USA Today’s Steve Strauss is a recent convert to the value of blogging and in today’s “Ask the Expert” he explains how blogs can help small businesses.
Glancing over his list of benefits, I can’t help but notice that they all point to why a blog is such a great tool for building your online reputation.
- Blogs build a sense of community: By sharing your expertise in a blog, you connect with a lot more people. And as they respond to your posts, a community is created.
- They allow you to plug products and services: But importantly, you are not doing so in an abrasive way. Using the conversational style that is the hallmark of a good blog allows you to share business products in a friendly way.
- They boost your search engine optimization (SEO): By their very nature, blogs incorporate the hallmarks of good SEO: Keywords and links. And, as people respond to your blog, more keywords show up.
- Blogs help make you an authority: I can tell you that being published, even if it’s only your own blog, gives you gravitas.
- Blogs give you valuable feedback: By seeing what customers say about your posts, your blog offers valuable feedback.
I might argue a little over the first point. From my experience, few bloggers have successfully created “a sense of community” with their blogs. Even though a blog does offer the chance for you to interact with your readers, a community is very hard to build around a blog. In fact, most of the blogs you see that do have a community following tend to also have a forum or some other type of social network channel. Instead, I’d say that blogs are a great way to build a sense of conversation–in that you do get to open a dialog with your readers.
If you want more ideas of how to use blogs to build your reputation, check out chapter 9 of my new book Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online.