Lately, I’ve been talking a good deal about building a total online presence for your business. Creating useful and educational content is a critical piece of building up your online presence. That kind of content helps to reinforce that you’re an expert in the industry and it helps to build credibility. You can find out more by downloading the Total Online Presence e-book.
So you already understand why blogging is important for your business, so how do you start the blogging process? One of the things that I encourage my clients to start with is active listening. This is something we should be doing regardless of whether or not we’re blogging, however, it’s like everything else—you have to get yourself into a routine and make this habit.
Listening is about reading online and collecting information that is pertinent to your industry. Active listening just takes this one step further where you’re commenting on what you’re reading and adding experience and perspective to help to create discussions.
There are a number of key places to participate in online conversations and it’s simply a matter of creating a system so active listening becomes a part of your marketing routine. Below I’ve included a list of ideas to ensure that you’re listening to all the right people.
Customers. You’ll want to keep informed with what’s going on with your customers and what they’re talking about online. If they are active on Twitter, it’s a very easy way to keep up with them. You can simply create a twitter list of customers and monitor what you need to know easily and effectively.
Journalists. Because most every media outlet is now online, it’s easy to keep track of those journalists that cover your industry. Google Alerts works well to keep you up on what they are writing about and what’s newsworthy.
Influencers. News aggregator sites like Alltop, ………. And tools like Quara make it easy to keep track of what’s going on and trending in your industry. If you’re ever to be referenced as a thought-leader, you’ll need to know what others in the industry talking about and have your own opinion.
Competitors. It’s also nice to be aware of what your competitors are focusing on as this gives you the opportunity to see if they’re still really a competitor and relevant. You can find out what they have going on and if there are some places where they’ll start to tread more heavily on your turf.
Blogs. Reading blogs from your industry experts and your peers is a great way to give yourself inspiration for your blogging content and article writing.
Each of the tools mentioned above can also be very efficient for inspiring content ideas and also providing the research you need to ensure you’re making informed comments. Without staying on top of what’s trending and important in your industry, it’s challenging to demonstrate your level of credibility and build yourself up as a thought-leader.