What Can Your Blog Do For You?

In recent posts we shared information on how best to start a business blog – including tips to help define it’s purpose and audience, and the importance of planning your blog.

This post will focus on the RESULTS your hope to achieve through your blog. Now that you’ve determined your blog’s purpose [see post #7], what result or results, do you hope to see? For example, if your blog’s purpose is to inform about upcoming events, the result you see might be an increase in attendance. But if the blog’s purpose is to promote a service or product, how will you know if it is effective?

By defining WHAT you’re looking for, you will also better understand how to measure it.

For example, while you might not consider a blog to be a typical direct sales tool, you can get a sense of the traffic and conversions that result from your blog simply by tracking the number of visitors to your web site or blog. There are analytic tools such as Google Analytics that provide this service, that are easy to install and use and they are free!

Do you have a newsletter or catalog that you send to your customers, via email or snail-mail? Include a sign up feature on your blog and track the results. Adding a Contact form to your blog, and making a point of asking new contacts how they learned about your business can also give you data about your blog.

So remember: plan, plan, plan before your write, write write!

Now leave a comment on this post to let us know how we’re doing. This will help us to track our results and practice what we preach!

What’s Your Purpose? ..the purpose of your BLOG!

A successful blog needs to have a PURPOSE. Why, you ask? Think about the blogs you follow. Chances are, you are benefitting in some way, correct? Perhaps you like a particular blog because it increases your general knowledge base. Or perhaps it provides entertainment. Or even specific information about a product or service, or upcoming events.

Ask yourself, “What purpose do I want my blog to serve?”

It is crucial to clearly identify WHY you want to start a business blog.

• Will it serve as a focal point for a network of contacts for your company?

• Will it help to position you as an expert in your field?

• Is it to promote a particular service or product – and perhaps in the process, create a group of evangelists for your product or service?

• Perhaps the focus will be internal communications, either for the company as a whole, or for a specific business unit?

While these are ALL great reasons to start a blog, it is important to identify and focus on ONE objective in order to maximize your blog’s potential. Keep in mind though, that you may need to adjust your blog’s focus down the road to adapt to evolving business and audience needs.

Come back next week to find out how to define your target audience. Can’t wait? Assistance from the Graphic Matter Team is always just a phone call away!

How Do I Start A Blog?

You’ve made the decision to begin a blog for your business. How do you get started? Not to worry. The Graphic Matter team is ready to provide guidance as you embark on your blogging endeavor.

Before diving right in and writing your first post – or any subsequent post, for that matter – you need to answer these 3 questions:

1. What purpose will your blog serve?

Identify the role your blog will have in your business. How will your audience benefit when they visit your blog. For example, will they receive information about upcoming events or new products? Will this serve as an information exchange with other participants?

2. Who is your blog’s audience?

To whom are you writing – your client base? Your potential client base? Both?

3. What results are you looking for?

Set some goals for what you want to achieve through your blog and how do you intend to measure your results. How will you know if you successfully met your goal?

With a little planning, you will ensure your business blog maintains its focus in terms of content and audience, and provides your readers with what they are looking for – and you will reap the rewards.

Look for more in-depth answers to these questions in upcoming posts. And, as always, assistance from the Graphic Matter team is just a phone call away.

To Blog or Not To Blog?

Now that you know how to follow a blog, you might be considering a blog for your business. Blog marketing continues to be a hot topic for both businesses and marketers alike.  Is a blog right for your business? Consider first defining the purpose of your blog – then set some goals for how you want to use this tool before you begin thinking about what to write. These are the top 5 reasons why your business should have a blog:

1. Blogs offer the author a user-friendly tool for publishing information.

2. Blogs are easy to navigate for your readers.

3. Readers can comment on your blog, encouraging 2-way communications between you, your clients and your prospects.

4. Search engines LOVE blogs.

5. Blogs can be an active prospecting source for your business.

If you are ready to begin blogging, or have questions about how to get started, ask Graphic Matter! We are here to help! Come back and visit us next week to find out how to start a blog.

How I Love to Follow A Blog, Let Me Count the Ways! Part 2 – Configure Your Email Application to Accept RSS Feeds

In our last blog post we discussed two quick and easy ways you can follow a blog. While either of them will work just fine, they do put you in the position of seeking out updates yourself. Wouldn’t you prefer to have the information come right to you? In this post we will show you how to configure your email application to receive blog posts directly into a folder in your email. How great is that?

Configuring your email application to accept RSS feeds will allow you to effortlessly keep up with your favorite blogs. Each time an update is published to a blog you follow, it will also be automatically sent to the RSS feed folder in your email application. You will know immediately when the blog is updated and it will be there for you to read when you are ready. Although each email application is slightly different, the basic concept and process is the same: Open your email application and look for an RSS link [or email inbox] like this one pictured below.

email_rss_feed

Click on it and follow the instructions provided by your email application. It’s so simple, and will save you time each day, and allow you to effortlessly keep up with the blog posts as they happen—without going to multiple sites.

Did you find this tip helpful? Share your feedback in the comments section of our blog – we’d love to hear from you!

Next week is part 3 of our series, How I Love to Follow A Blog, Let Me Count the Ways: How to set-up a Feed Reader Page in your internet browser. See you next post!

How I Love to Follow A Blog, Let Me Count the Ways! Part 1

Now that you are reading our blog, or any other blog for that matter, you are going to want to know when there is a new post to read on that blog. So how do you know when there is a new post on your favorite blog? In our previous post, 4 Fabulous Ways to Follow Our 2¢, we identified 4 different ways to follow our blog. In this post we are going to explain how to set an internet browser bookmark and how to subscribe to and RSS feed.

1) Internet Browser Bookmarks:

Simply bookmark your favorite blog or blogs in your browser (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer etc) by using the Bookmark Tab in the menu bar. This will add the blog address in your bookmarks panel and make it easy for you to get back to that blog. You can pick one day a week to check out each blog to see what’s new and what’s been posted. This is an easy, low tech way to mark the blogs you like, however, it is somewhat cumbersome and it puts the burden on you to remember to go back and check those sites regularly for any new posts.

2) Subscribe to an RSS feed:

Before we tell you how to subscribe to an RSS feed, let’s make sure we define what an RSS feed is. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. But what does that mean? I spent some time poking around the Web for the most complete, yet simple, description of RSS to share with you. Seth Godin describes RSS as this: “ RSS is just a little peep, a signal, a ping that comes from a favorite blogger site, telling your computer that it has been updated.”

Most blogs have a little orange button that say RSS and look like this:

RSS_feed

Subscribing to an RSS feed is simple and easy, you just click on the orange RSS icon on the blog you are interested in and add that RSS feed to your internet toolbar. This will put a notification in your browser tool bar that this blog has a new posting, and a link to read the post.

Next week read about how to configure your email application to accept RSS feeds in Part 2 of How I Love to Follow a Blog, Let Me Count the Ways!