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“To Blog, or Not to Blog…”

Yes, that really is the question.

By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.

Tell me honestly — Did the word “blog” in this subject line make you cringe just a little? Do you think of “blog” as another annoying four-letter-word that reminds you of “yet another thing that everybody says I’m supposed to be doing (but dang it, how am I supposed to be doing it if I’m not even sure what it is?!?)

Give me a minute and a half here, and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about blogs, including what, why, where, how, who and when.

WHAT: “Blog” is short for “weblog,” which is really nothing more than an online diary. When you add an entry to your online diary, it’s called a “post,” such as “I’m going to post an entry to my blog.”

WHY (#1): “Believability.” Compare the words you might read or hear in a commercial advertisement to the words you might glimpse in the CEO’s personal diary. Most of us don’t believe advertisements anyway, so faceless “ad-speak” doesn’t stand a chance against an individual insider, stating their personal opinion about something.

WHY (#2): “Credibility. If you know what you’re talking about, then your blog will add credibility to you and your company. People will start to look to you as the expert.

WHY (#3): “To help you sell.” But be careful here – I don’t mean you should use your blog to try to sell things. I mean “use your blog to create interest, increase believability, and maintain your relationship with your faithful followers.” And that helps you sell more.

WHERE: You would think that your website would be a good place for your blog, and it’s not bad, but there’s a better place. If you put your blog on a different website address, and include one or more links from your blog over to your “real” website, you will actually improve the search engine rankings for your regular website. For example, I might call my blog www.BrettsBlog.com, or www.MYMAustinblog.com. (FYI – these are not real sites, so don’t bother clicking.)

Naturally, you should also make your blog readily accessible from your regular website, with a simple hyperlink over to your blog site, such as “Read Brett’s Blog…

HOW: Easier than you think. Just go to www.Blogger.com, or www.WordPress.com, and create a free account.

WHO: Anyone can blog, but that doesn’t mean everyone should. As a general rule, one blogger per company should be plenty. However, if your company does new pool design, pool maintenance, and you have a retail store, then I could certainly see an independent blog for each of those areas.

One more caveat — Your blogger should be interesting too. If you’re an expert in your field, and worth listening to, then great. If you’re not an expert, then you’d better be a good writer, and/or at least somewhat entertaining.

WHEN: “Whenever you have something interesting to say.” Daily and weekly blogs are prevalent in some fields (like politics), but in the aquatics industry, I think once or twice a month is plenty.

Okay — does that sounds simple enough? It costs nothing other than a little bit of your time, and it will increase your credibility and help you close more sales. (Yes, I believe that fits nicely with what I’m trying to help all my clients achieve.)

Want a few more quick tips on blogs and blogging? Check out this excellent article just recently published with ten “slightly more advanced” insights: “10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Blogging.

And just in case you’re wondering whether I practice what I preach- Yes, I blog too. I’m a regular contributor to the Pool Genius Network and MyAPSP.org. And wouldn’t you know it…these newsletters make for a perfect blog posting….

Till next time,
Brett


2009 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin Inc. May not be used without permission.

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