By Jennifer Noxon

If you’re questioning the business benefits of blogs, Charlene Li shares the findings and a couple of excerpts from two recent reports published by Forrester Research, New ROI of blogging report from Forrester and “Calculating The ROI Of Blogging: A Case Study, A Look At The ROI of General Motor’s FastLane Blog”. The most common benefits found were:

• increased brand visibility

• savings from customer insights

• reduced impact from negative user-generated content, and increased sales efficiency

Li also includes a framework that allows companies to track and measure the benefits of external blogs. As well, for an opinion on the blogoshere and how to measure its impact on a business, tune in to the Marketing Voices podcast interview with Biz 360’s Deborah Eastman on Market Metrics: Measuring the Impact of Blogs and Mainstream Media to a Brand.

It’s pretty safe to say that organizations with bloggers who blog well and blog regularly will benefit from the invested effort. But for the rookies who 1) understand the concept of blogging and 2) believe in the guiding principles, an empty page can appear as vast and as daunting as the Sahara Desert itself. Deadlines, subject choices and motivation, or lack thereof, are just a few of the stumbling blocks all bloggers face at one time or another.

A good place to begin might be Charlene Li’s sample blogger code of ethics – a quick, succinct read. Suzanne Stefanac provides ten general writing tips in Chapter 10 of her book dispatches from blogistan: a travel guide for the modern blogger. She suggests that we put our ideas of perfection aside and embrace the process. Beginning with the obvious – “just do it”, Stefanac moves on to prescribe the draft process, “Settle on a topic, think about it for a moment, do a little research if that’s what’s called for, and then throw some words at the topic until they start to stick. Don’t stop until you have as much down as will come out in one straight push.” Once you’ve got the draft, you can start editing.

For those who find themselves completely paralyzed, Ted Demopoulos author of Blogging for Business suggests trying a throw away blog. Whether it’s a lack of confidence in your writing skills or a desire to improve your writing ability, Ted suggests looking to others for editing help. In Susan Stefanac’s words, “It may help to remember that in physics, the laws describing inertia suggest that it’s just as hard to stop a body in motion as it is to set one moving. Do whatever it takes to get started.”

(Jennifer Noxon is a Communications Strategist with market2world communications inc., Canada's Web 2.0 tech product launch and public relations agency.)

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