Business bloggers should show their personality and incorporate multimedia for maximum impact, according to the winner of the business category in the Best Australian Blogs 2011 Competition.
Nikki Parkinson, founder of online business Styling You, beat four other finalists to take out the title of best business blog in the competition.
Other finalists in this category included Jo Hegerty of Kitepower, Sarah Mitchell of Global Copyrighting, Suzi Dafnis from Her Business, and PR Warrior’s Trevor Young.
With 570 blogs in the running, other categories included commentary, lifestyle/personal and words/writing. Winners of each category received $1,000 worth of prizes from the Sydney Writers’ Centre.
Competition coordinator Rose Powell says it was great to see so many diverse blogs in the business category.
“We noticed that many businesses were able to effectively showcase their expertise through their blogs and generate useful discussions with their communities,” Powell says.
“It’s a perfect example of a real dialogue happening instead of the ‘push’ communication that’s been typical from businesses in the past.”
Parkinson says business bloggers must understand who their readers are, which will help them decide what content is applicable.
“Every business should have a blog… A blog is an extended conversation of your dialogue with clients, and a business-style blog is about giving information but in a personal way,” she says.
Parkinson says incorporating multimedia, such as a video blog, can add another dimension as viewers gain a deeper insight into the blogger’s personality.
According to Hegerty, blogging has been an important part of Kitepower’s strategy since it was introduced three years ago but describes it as “totally unintentional”.
With qualifications as a journalist and copyrighter, Hegerty handles the marketing side of the business and says the blog started as an experiment but quickly attracted a large following.
“If we mention new stock in the blog, we always get a phone call [from a customer],” she says.
With four posts appearing on a weekly basis, Hegerty says it can be quite hard to generate new and interesting content. Her material generally includes a product-specific blog and a piece of news happening within the industry.
She also tries to include “something a bit fun”, sometimes accompanied by multimedia such as a YouTube clip, plus profiles on kite-makers and others within the industry.
Hegerty says generating fresh content is also essential, and asks people to send in their blogs to ensure this is the case.
She says start-ups looking to blog need to work out how frequently they want to communicate with their audience and ensure they have plenty of content up their sleeve.
“Also, think a little bit left field and show some personality – don’t just be a corporate blog,” she says.
Mitchell, who started her business in 2008, says she started blogging in order to generate traffic to her website.
“I had a hard time figuring out what value I was going to add and what I was going to write about, but I soon realised that people are looking for practical advice without hype,” she says.
“I typically write about things that have worked for me and things that didn’t work. ‘How to’ articles always prove popular.”
“What it has done is establish my authority within the market and generate quality leads – my biggest clients found me through my blog.”
Mitchell says blogging is an ideal investment for start-ups because it costs nothing to produce and stays in the online space forever.