The Power of Blogging

I meet with customers who regularly ask me “why should I blog, why would anyone care?” In a media with literally millions of blogs, most of which having no substantive value or contributing to the improvement of an industry, it’s easy to see why many have this attitude.

However, pick the right target, make it interesting, have a strategy, and you can build an excellent base of readers, which will include regular customers and prospects.  Here’s an example.  In late 2007 just as the recession was gaining momentum, I noticed that all we heard on mainstream media was the negative, and the superlatives they would use for dramatic effect, I believed, could have a very negative impact on consumer confidence.  So I turned off mainstream and looked to reliable sources via the web for my news.  What I found was on any given day, around our country, there still were positive things going on in our economy.  There were industries flourishing, companies hiring, new products being introduced, and companies expanding.  Armed with a few good resources (Reuters, Yahoo & the NY Times primarily) I purchased the domain, set up a blog like this one here at WordPress, and re-broadcast my blog at the above address.

Niche the topic!  I looked for positive stories from our economy and simply pasted links to them with a short editorial (usually no more than a few sentences) that highlighted the topic.  This is called news “scraping” and is completely legal as long as you provide a link to the publisher’s page and don’t copy/paste the article on your site.  In fact, they enjoy the benefit of increased traffic to their site when someone clicks over to read the entire story.

I built categories for different segments of the news and made sure I tagged each entry appropriately, using “positive economic news” copy and tags as often as I could.  Within a few months when searching for positive economic news using any major search engine my site was slowly but steadily creeping up the page rankings, and since about January ’09 if you search for “positive economic news” OR several other combinations of these terms, my little blog has a #1 worldwide ranking for these terms.  Yes, my blog beats out NYT, Money, WSJ, Economist and all the others because I focused on one thing, and built a great library of entries related to…positive economic news.

I could go on for days about the personal benefits I’ve had since the blog reached this ranking but a few of the highlights included being interviewed by Smart Money magazine and, my blog, through the readers raised enough money to send 13 under privileged kids on their 8th grade field trip to Washington DC, that otherwise would not have been able to go, and the local press made a great story of it!

I have also had several customers and prospects link to the site so they can help spread the positive news to their customers and prospects.  Like I said, the benefits go on, but these are certainly a few of the highlights of my efforts.  In addition, I’ve heard from hundreds of folks thanking me for my efforts, some saying that because of my blog they were able to remain calm, knowing that in the end we’d be ok and their retirement accounts would come back…low and behold, our markets have returned…Not that I’m a financial genius or the like, but history has showed us, even through the depression, that we come back.

Blog communities like WordPress, Blogger and others are powerful communities that are highly indexed by search engines like Google and Yahoo.  The reason is simple, it’s usually more up-to-date and current that most traditional websites.  And that is a major component of search engine algorithms.

So as you can see, blogs can gain a lot of attention and hold a lot of power for you, your brand and your company.  Remember a few of these tips:

  1. Keep the content focused – You can have multiple people making entries, but be sure they’re all focusing on the same topic. For most of my customers I recommend a blog about safety (forklift and/or workplace), service “how to’s” and “don’t do’s”, Industry specialists targeting a narrow facet of materials handling…
  2. Scrape valuable content.  Look for related stories, summarize, and provide links to the content on your blog.
  3. Be sure the topic you’re targeting gets used in your entries.  If you’re talking forklift safety in Kentucky, be sure you’re using those words regularly, but don’t overdo it.
  4. Tag – Use tags so the content can be easily identified by web robots scouring the blogosphere.
  5. Use RSS to allow people to subscribe to your page. When you update, they’re automatically notified.
  6. Get a twitter account and tweet out your latest post.

It takes time, but as you can see, if you narrow your target and be patient, you too can have a blog garnering a lot of attention.  And attention is the first stage to awareness, which is the first step to conversion to sales.

Good selling!

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