You've heard of them. Perhaps you read them. You might even be one of the 50-plus million people that have created one. But it's not likely that you've drawn a clear connection between blogs (short for WeB-LOGs) and your rental business. In this article, I will shed some light on business blogging, the often misunderstood marketing tool, and provide some reasons why it might make sense for your rental business. (HINT: Blogging can be the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal … and it's free!)
Background on blogs
When all of the hoopla is stripped away, blogs are simply websites that make it easy for non-technical folks like you and me to show the world what we think in words and pictures. Disappointed? Don't be. The simplicity of blogs and the tools used to create them have spawned an entire industry focused on providing tools enabling the rest of us to make very professional looking blogs that complement our corporate websites.
Also, blogging is not just about writing, it's about reading. Although I won't focus on reading blogs in this article, using the power of RSS feeds (RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication) and feed readers, your company can search once and subscribe to feeds delivering real-time news and information on your industry and your competition. At least equally important, you can subscribe to what the industry and others are saying about your company, so you can answer.
But I already have a website!
If you ask 100 people on the street where they go first to look up a business, 80 percent will likely say, "I Google it." Have you spent some time searching for your own website using common key words? If you don't come up in the first page and your competitors do, don't feel lonely. Most corporate websites are put up with great intentions and many look great. However, they quickly become stale and stagnate.
Often, business owners are held hostage by the webmaster or design company that created the site. Want to put up a new event, press release, or product information section? Get out your wallet. As a result, most sites transition from "web" to "cob web" in less than six months. Stale websites do not impress search engines.
While there are techniques to make your website rise in rankings, typically called SEO or Search Engine Optimization, you can help your company ascend the ranks by posting quality content to your blog with regularity. Regular blog postings (three to five times per week) are consumed by search engines voraciously. As more people find and link to your quality posts, they become more "relevant" to the search engines and the site rises in the rankings. By linking your blog site to your corporate website, you can complete the circle and drive more people through the front door. Of course, simply posting random thoughts about the weather will not attract the masses.
Business blogging is really two-way communication between a business and its clients or potential clients. Blogs provide the platform for your company to become more findable and for the public at large to comment and link to what they're reading.
Before you jump in with both feet, it's important to establish the reasons why your business should blog in the first place. After all, you're probably not looking for more workload to fill the day. Let's not forget that your goal in creating this business blog is most likely increasing revenues and differentiating yourself from the competition.
The most common blogging software platforms today are Blogger(www.blogger.com), WordPress ( www.wordpress.com), and Typepad (www.typepad.com). Each has strengths and weaknesses but all allow the author to create a blog site and start posting with zero upfront expense. If your company outgrows the software or desires more technical tools, they're readily available. These products allow even the most technically challenged among us to put a blog up and post entries in minutes.