Blogging is one word used to describe many different things. No wonder people get intimidated and confused when they’re advised to start a business blog. In this post we’ll examine the five different types of bloggers to clarify where you and your business might fit, and discuss how and why you might use this powerful marketing tool.
First, some basics:
What is a blog? A blog is an easily updatable website comprised of posts (entries, updates or articles) that are usually displayed in reverse chronological order. While many people mistakenly call each new entry a blog, the correct terminology is post or blog post. Think of a blog like a magazine. Magazines contain articles, and blogs contain posts.
Who is a blogger? A blogger is someone who uses a blog as a platform to share their unique viewpoint on a particular topic.
5 types of bloggers
- Passion bloggers – While hobbyists may eventually earn money from (monetize) their blog, ultimately they’re blogging as a way to document their journey, share their experience with others, gain support and accountability, evangelize what they’re passionate about, and/or teach and help others.
- Pro bloggers – While in theory anyone can be a pro blogger, the best and most successful pro bloggers start out as passion bloggers and/or blog about their personal experience. From there, bloggers can repurpose or further develop their content to create books, reports or training programs to sell online. If they gain a large enough following, they may be able to earn commissions for products they sell (affiliate sales), or ads they promote.
- Professional blog writers – These may be journalists, marketing professionals, freelance writers, or any combination of the three. They’re familiar with online writing concepts and the unique landscape of blogging, and they use these skills to help businesses achieve their online marketing goals. In some cases they work directly with thought leaders or subject matter experts to help them express their ideas (also known as ghost blogging).
- Thought leaders who blog – These are the people who go deep below the surface to identify and analyze the most important research, news and issues in their industry. Just like trying to get your content to go viral, trying to be a thought leader is usually a misguided pursuit. As Lauren Hockenson wrote on American Express OPEN Forum, “becoming known as a thought leader shouldn’t be your goal. It’s just the icing on the cake of creating something truly innovative.”
- Subject matter experts who blog – You do not have to be a thought leader to be an effective business blogger. Experts can be just as widely revered and, more importantly, can attract prospective customers to a business and give them confidence to take the next step. Experts help explain complex ideas. They guide customers through concepts so they can either do a simple task themselves, or feel more confident about working with a service provider.
Blogging for business
Now that we’ve looked at blogging in general, let’s look specifically at business blogs. A business blog is a special section of a company’s website that is updated regularly and provides valuable information that benefits the reader and demonstrates the company’s expertise and capabilities.
A company blog may or may not have any actual bloggers signing their posts. They may use a combination of professional blog writers, thought leaders or subject matter experts, and types of posts (which types of posts are right for your business?).
Professional blog writers can either ghost blog for a company’s thought leaders or subject matter experts, or write posts in the company voice about topics that are important to your customers.
Benefits of business blogging
By consistently posting new content to a business blog, you can:
- Stay visible to your audience so they think of you when they need your product or service
- Demonstrate your expertise about topics related to your business
- Share original content on social media
- Follow up with new contacts and prospective customers
- Keep your website fresh, which shows prospective customers and search engines that you are a trusted source of information