Your Interactive Expertise Distribution Site

A blog is an interactive site that distributes expertise to a community. Just don’t call it a blog, because that term may no longer be relevant.

What comes to mind when you hear the words blog or blogging – a string of random thoughts or a well-crafted piece of content that helps a specific community to solve real-life problems?

I suspect most people think of the former – free-writing that occasionally makes a point. This is one reason why the mainstream public still does not consider blogs to be valid news sources. Well, that is changing, and this is good news for both bloggers and just about anyone with valuable expertise.

The reason the words blog and blogging may no longer be relevant is because blogs are replacing the static websites that businesses have traditionally considered their online home.  SEO changed all of that.  Now you must have an interactive site if you expect to be relevant to Google.

Just Don’t Call Them Blogs

Blogs are where people in the know go to get the most relevant news.  This is precisely why AOL Media paid handsomely for top blog The Huffington Post – a site that is seldom referred to as a blog.

Given their value for delivering valuable and relevant content, it may be time to forget about blogs and instead direct our communities to our interactive websites – these online forums where they can tap into our expertise and a great deal more.

Most small businesses are not blogging, a fact that I reaffirmed last week while speaking to several hundred small business professionals.  They still struggle with getting their minds wrapped around the concept of blogging.

However, they easily embraced the idea of making their websites more interactive, and in the process, gaining more control of their site while vastly improving its optimization for search engines.  That can all be accomplished right here on WordPress.

Showcasing Your Expertise

Entrepreneurs and small businesses underestimate the expertise they have to share. Yet, they educate their customers everyday in a fashion that is quite similar to blogging. Why not capture that expertise online where it can be distributed to a larger audience?

The web is the central location where consumers and businesses alike come to do their research.  Gone are the days when just being here was enough to satisfy the basic professional standards.  Now it is essential that you have an interactive presence where your community can engage with you.

Engaging with Your Community

Online interaction can occur on a number of channels.  For most small businesses, this is happening on Facebook.  While having social interaction on a Facebook page is valuable for building relationships with your community, it may not be where they want to consume business content.

WordPress sites are not only better for distributing content to your community, but they are also more likely to be ranked higher than Facebook Pages by Google.

And don’t forget that unlike your WordPress site, you have little control over the content on your Facebook page.  Both are valuable for interacting with your community, but one is essential for preserving your professional online presence.

Enhancing Your Reputation

If you are really serious about the marketing of your small business, you want to start building an online audience around your expertise.  This will enhance your online reputation, create a library of content that can be readily shared on the social networks, and help you to better understand and serve your community.

Ready to get started?

You’ll find the following articles will help you get started, get better, and sustain your efforts. Despite the use of the word blog, these articles are as relevant today as when the day they were written.

The only thing that has changed is the increased level of professionalism that is now associated with this practice of content marketing.

How to Start a Blog

21 Reasons to Blog

5 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Outstanding

How Often Should I Blog?

How to Write an Article Faster

How Blogging Enhances Your Sales Presentations

My 27 Favorite Blogging Tips

Content Marketing

How could your business be enhanced if your interactive site was widely considered the go-to source for help in your area of expertise?

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Until tomorrow,  Jeff

Managing Negative Comments on the Web

Responding well to negative comments starts with being the first to find them.

You will eventually find an unflattering comment made about you or your business. Yet, in virtually every situation those comments can be managed to create favorable outcomes.

Most of them are the result of misunderstandings.  And once in a while, you run into someone that loves to throw stones.  Regardless of the reason, the prescription is the same.


#1 – Be the First on the Scene

It is surprising how many businesses do not take advantage of Google Alerts or other services for monitoring their web reputation.  When you do this, you can be the first on the scene to make an appropriate response.  And speed is of the essence when your reputation is at stake.

Being first on the scene gives you authority, just as it does the eye-witness of an accident.  You have the chance to shape future opinion and stop an errant commenter in their tracks.

#2 – Build a Strong Base

When you build a base of information that helps a community, it creates a body of knowledge that continues to grow over time to strengthen your reputation.  Reasonable people, and especially your fans,  will always weigh this against a solitary comment to draw the logical conclusion.

You have earned your reputation, and one little scratch is not going to bring it tumbling down.  If you handle this well, you will find that it can actually enhance your reputation, because it gives you the opportunity to use the situation to reinforce your credibility.  Treat it as an opportunity!

#3 – Diffuse

Suggest to the commenter that they do not have a complete understanding of the situation.  And above all, never be defensive.  I like to start with affirming their perspective.  “I can understand how one (not you) may come to that conclusion if they were not familiar with ….”  Just fill in the blank with the content that clarifies why one could come to that unfounded conclusion.  You’ve just provided an out that allows them to save face.

Even better is to start off your response by thanking them.  Why?  They are giving you the opportunity to address a concern that others probably have.  Now you have potentially turned the other silent naysayers who may have agreed with the negative comment into fans – or at least interested followers.

#4 – Clarify

It is usually not appropriate to give a lengthy or self-important response.  Sometimes people are venting and you just happened to be the recipient.  It is often best to keep your response short and to the point.  Writing lengthy paragraphs makes you appear defensive – and that just fans the flames.

#5 – Inquire

This can be risky, but if you have confidence in your community, end your response with an open-ended question to encourage a response from your community.  Just don’t ask them if they agree with you – ask them what they think.  If your community does not agree with you, then you need to respond again to further illuminate the truth.

#6 – Illuminate

Most situations will never come to this.  However, sometimes you will need to create a blog post that consolidates all of the information on the topic and adds new perspectives from additional research.  In other words, use your blog to create an informal  ‘press release’ that articulates an upbeat and clever response that gets everybody feeling good again.

This also gives you the opportunity to create something that you can point to should there be further discussion down the road.  Rumors and innuendo can spread and arise at the worst time.  When you have this in your back pocket, you can calmly refer everyone to it and go about your business with aplomb.

#7 – Let it Go

Once everyone feels the topic has been fully exercised, be the first one to let it go.  Rest your case.  Some people love a fight.  Skillful negotiators will always tell you that it takes two to fight.  Your approach shapes the environment.  Whether you are respectful, professional, casual, or humorous, that is the type of conversation you will tend to encourage.

You choose.

Of course, it should go without saying that negative comment from someone with an avatar image that is other than their own should be discounted, because others will do the same. They will challenge your reputation, even though they are not willing be be 100% authentic by putting a face on their social media presence.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Photo Credit:  compujeramey