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Blogs a business tool as conversation, not as ad

Excellent article by Tim Barker in this morning’s Contra Cost Times on blogs being a business tool as conversation, not as an ad.

Blog proponents have a favorite word: conversation.

It’s the way they sum up their arguments for why businesses should take a serious look at blogging. The blog, they say, is a way for you or your company to talk to customers, fans, supporters and, yes, even critics.

‘Companies are starting to realize there are conversations taking place online that they can be a part of,’ said Josh Hallett, a Winter Haven, Fla.-based blog consultant, whose customers include the Orlando Sentinel. ‘Those conversations are going on right now, whether you like it or not.’

Plus there’s a big difference between a firm’s website and blog.

That’s because a blog really isn’t the right place to plaster your advertising and official company lines. Instead, think of it as a way to talk to customers about things they’d be interested in hearing more about.

‘Don’t oversell. That’s what your Web site is for,’ said Catherine Kaputa, author of ‘U R a Brand!: How Smart People Brand Themselves for Business Success.’ ‘You’ll get the business anyway, because they’ve got a relationship with you.’

The trick is finding something you can offer readers that will offer natural tie-ins to your own line of work.

Finding a ‘tie-in to your line of work’ is a no brainer for lawyers and professional service firms. Professionals make a living based on their intellectual capital. Share some of that intellectual capital by offering insight and commentary in your niche area and you’ll have a steady readership.

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