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  2. Extra Helpings: Tips 610
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Extra Helpings: Tips 6–10

Ready for extra helpings? Blogs provide a great opportunity for businesses to have conversations with customers and prospects. The next set of tips cement your relationship with the readers as you help them figure out what your business and blog are about.

Whew! You managed to get the reader to get to your content. Here we look at how you can improve your chances of building a relationship with readers to keep them returning and perhaps, turn into a customer.

Here’s a quick overview of the last five tips, for those scanners in my audience:

  • About page
  • State your topic
  • Contact information
  • Photos
  • Engage with the blogosphere

Tip 6: Include an About Page

Businesses without an "About Us" or "About the Company" page suggest that they have something to hide. This impression could be totally off-base, but it does happen. Just write a summary about the company and what it strives to do for its customers, and include biographies of the people behind the company.

Consider having an outsider read your company summary. This information can easily get convoluted and confuse rather than assist the reader; proofing by someone who’s unfamiliar with your company’s inner workings can help you to smooth out your text.

Tip 7: State What You Do or What Your Blog Is About

Try this: Randomly search for blogs in your industry and surf as many as you can. Can you tell what they’re about when you land on their site? Business blogs typically cover their industry, so having a tagline that describes your business instead of the blog works fine—if it appears on the same page as the blog and not just the home page.

Even the popular bloggers stray from their standard topics on occasion. Someone who has never visited your blog and arrives on a day when you’re talking about something outside the norm may mistake your basic blog topic for something else. The blog title, company slogan or tagline, or blog tagline solves this problem.

Tip 8: Make Your Contact Information Easy to Find

Blogging is about accessibility—connecting with customers and prospects. Your contact information shouldn’t play hide-and-seek with visitors. The potential customer may want to contact you about doing business or ask questions that could later lead to business. Playing hard-to-get in this situation won’t end well.

Tip 9: Add Photos

A business blog may have multiple bloggers or a lone blogger. The About page humanizes the company, and photos help in that effort. Just position the photos by the biographies. If the blogger doesn’t belong in the About page, consider having information and a photo about the blogger somewhere on the blog, without making the reader search for those details.

Tip 10: Get Involved with the Blogosphere

Business bloggers who hang out in their own blogs like Rapunzel in her tower isolate themselves and miss opportunities. Even businesses without a blog can participate in conversations by reading and commenting where appropriate. Use Technorati, PubSub, or a similar site to track conversations in your industry and about your company.

When you come across blog entries and comments about your company, whether positive or negative, write a thoughtful comment as soon as possible. If it’s a problem that needs researching, post a comment immediately that simply thanks the person for mentioning the problem. Indicate that you’re working on the issue and that you’ll follow up as soon as you have something to share.

Negative comments tend to have emotions behind them. Look past the emotions to find out why that person is angry, and focus on solving the problem. Bloggers and readers will be pleasantly surprised that the company listened and will do something about it.

Oh, and make sure that you allow comments in your blog. Just like a mysterious or nonexistent About page sends the wrong message, not offering a comment feature sends the message that your company is afraid to hear what others have to say and that you’re not willing to listen.

Finally, engage in conversations about your industry and beliefs. This is a step toward establishing your expertise and your company as a thought-leader. As people discover your comments, they’ll want to click the link to your blog (most comment features let you enter your URL) and learn more about you and your business. You may soon find that you’ve won another reader and customer.

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