In last week’s installment of Weekend Reading we discussed the engaging social media marketing and brand development A-to-Z guide Crush It! from Gary Vaynerchuk. From that we learned that blogging is just one of many ways to reach your customers, but the subject is so important itself that it deserves its own book; that’s exactly what we’ve got this week. From Eric Butow and Rebecca Bollwitt, this week’s selection is Blogging to Drive Business: Create and Maintain Valuable Customer Connections, an overview of the tips and techniques needed to excel at business blogging.
Earlier this week we provided our own 6 Approaches to Your Company Blog and mentioned that “corporate blogging” is moving up the “slope of enlightenment” to the “plateau of productivity” on the 2009 Gartner Hype Cycle. Basically what this means is if you have a business that isn’t blogging, you’re about to miss the boat, so you’d better hop on before it leaves dock.
The book is co-authored by Rebecca Bollwitt, a Vancouver-based blogger and podcaster at Miss604.com, and Eric Butow, CEO of a Web design and e-marketing firm and author of twelve books like User Interface Design for Mere Mortals and How to Succed in Business Using LinkedIn. This 162 page book is broken into nine easily digestible chapters; the longest chapter at 26 pages is appropriately devoted to “Creating a Blogging Stategy,” which includes descriptions of popular blogging platforms, the various media used in blogging, and integrating your blog with the top social networks. The book also includes an index, which is handy for finding specific topics and issues.
Besides covering the common subjects around corporate blogging, such as why its important and how to market it correctly, Butow and Bollwitt provide lesser heard tips, like how to use internal corporate blogging and how to decide who will actually be authoring the blog. Another intriguing issue the book chronicles is how to deal with blog commenters, especially the negative ones.
“Negative comments might not necessarily need to be deleted unless they are defamatory, libelous, or anything similarly malicious,” the book says. “However, if comments contain negative but productive feedback, you should respond in a courteous manner.”
It’s tempting to begin moderating negative comments and banning users, but this should really only be done in the most extreme of situations. It’s important that your readers (who are most likely also your customers) be able to trust your public voice on the blog. If non-malicious but negative comments are continuously deleted, readers will lose this trust. The best thing a business can do with negative comments is to respond to them promptly and politely.
The best bloggers are avid blog readers, so make sure whoever is writing your business’ blog is following what other businesses are writing about. This will also help someone new to blogging develop a writing style that is native to the Web and not full or jargon and business-speak. They can also take the next step and leave a comment on the other blogs, which not only helps spread the word about your brand, but increases your reputation as an active participant in the community – just be careful how you do it.
“Only leave a comment when you genuinely have an interest in the post and can contribute something productive,” the book says. “Simply leaving a link to your site and saying you also wrote about a certain topic can easily get your comment flagged as spam.”
All the important bases are covered in the remainder of the book, including how to create a blog with an appealing design, finding topics to write about, monitoring the Web for when people talk about your brand or blog, and how to optimize your blog for search engines and blog lists. The cover price is $21.99 but discounters like Amazon have the book listed at under $16 for the paperback, and $9.99 for the Kindle version. The paperback version also includes a free e-book accessible online for 45 days after purchase.
Disclosure: A review copy of the book Blogging to Drive Business: Create and Maintain Valuable Customer Connections was provided to ReadWriteWeb by Pearson Education, Inc.
Photo by Flickr user racheocity.