In this post we explore an often under appreciated aspect of business blogging that provides a critical validation for your website visitors. “Being There.”
A Quick Analogy
Before we dive in too far in this post it might serve us well to draw a brick and mortar example to help further illustrate this point.
Have you ever walked into a retail store that was a mess? How about walking into a store and there is nobody there to great you? You kind of walk around for a half second wondering what to do – are you even allowed to shop here?
For those brief moments when you are in a retail store and there are no “humans” present, or when it feels like the store itself does not care about you and your needs as a shopper, the inclination is to walk right out the door.
Your website is no different.
Blogging to Be There
Building out from the above example, when a business website is not “present” it sends a clear signal to the visitors that perhaps they do not need to be “present” either. Unless you are the only provider in the world for a specific service (in which case you might be able to do whatever you want), your ability to use multiple opportunities on your site to convey to your potential customers your interest in them is critical.
One area that this can be accomplished with considerable effectiveness is by regularly blogging. Doing so allows your business to set a very clear and demonstrative tone that says you are there and you are highly engaged. Going further, blogging at a high level and on a consistent basis says not only are you present but it also sends your audience a clear message that you are interested in them and in their needs.
Conversely, if you have a blog on your website and your last post was from 6 months ago think about the message you are sending to your visitors – you are literally telling them that you went through all this effort to create media for your brand (yes – blog posts are media), you have made this media available to your visitors BUT you actually do not care about your media – so why should you expect that people visiting your site will be inclined to think you care about them? The logical conclusion on their part will be to leave.
What if You Really Don’t Want to Blog?
Okay – a fair question and one that really goes outside of the scope of our Better Business Blogging series, but if you are determined to not blog, or maybe you are not ready to get “serious” here are two quick suggestions:
- Take your blog down.
- Remove the publish dates from your posts so that at least you are not showing your most recent post from a year ago…
Why You Should Be Blogging Even If You Really Don’t Want to Blog
The reasons to blog are many, and if you have been following our series on Better Business Blogging you have been provided with many great reasons that travel in a number of different directions – but a very non-technical reason is because by actively blogging you are letting all your incoming visitors know that the lights are on in your business. Nothing says you are “there” quite like being there. A frequently updated blog does exactly that.
Pure Metrics Vs. Human Emotion
At a certain point the ROI question is going to come up. That point might even be on day one. ROI is important. With no R it is hard to justify continued I, and at a certain point the I entirely disappears if R does not start rolling in.
Often the inclination when focusing on ROI is to look for easy answers. That means we tend land at the place where we attribute only the last touch before a sale as this is a very easy way to measure, but often that measurement alone does not tell the full story. Many times the truth is considerably more complex and it often takes a series of interactions before we are able to convert a visitor into a customer.
Depending on your specific business and also you overall blog strategy most likely visitors heading to your site are still evaluating your business and are only going to move forward after a number of interactions. Those interactions could happen all at once. Those interactions could happen over time. Some of those interactions might not even be generated from your site. The point is each of those interactions in turn has an emotional component, an emotional value. As each interaction adds further to the overall emotional canvas you are developing, each interaction adds more value. At a certain point there is enough “value” and your visitors emotionally move into a new level of trust with your business.
Are Emotions Measurable?
So we are now heading into a gray area – how to find a proper Return on Human Emotion?
For every business the place where a Return on Human Emotion will yield a result is different. Some of the differences are directly tied to the result you are trying to garner. A newsletter subscription is one result. A potential customer contacting you in another result. An actual sale is another type of result. And each of these different results will require a different level of amount of positive Human Emotion.
Again, there are a multitude of ways in which you as a website owner can help to try and encourage a positive feeling of Human Emotion on the part of your visitors from your site – but a big one is by being there. And a great way to be present online is to actively blog.
Being There in Real Time
Another wonderful aspect of regularly blogging is that you afford your business a great opportunity to take advantage of real time events that happen in your space. Not only can you “news jack”
the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.
but you can also send a very clear message to your audience that you are actively paying attention to your space and that your business is very much invested in making sure that you are always providing the best in service and are always staying on top of current trends to ensure that the service you provide is consistently at the top. Talk about not only being there but really staying there!
Being There Because You Care
Moving beyond the great reasons to “Be There” that are directly customer focused, another wonderful reason to adopt a “Being There” philosophy is because you love what you are doing. This is your business after all. You and year team are literally devoting your professional efforts towards being successful in this business venture and you are probably really excited about it. By “Being There” you are literally creating a direct pathway and process that allows you to continue to develop and nurture your own passion for your business.
Every business owner knows how valuable and how big a differentiation a continual “Being There” attitude and approach can be to the long term success of a business. This is true on premise. And it is also true online. In fact, those two ideas are not exclusive.
Being There Is Not Enough
Unlike a few ideas we have covered so far in our Better Business Blogging series, this idea does not stand on its own. Blogging simply to “Be There” will not move the needle. Remember, once visitors are there you still need to deliver on their expectations. Web surfers are only getting more and more sophisticated and this in turn means that site owners are under constant pressure to deliver meaningful content that in some way meets and then exceeds expectations.
Be prepared to be there and go way beyond!
Note: This post was originally published in August 2012. It has since been updated and republished.