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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Ethics Of Blogging
8/14/2008 at 11:44 AM ET
My company just started a blog, and I found some issues to write about that I think are important to the industry. However, when I visited my competitor's websites to find more ideas I noticed some of their blogs aren't really what I think a blog would be. They are more like FAQ's pasted onto a blog. This got me thinking are there really any ethics or guidelines to blogging?
I always thought can approach it from the SEO point or you can also approach it from the customer point.
Am I too square for approaching it from the customer side?
Peter (henna gaijin)
8/14/2008 at 11:48 AM
Blog can write about something important to the company, or it could be random ramblings on anything at all. Whatever the company or person writing the blog wants to write can be posted.
Of course, not all types of Blogs are effective at helping a business meet whatever goal it is after.
8/14/2008 at 11:51 AM
Your blog should contain whatever you think will differentiate it from other blogs while attracting and keeping reader interest and serving a corporate purpose at the same time.
I don't think there are any ethics or guidelines for blogs any more than there are for Web sites or direct mail.
Think about what you're trying to achieve, for whom, then how to deliver that experience.
Just the fact that you're questioning yourself makes it sounds like you're on the right path.
8/14/2008 at 11:56 AM
Blogging is no longer defined by a narrow niche, it can be a content publishing system, information exchange, content management system and so much more. So, depending on the individual company's goal for a blog, the content, schedule and guidelines will vary. Personally, I appreciate the blog as a platform to share information and build community. Your competitors may simply use the blog in a different way but do not allow that to deter you from engaging your audience in a way that fits your purpose and personality.
Words For Hire
8/14/2008 at 12:03 PM
Good SEO is about aligning your site with the interests of prospective visitors so I do not see blogging and SEO as being mutually exclusive.
The main marketing benefit of blogging is the connection with the social media (reach) as well as the constant creation of fresh content (search engine spiders & multiple entry points).
Therefore, blogging for visitors is win-win. You shouldn't (can't?) separate the two if you are creating valuable content.
8/14/2008 at 12:05 PM
I have to agree with @inbox, this really isn't a question of ethics. A blog can be very helpful to your website and business or it can be a complete waste of everyone's time. It's all what you make of it.
It's also something that you should have a personal passion for. If you aren't excited about talking about your business and issues important to your customers then you'll probably have a hard time keeping the good content coming.
So which angle should you approach it from? Customer or SEO. The answer is simpler than you may think. The answer is both.
If you talk about issues that your customers care about, issues that are core to your business, then you will attract people and keep their traffic. By doing that people will link to your site and build up your rep. You will also be creating a blog that is rich in topics (and SEO keywords) that are key to your business. That will naturally boost your search engine rankings - that's pretty much how search engines are supposed to work, SEO just helps.
Don't worry too much about your competitors, if they are just shilling their company then no one will read their blog, they will all be looking at yours.
8/14/2008 at 12:07 PM
Knowing what you want to accomplish by posting a blog is a good first step. However, feedback from your users/customers/readers should help guide your future content.
Perhaps your competitor does not have a great way to deliver answers to FAQ's and so the users started asking questions through blog comments. Direction from the user can help to discover the content about which they want to read.
8/14/2008 at 12:15 PM
Thanks for the tweet about this.
The purpose for your blog is totally up for you and your goals and intent.
I don't think this is an ethics issue but is an application one. Posts that only paste in static content may not provide updated, dynamic information to consumers. I personally want to keep fresh content to develop the perception of being up to date and an expert in my business, real estate.
The SEO side of it is irrelevant. Go with what you think is best. If it's consumer based and content they want, they'll find you!
8/14/2008 at 12:17 PM
Take it from someone that maintains four blogs (!!!), you have to enjoy maintaining it. If not, that lack of passion will come through. Some additional points of advice...
-Have a vision. What do you want readers to gain? What do you want to gain? It seems when it comes to business blogs, most people say, "More business!" No kidding, but positioning yourself as a thought leader first with business interests second is probably the best route.
-Contribute often. Once a week? Probably not checking it out. Several times a day of inconsequential info? Overkill. I update my blogs three-four times a week with info that I think is pertinent and that I want people to read. If you wouldn't read your own blog, why would anyone else?
-Pick the right engine. I've worked on Blogger, WordPress and BlogEngine.net and highly prefer WordPress.
-Additional contributors?: Sometimes, it's great to get others involved and help diversify the content. Guest bloggers, other employees, etc.
Hope that helps...good luck!
-Josh The Email Marketing Guy
8/14/2008 at 12:24 PM
"The SEO side of it is irrelevant."
You're blogging to gain exposure right?
I contend that if you're blogging you're already working at SEO. It may or may not be as enlightened as other SEO efforts but if your blog is on a commercial site, the intent is to create interest in your business.
Also, your blog does not need be be one thing or another. There are no rules. If there were, you'd could create considerable buzz by breaking them all. ;-) You can combine several different strategies into your blog. For example, if your competitor is receiving a large number of comments on their Q&A posts then you may want to consider adding some of this content into the mix.
8/14/2008 at 12:31 PM
Honestly...I haven't found anyone who get comments on there blog pages..but honestly who wants to be noticed commenting on a DNA testing blog?
However...I do understand what you are saying, that maybe shaking things up and coming from many different angles may get more attention...
8/14/2008 at 12:54 PM
There are no real best practices definitions of blogging or SEO. So you should conform to the standards of your company and your industry, unless you have a revolutionary idea. As far as SEO, try to follow the guidelines the Search Engines put out.
A recent post by Chris Brogan gives some good advice about blogging.
Joseph Franklyn McElroy
[Self-promotional content deleted by staff. Please use the Profile page instead.]
8/14/2008 at 2:35 PM
A Blog is nothing more than a place to write about whatever is important to the author. If the author is a (company), the author is most likely employed to express what the company feels is important.
Like any blog, only those who find the content relevant to their own needs and likes will read it - maybe even comment. As for SEO, the posts will show up for those who seek the information offered. blogging, like the Internet, in my opinion is Darwinian - meaning that content is shaped by it's ability to adapt to the consumer environment. If no body finds value in the content - it dies.
8/15/2008 at 11:47 AM
Thanks for the answers guy! I really appreciate it!
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