Blog yourself: Taking online communication to the next level.

Author:Kenny, Jack
Position:FRONT Row

Blogs have been around since the beginning of the internet. For some, that date is lost in the mists of time. However, some of us remember typewriters and knew how to change ribbons. Business blogs are terrific tools which, when made well, offer the indispensible elements of good communication: information, education and, where possible, entertainment.

Every industry has companies that blog. (The word, by the way, is a truncation of weblog.) They are a minority among businesses, and this is true for the label converting industry, as well. Searches here and there will uncover a good number of blogs with a variety of approaches, but they are a fraction of the industry population.

Why blog? What does it require? What's in it for my customers, for you? The first answer is easy: A blog is way to bring your customers to your website on a regular basis--to drink at the well, so to speak. It keeps your business in their thoughts, which is a fairly high priority of yours, right? It can provide info about your company, about materials, print and converting processes, inspection, prepress and design, even shipping. It can examine trends in the industries that your customers are focused on. It can focus on macro business topics that could have an impact, direct or otherwise, on what your customers do for a living.

A blog is a tabula rasa, a clean slate on which you chisel your knowledge, the observations and ideas that you're willing to share with the public.

Yes, public. Label converters over the years have not been exactly eager to share what they're doing with other members of the industry, aka competitors. Some are almost phobic about it, but others are more than willing to let people know about their business. Publish means to make public, and publishing a blog is like dancing in the street. So it could help to contemplate that before you decide to go down the blog road.

Content will be your main challenge. Ask yourself: Is it useful? Is it timely? The first thought probably is to focus on your company, what it offers, why it goes well beyond the crowd, and how it can help the customer's business. Keep in mind that your sales team focuses on the same attributes, so a blog entry of this type should expand beyond those.

A few blogs publish news about trade shows the company attends, various events and awards, and achievements among employees. If you're sure that type of information will help your business, go right ahead. But take note of...

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