Blogging – the “fresh goods” of your business

Posted on April 6, 2009. Filed under: Small business communications | Tags: , , |

eyesOne of my clients (a very worthy organization) has me blogging for them… and you can’t actually get to the page.  I have been blogging in the dark vacuum of space now for a couple of days.

I fully expect the problem to be fixed by the end of today because the right people have been alerted – but this isn’t the first time I’ve seen blogs buried in the clutter of a website.  Another client currently hides the company blog deep in the sub-menus of their website, and updates it very rarely, even though this client is bubbling over daily with great ideas.  What a waste of a wonderful resource!

The way I see it, when you are blogging for a business, or to gain support for a cause, or just to share your ideas, why would you hide it where no one can see it?  Why not have a section on the home page that gives visitors one-click access to your latest helpful hint?  How about putting it right on the navigation bar throughout the site?

Because a blog is designed to be updated on a regular basis,  it can add ongoing freshness to your online presence.  It brings the aroma of fresh-baked goods right onto your site.  That’s attractive – people will go there to see what is new, and they will stay longer if they find news, thoughts, ideas or interactions when they get there.  Hiding your blog in the depths of your site is like having a storefront, and hiding in the back room with a “ring bell for service” sign out front.

Go stand in the middle of your shop, and interact with the people who come in.  Serve them your fresh goods with pride.

On that same note,  I am currently in domain-hosting purgatory, waiting for my blog to be united with the rest of my website.  Once everything transfers over, you – dear reader – will be the first to know.

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I Tweet in Real Life!

Posted on February 9, 2009. Filed under: In My Experience | Tags: , , |

dallas-road-seawallLast week, when the weather was giving us West Coasters a glimpse of spring, I went for a run along the Dallas Road Seawall. Of course, I wasn’t alone in my decision to enjoy the mild weather – many others came to enjoy the air, the sunshine and the view, bringing dogs and babies and cups of coffee.

Jogging past my strolling neighbours, I found myself chatting in tiny bursts: “Cute dog!” “I like your stick!” “Good afternoon” – and nearly all these little exchanges were marked with a smile back, or another comment. By the end of 40 minutes’ running, I had exchanged greetings with dozens of people – what’s more, I felt wonderful… connected, even.

I’ve been quite active on Twitter.com for a couple of months, and thinking about the nature of this communication medium: 140 characters to answer the question, as Chris Brogan says, “What has your attention?”. (While the twitter.com home page asks “What are you doing?”, Twitter seems to have evolved beyond the scope of that starting point, and attention is what it’s all about.) That’s just enough for a decent sentence, a quick response, or a kind comment. It’s an awful lot like greeting the folks you meet on the street, or on the seawall.

And to me, that similarity marks the return of something we’ve been in danger of losing – that casual but kind human contact. When we lived in smaller communities, the friendly greeting was commonplace. Everyone knew everyone else’s face, but didn’t necessarly want to become intimate friends with all their fellow citizens. It made sense to lubricate social interaction with a little small talk.

Now, with our big-box stores and freeways, we’ve lost that opportunity for the most part. Seawall friendliness is the exception rather than the rule. And that makes places like Twitter more important than you might imagine. It’s becoming the 21st-century equivalent of the village square, the promenade, the church social. We tweet because we’re human.

I’m not saying that we should all be updating our Facefook status and posting to Twitter multiple times a day. In fact, I’d promote the opposite – take the “listening” skills and the short communication that you learn online, and try applying it to the real world. Next time you are stuck in the grocery line-up, faced with catching up on the tabloid news headlines or choosing which package of gum to add to your purchase, try “tweeting” the person standing in line beside you. It can be something simple, like “wow, look how many magazine covers have the same people on them this week”, or even the classic comment about the weather. You might get a reply. You’ll certainly have made the world a slightly friendlier place.

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