Blogging carries with it a history of introspection, with bloggers writing about what is going on in their lives and organizations. If your reason for blogging is to attract and engage customers, then your posts need the additional filter of relevance to customers. How does a business blog differ from a personal blog?

Blogging about what you are working on any given day won’t necessarily attract more potential customers to your site. But tuning in to the value that customers see in your organization, and using the blog to provide thought, background and ideas related to that perceived value may interest current customers and even attract new ones.

Think of a business blog as a cousin to the personal blog, rather than as a twin. Like a personal blog, a business blog serves as a valuable outlet for personal expression. It helps connect bloggers to customers, providing a direct channel for communication helping to form strong relationships at all levels. But first customers have to care about you are writing about.

So How Do You Know What Customers Care About?

Every business has customers. And the more you can involve your bloggers with customers, the more they can hear directly what is on customers’ minds, and then they can write about it.

Now, I am not recommending that you share a client’s specific concerns. But you can certainly listen for the issues that clients want to address in meetings, and turn those around into blogging topics.

For example, my team and I were in a client meeting last week. The agenda focused on three topic areas: 1) the client’s sales pipeline activities and building a supportive sales culture; 2) processes for evaluating new opportunities and applying resources; 3) marketing messages and web site copy supporting sales for a couple of product lines. These topic areas translate quite nicely into blog post ideas that, by our customers’ attention and participation in the meeting, we can say would be relevant to them.

More specifically, here are a few business blog-post ideas that derive from the agenda and discussion with one of our customers:

  1. The Power of Narrative: Why case Studies Work for Technology Marketing
  2. How We Test Your Value Proposition and Marketing Message
  3. How We Write Effective Web Copy For Technology Companies
  4. Writing Case Studies from Prior Employment
  5. How Technology Companies Can Generate Leads With On-Line Articles
  6. Giving Your Web Site a Job to do: Using Your Web Site as a Lead-Generation Engine
  7. Using Google Groups to Coordinate Marketing Projects
  8. Who in your Company Should sign off on Marketing Content
  9. Make your trade show investment pay off: Set up meetings before you go
  10. Getting Ready For Trade Shows: Typical Time Lines
  11. When Engineering Companies Grow And Build Sales Cultures

business blogListen Before Creating a Business Blog

Customers at the meeting leaned in, or sat up and focused on all these points over the course of a half-day working meeting. Listening during meetings with customers can generate specific, relevant topics that simply reflecting on our own thoughts cannot. Companies that want their blogging to be relevant and attractive for new customers should listen to what current customers are saying, and then follow through by writing about it on their blogs.

This also implies that your employees should blog about the aspects of their jobs that require interaction with customers. And when that is not possible, customer-facing employees should identify and share topic areas based on what they are hearing from customers.

Protect Your Content

When you create useful articles or blog posts, especially when the author is a leader in his or her field, the chances your posts will be lifted are fairly high. So what do you do about it?

First of all, you need to figure out your company’s policy on republication. Do you want to restrict it altogether? Or is republishing OK if your company or author is credited and linked to?

CreativeCommons

At the top of the website, click on “License Your Work.” The site will take you through a set of options. You can choose to allow other uses or not and which restrictions to place on it (i.e., credit the author). The site provides an icon and explanation of the license for you to place on your blog, online article, or any other work, be it a written piece, photo, or graphic.

Blog Examples

Below is a list of blogs about lean and six sigma that you can find on the web: