer and songwriter (see www.arihest.com) who’s taken on the discipline of releasing a new tune every seven days. Apparently Ari understands one of the cardinal rules for successful business blogging, namely frequency. He explains why, in his former position with Columbia Records, he couldn’t have done this “52” project. “At Columbia”, he relates, “everything needs to filter through a lot of different hands. Now I just finish the song in my apartment and get it online. It’s a lot simpler, and I’m the boss.”
As a professional ghost blogger, I couldn’t have come up with a better description of the advantages of communicating with your clients and customers through business blogs. In Blogs – Between Crafted And Cranked Out, I explained that blogs, unlike brochures, client newsletters, online magazines, and websites, are short and concise, more casual and conversational than other marketing pieces. That’s what makes it so feasible to use blogs to achieve the frequency that’s needed to win online search engine rankings – there aren’t a whole lot of steps to the process. In fact, once my business owner clients and I have spent some upfront time working out the best tone and format for the blog posts, the process is – well, it’s a song to carry out!
Hest’s using audience online voting to select the songs that’ll make up his next studio album. With business blogs, online browsers can provide feedback, too. They post comments, ask questions, and request regular “feeds” to their own websites or email. The most important form of feedback for a business blog, of course, is when the potential customers vote with their dollars, clicking through from the blog to the business’ website and becoming buyers of the product or service.
In an interview with Indianapolis Star ,Ari Hest gave readers an insight into his new way of handling those songs that don’t end up in his album. When he worked for Columbia, he said, he’d keep those songs on his hard drive and never use them. “This year”, he said, “I didn’t really want to be in the position of holding things back.” Exactly the same logic applies to blogging. Because blogs are short and conversational, over a period of months, the business owners can express everything they want to tell their audiences about their special knowledge, insights, products, and services. There’s no need to hold anything back – it just doesn’t all go in the same piece! Instead, the blog posts provide a steady stream of “sound bites” – little bits of different, interesting, and informative content for searchers to read, little clues that they’ve come to the right place to find what they need.