Jim Gibson - Publisher, Online Media Today
By Jim Gibson - Publisher, Online Media Today

Imagine for a moment you are able to connect with millions of people – your customers, partners, employees and even the media.  What if you were able to instantly tell your new audience something about your company, product or service they didn’t know?  Or, what if you could listen to what people think about your business or more importantly, your advertising?  Would that interest you?  I bet the answer is a resounding yes! 

Does this sound too good to be true?  Actually, it is true and it is a real possibility for those who have adopted blogs as a way to communicate with audiences around the world.

Increasingly, blogs are being used by business owners to reach new audiences and have quickly become the de facto way to interact with brand enthusiasts online.  To understand the impact blogging has had on business marketing you don’t have to look further than the statistics that illustrate the explosive growth of blogging in general.  According to former Technorati Chairman, Dave Silfry, as of mid 2006, approximately 175,000 new blogs are started each day (that’s 2 per second of each day!).  Blogs generate in the neighborhood of 100 million unique visitors each month with over 57 million US Americans reading blogs on a regular basis.  Of the 70 million (and counting) blogs worldwide, up to 30 million reside in the US.   

I realize these statistics may be a bit dated but the fact is the number of blogs are expanding and, more and more, people are relying on this form of communication to get the information they are looking for.  The question is not whether blogging is something your business should consider (it is!), rather it is more a question of how to quickly get into the blogging game.  Fortunately, there are an abundance of blog tools to help you get started and depending on your budget, you could literally be up and blogging in a matter of hours.
5 Burning Questions
By far not a comprehensive list, this weeks 5 Burning Questions starts with some of the basic elements of starting a blog and what you should consider.  This week we’ll focus on the number 1 question:

Question 1: Why Blog?  If statistics aren’t enough to convince you that blogging is here – and here to stay, then maybe these facts will help:

Dynamic Content: If you are like most website owners (ecommerce excluded), the likelihood of any of your website’s page content changing with any degree of frequency is highly unlikely.  Blogs, on the other hand, are likely to be updated regularly with new content.  A fundamental rule of proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) revolves around content and frequent updates provide not only great SEO value but, in the process, present the opportunity to generate tremendous backlinks to your site as your new content is shared across the web.   

Search Engine Friendly: Expanding on the notion of the inherent SEO value in creating dynamic content, blogs represent the best opportunity to develop search engine friendly subject matter.  In fact, blogs are truly built with search engines in mind.  As dogs like trucks, search engines love blogs and the value of using blogs as central to your content distribution strategy should not be underestimated.

Two-Way Communication: Like forums, newsgroups and social media platforms, blogging facilitates two-way communications in meaningful and dynamic ways.  Blogs enable companies to keep an ear to the street while offering an excellent venue for people to share experiences with both the company and others who may be interested in the brand.

Brand Awareness: Blogging represents one of the most cost effective ways to generate brand awareness for your products or services.  As long as your blog consistently provides value (devoid of constant sales pitches), readers will continue to see your brand as they consume your content.    

Thought Leader: Journalists and other experts in your niche are always looking for additional resources and getting thought leaders to read your blog is a great way to generate tremendous exposure for your brand.  The opportunity to share valuable information about your industry creates the opportunity to establish your credibility and helps to identify you as a thought leader in your space.   

User Generated Content: Directly tied to two-way communications, the comments readers make to your blog can have a profound impact on search engine placement.  As spiders comb the web indexing content, user comments can add to the value search engines place on your website.  User Generated Content can help to influence search engine placement as well as giving you direct feedback on your company, products and/or services.  

Stay tuned for the next installment of 5 Burning Questions: Love Your Blog: A Beginners Guide to Blogging Basics as we cover which blog platforms your business should consider when thinking of integrating a blog into your website.

About the Author:

Jim Gibson is a certified search engine marketing professional and serial entrepreneur.  In addition to Online Media Today, Jim is a principal at GibSEM Group (http://www.gibsem.com) and has founded several internet properties including online B2C directory, Service Omni, Inc. (
http://www.serviceomni.com) and QuakeDog, Inc. (www.quakedog.com), a network marketing company focused on the sale of personal survival gear.  You can reach Jim at: jgibson@gibsem.com or follow him @GibSEM.
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3/25/2010 02:49:29 am

Thanks for this helpful post. I especially agree with the Thought Leader point. Not only do you want your company and its products top of consumers' minds, but you want others in your industry to regard you as being at the forefront of that industry. Blogging is a great way to get on that path.

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3/25/2010 03:21:01 am

Hi Jennifer:

We appreciate your comments and so glad the article was helpful to you. Look for our next installment of 5 Burning Questions in the next few days - we'll be discussing the various blog platforms to consider. Love to hear what you think and get your comments on this as well. :)

Best

Jim
@OMTMagazine

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