Having said that, it is far greater to your advantage to participate in the online world via blogs, opinion pieces and personal writings than it is to hide beneath the cyberspace world of writings. The primary reason to participate is that as you do, your name and your company's name become part of the viral effect in the internet. The more viral you are, the more exposure you get to different types of people looking for different things in ways which may be different than you think of your mainstream client. In effect, your viral presence broadens and opens up your exposure to more and more potential clients.
For example, in the growth of my own company I found that although we started with one website, one URL, one company name, in a matter of a couple of years we had grown virally to a Google listing of 30+ site links via our CEO's name and 20+ site links via our company's name and business entries. What does this mean for a company new to the web? It means that with each new site link listed up on Google or Yahoo, your company increases its exposure to a broader market. It also means you have a more formidable internet presence and that you look perhaps larger than you are currently. To those who have been on the internet a while, it also looks like your company pays attention to the variety of needs of its clients and the diversity of backgrounds from which they come.
There are basically four types of bloggers: 1) Those who write about anything and everything that enters their minds; 2) Those who focus on a segment of society or a subject matter; 3) Those who are professional opinion makers; and 4) Those whose focus is on an industry or service sector. It is safe to say that unless your business is that of social commentary or opinion making, you will likely fall into the fourth category. This is one significant way your company and its reputation will grow virally over time. As your blog becomes older and more frequent, your expertise and professionalism will shine through and you will become known more and more as the industry expert.
Now don't panic; you do not have to become a professional writer to achieve a presence on the internet. You do have to write your pieces. But, it is easy enough to pay a good copyeditor to polish off your blog pieces before posting them. Writer's congregations are great places to locate an editor to help you with your blog so that you don't waste the bulk of your time on the polishing of the piece. I would not suggest that you turn your blog over to a writer unless that writer can show substantial professional experience in your industry. The reason is that you want your blog to show YOUR expertise, not the writer's ability to research and write.
When you create your blog, you will want to insert links along with the link names in the margin. This is your prime opportunity to advertise your company, your company site and any of your current promotional items. To see how this looks and how it is done, you can look at any blog and you will see something called RSS feeds or subscription options and usually the blog poster's links are directly below it.
One of the largest and most popular blog centers to create your blog on is BlogSpot also known as Blogger. Creating your blog is very much like a mini version of creating your own website though much easier. Using BlogSpot or a similar system, most everything in the system is pre-formatted for you and laid out in templates that you simply choose and implement. The only thing you have to worry about once you have your templates set up is that your content is perfectly written and posted correctly.
In an earlier lesson I mentioned the importance of putting your content in a .TXT file or Notepad file and copy and pasting from that file rather than from a Word file; the same principles and reasons apply for the blogsites. If you copy and paste it from a Word document, you will spend an enormous amount of time correcting all of the spacing, fonts and indents; and you will wish you had never started the process. Save yourself time and stress and follow my advice or pay someone to post it for you assuming you know that the person is dedicated to excellence and a professional presentation and can post it for you without a lot of trouble.
One final word about blogs: don't get stressed about your writing or posting frequency. Professional writers will write blogs everyday. Professionals who hire writers will publish blogs everyday. But some bloggers who write on very specific subjects write on a very random basis. For example, one of my blogs is targeted toward young women and the value of chastity. Aside from the fact that it's not a subject that young women go searching for while they are looking for the next pair of stilettos, it is a subject that is difficult to write on and one in which I rely upon social inspiration from people I meet along my life's path. So, the blog can sometimes sit for months without a new entry, but the important thing is that the blog itself is packed with valuable information for anyone looking to learn more on the subject.
The old-timers say opinions are like pie-holes: everyone has one. But in the world of the internet, the opinion you give from your pie-hole or, more accurately, your keyboard seriously helps you to establish yourself and your company as the experts in your field or industry. Opinion pieces are very similar in nature to blogs, but they are found more commonly in chatrooms or in social networks where someone has posted an article or topic for discussion and others who belong to the group can post a responding "thread."
Remember, the search engines such as Google will pick up every opinion piece you write in a network, a thread or chatroom IF your name or company name is attached to the opinion piece. This is part of what build your name recognition virally over time in the internet. This fact of the search engines lends itself to your internet marketing goals.
A really neat feature of the social networks which lends itself so well to your marketing interests is that there is ample space on each person's homepage to feature something unique about you or your company and to change what you feature as often as you like. Most of these networks also have spaces for individuals to post community blogs or opinion pieces. Of course, there is also ample opportunity to post up links to your company's page or your other blogs and similar sites of interest.
One warning about opinion pieces that you post up in social networks: you have no control over the piece once you post it. Most sites with subject threads do not allow you to go back and remove the thread because others respond to what you write and removing threads can seriously damage the integrity of the site. What does this mean to you? Don't post anything that will embarrass you in five or ten or twenty years because there is always the chance that it can and will be drawn up by others down the road.
Personal Writings of Your CEO or Marketing Director
Your company's CEO or your marketing director is an excellent choice to have post their personal writings. You may choose to post thesis or dissertations or other types of research material in which they offered up their professional opinion on a matter of importance to your client base. Aside from the social networks and forums for posting such pieces, you can also choose to include such writings in the content of your company's website.
Of course, posting anyone's personal writings should be limited to professional subject matter in order to most benefit your company's internet marketing objectives and to build the company's reputation. In this sense, personal writings are much like blogs and opinion pieces: be careful and be appropriate.
Remember, the title of CEO or marketing director is one which carries authority as well as the weight of expertise. When people read the personal writings of your CEO or marketing director, they will read in essence, "this is the voice of the company." Be ever mindful of this fact. This is particularly true if you have your marketing director regularly write and post to your site. Such a strategy is both smart and risky. If the marketing director ever gets out of step with the CEO or company, it can hurt for quite a while.