ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

Catriona Pollard
Catriona Pollard Catriona Pollard is the founder and director of CP Communications one of Sydney’s most respected and innovative PR and social media agencies. Catriona is passionate about social media, public relations, business and bringing them all together to create real, financial success for entrepreneurs and organisations. Catriona is renowned for being an inspiring presenter that shares practical skills and expertise so attendees can immediately implement what they've learnt to see real results. As an early adopter of social media in the Australian PR industry, Catriona created the popular blog Public Relations Sydney that was listed as the top two business blog in Australia. Catriona is also listed as one of the top 100 PR people worldwide to follow on Twitter. Catriona is a highly regarded expert and media commentator and her views on social media and PR have been extensively published in media. Catriona is the author of From Unknown To Expert: How to use clever PR and Social Media to become a recognised expert, a comprehensive step-by-step program for entrepreneurs and business owners to learn how to become a recognised expert and thought leader. Catriona Pollard Communications Pty Ltd Suite 404, 10-12 Clarke Street, Crows Nest NSW 2065 P: (02) 9460 9200

Catriona Pollard has written 59 article(s) for us.

Visit http://www.cpcommunications.com.au

Twitter: @@catrionapollard and @CPCPR

Linked In: http://bit.ly/CPCGoogle

Facebook: /CPCommunications

Google+: www.linkedin.com/in/catrionapollard



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Blogging- The Essential Marketing Tool

February 15, 2010 | Catriona Pollard

You are reading a business style blog right now –  but have you thought about creating one for your business? Blogs create marketing opportunities that allow businesses to interact with customers like never before. As the blog has evolved – and because it is an interactive medium where readers can comment on the articles, or ‘posts’  – businesses have embraced the blogs ability to build rapport with customers and humanise the business.

No matter the size of the blog or the size of the business which ‘owns’ the blog, they naturally attract search engine traffic and have optimised site architecture. They have the added advantage to be well-linked to other blogs and websites.

Creating a blog is free and it’s easy to post your information. However, it can take up time as blogs should be updated once or twice a week, which can be time consuming.

The benefits of blogging
I have incorporated blogging into my marketing mix to gain profile in my industry and to increase my Sydney based PR agency –  CP Communications –  marketing reach.

By cross-linking the website and blog I can maximise marketing opportunities by creating a wider audience than the website alone. Hits on the blog are on average 60 per cent more than hits on my website.

Also readers will on-market blogposts which is free marketing for us. Sometimes they post these to discussion forums that have thousands of members. We’d never be able to reach these potential clients through our usual marketing activities.

Let’s not forget the power of tweeting when you post, which not only reaches your followers, but if it is retweeted it can reach a massive number of people.

Selling through blogs
Online marketing tools such as blogs provide real PR value to a business. It isn’t the same as cold calling to get new customers, but they certainly increase industry profile and visibility online. If you want to convert visitors into clients you need to have fresh content on your site to build credibility. There is no point having a 2005 press release on your home page. Blogging is easy and cheaper than paying a web developer to post new content on your site.

I see spikes in the hits on the blog when I address certain topics. This gives me insight into how the market is thinking and reacting at any given point. With this invaluable marketing intelligence I can offer new products or services to match that interest.

Not investing time to incorporate online marketing tools such as blogs into an overall marketing strategy may be the real cost. They have become an essential element to creating new sales leads within a comprehensive marketing and PR strategy.

For a business, blogs:

  •  Build your profile as blogging demonstrates expertise
  • Allow you to shares information with customers
  • Inform people about other things your business is doing
  • Generate powerful referral networks
  • Create an opportunity to network and share information with people from around the world
  • Permit the kind of conversations that are necessary to truly connect with modern customers
  • Create an opportunity to build relationships with your customers
  • Search engines are attuned to finding blogs
  • Great post Catriona,
    We started a blog about 8 months ago which is a combination of blogs and vlogs. The vlog is a video that we record all over Melbourne and release once per week. It has gained momentum and now brings a steady stream of traffic to our site.
    Things take a while with blogging but the answer is to be consistent in posting so that readers get used to the flow of infomration.

  • michaelphipps

    I agree that things do take a while with blogging, and consistency is important, but it is very possible to be regularly blogging for a long time and still only have an audience of 1.

    It must be said that in order to make the blog worthwhile, you also need to be putting effort into driving traffic to each blog post you write.

  • Hey Michael,
    Driving traffic is absolutely critical unless you really love the sound of your own voice! High quality content makes it easier for the traffic to be attracted in the first place and remain connected after that. The whole question of driving traffic is interesting because you can drive traffic generally to your blog or try and specifically drive it to each individual blog post.
    So far it has been easier for us to drive traffic generally to our blog but having said that, we've cateorized the blog so that the search engines can pick up the overall categories as well.

  • DawnBillings

    Catriona is so right. Blogging is imperative if you want to keep others informed, educated and inspired. You also have to know where your strengths lie, are you a writer, a show off personality or do you have a great voice, because blogs are being delivered in video, podcasts and written. Find the one that suits you best. The Heart Link Network Women's Networking organization has a great blog for women entrepreneurs that you might want to check out. http://www.TheHeartLinkNetwork.com/blog We have also just opened our first face to face networking locations in Australia so you might wan to visit our map and see where they are and if they are close enough to attend. We are excited to bring the heart of The Heart Link Women's Network to the wonderful women of Australia! Blessings, Dawn Billings http://www.DawnBillings.com, CEO and Founder of The Heart Link Network http://www.TheHeartLinkNetwork.com and the http://www.TheHeartAlliance.com the free online professional women's networking community for women around the world.

  • Marie

    Is it a good idea to personalise your blog with bits and pieces of the hobbies you do and place’s you visit?

  • Hi Marie, it is important that your voice or that of your business comes through in order to build trust and an ongoing relationship with your business community. The key to blogging is that the content must offer great value to your reader. If something about your hobby or the places you visit is relevant to them, then yes. Just always keep in mind that it is about sharing your best information with your community that is most useful to them.