The recent spurt of interest in blogging has begun to ignite the hope that people can make a full-time income from blogging.
Although there are a few people actually doing this, there aren't too many business models yet that can support someone making a full-time income from their blogs.
I believe that blogs should be an important part of any traffic-generation plan for a website, but don't depend on the blog itself to do much selling.
Blogs are best viewed as an addition to site content, in reality, a very simple content management system that helps you update your site more frequently, so your search engine listings and traffic increase.
Email campaigns are still the best way to produce sales on demand and to announce specials and time-limited offers, because blogs do not yet have the immediacy and reach of email.
Blogs are not about selling anyway. As an internet marketer and publisher, I find that blogs can be an excellent tool to support your main business, to provide value, build relationships with prospective customers and to build your personal brand and image.
For corporates and small businesses, blogs can help put a human face on an otherwise bland business site. In the corporate world, blogs are being for internal communication and knowledge management, and for brand building and public relations campaigns.
Nike's Art of Speed blog is an excellent example of subtle brand building using blogs.
As an internet marketer and publisher, here are some ways you can use blogs to support your business.
1. Write reviews of products in your field
Writing reviews not only allows you to benefit from improved search engine listings for the product you are reviewing, but allows you to provide your subscribers with information that contributes to their purchase decisions. That makes it an ideal way to earn affiliate income.
2. Direct traffic to your articles
If you've written an article and published it online, use your blog to post a teaser, perhaps describing what made you write that particular article, and then link to it so you get your readers to also visit your website and check out your other offerings.
3. Direct traffic to your ezine archives
Post a few paragraphs or the editorial of your ezine or newsletter issues on your blog and link to the archived issue on your website so that your readers can read the rest of the issue there.
4. Talk about what's going on in your life
People buy from those they like and trust. As an online journal or diary, a blog is the ideal medium to share details of your holiday, the things that made you laugh (or not), your own humorous take on life, anything to let your prospective customers get to know the person behind the website better.
5. Comment on developments in your industry
A blog is an ideal place to post your personal opinions, favourable or not, about the developments in your industry. If you are not happy with someone's customer service, or have been defrauded, they are also a good way of warning other potential victims. Becoming a source of industry information is part of the process of branding yourself as an expert.
There are many more ways that you can promote yourself, your products and services using a blog, but the ones above should get you started for now.
Just remember to use your blog for the purpose it was meant to be used. To brand, to communicate, to connect.
Leave the selling to your sales letter.
Copyright ? 2004 Priya Shah
Priya Shah is an ezine publisher by day and doubles as a Blog Maniac by night. Blog Brandz is the legitimate offspring of her affair with the blogosphere.