Monday, October 02, 2006

Blogging as a Business Tool: Reading and Writing Effectively
Laura Watkins

Simply put, gaining relevant and cutting edge business information should be at the forefront of any good business plan. There are tried and true ways of accomplishing this: subscribing to business magazines geared towards your industry, attending trade-related conferences, or networking with colleagues; all serve their own purpose but essentially target the same result—to acquire valuable, industry-relevant information.
Whether you provide corporate information or intend to supply it, one avenue you may not have considered is blogging. “Blogging,” or writing a blog or weblog is an online journal of sorts, whereby the blogger self-publishes information that he or she deems relevant. Regardless of whether or not you are all that familiar with the blogosphere (a term created to reference the culture of all things blog), you should begin to ask yourself, “How does blogging impact me and my business?”
There are a number of ways in which a blog can benefit those interested in pursuing its offerings, particularly those in smaller businesses. According to Darrell Zahorsky of About.com, “Blogging is a low-cost alternative to having a web presence. For small business owners without the time to learn web html or the money to hire a designer/developer, blogging offers an inexpensive method to get your company's name out on the Internet.”
Even the blogging industry itself has become a business. Businessblogconsulting.com is dedicated to “demonstrating how effective weblogs can be for communicating with customers and marketing to new customer prospects.” Proof that blogging is becoming a significant business opportunity. Blogging also offers quick results to those with precious little time. “Updating the weblog [blog] is a much quicker process than contacting a web designer with changes or doing the coding and uploading yourself” (Zahorsky). It also allows for fresh material to be added at the poster’s convenience, so it seems more current and up-to-date than traditional business sites, which also gives visitors a reason to keep coming back to the site. Sheila Ann Manuel Coggins, writer for About.com, agrees:
“Brick and mortar stores put up new items in display windows regularly. Retail shops are always looking for new items to add to the list of products available. Services are often reviewed and updated. Even restaurants and cafes with a regular menu come up with a 'Special of the Day' for a bit of variation. All business owners know this: customers love seeing new things. If they know that they like the things they see in a business establishment, they would keep coming back. They like to check for what's new or what's different.”
Blog readers and writers alike may also be drawn to the unique look and feel of a blog. In fact, many blogs, (even those with business content) give the impression of that of a personal journal laden with exclusive ideas and suggestions, rather than the stiff, unwelcoming refuse that a fair deal of business sites employ.
Businesses should essentially view the blog as a tool in which they can affordably and quite easily project the image of their choosing, while those individuals seeking industry-related information can relish in the fact that the vast, cold world of the corporate Internet is made to seem a little smaller, and a fair bit friendlier, one business blog at a time.

About the Author:
Laura Watkins is a contributing business writer for
http://www.goliath.ecnext.com Goliath is one of the Internet’s largest collections of business research, news and information.
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