Over one-third of the Irish blogging community use their blog as a source for sales leads, while nearly three quarters cite ‘positive feedback from customers’ as a key measure of blogging success.
The survey of the Irish blogging community, conducted by the Irish Internet Association (IIA) Social Media Working Group found that 39pc of business bloggers post several times a week, and that 50pc spend up to four hours each week blogging.
This survey was undertaken as part of an information-gathering exercise for the ‘IIA Guide to Business Blogging in Ireland’, which will be released in electronic format on 22 April next.
The guide is aimed at professionals who are considering blogging for business, or have given it a go and stalled. The guide will also help them to develop best blogging practices and find the right style and approach for their business.
The study of 44 business bloggers found that 39pc cite their blog as a source for sales leads.
Among other benefits, a well-maintained blog can improve a company’s ranking in Google, thus making it easier for the business to be found.
The same blog will also allow a business to show customers that they are experts in their sector, which 75pc of respondents indicated was one of their objectives for their blog.
In terms of assessing the return on investment of time and expertise in a blog, 73pc said positive feedback from customers was a key measure of blogging success.
Just under 50pc indicated that unique visitors were their preferred measurement of success.
“Irish businesses today are facing a new challenge, as more and more of their customers are going online to check what other customers are saying about them before they proceed to purchase,” said Brendan Hughes, chair of the IIA Social Media Working Group and technology manager with FBD Insurance.
“Ratings websites, discussion boards, social network sites, blogs and Twitter are all helping to put more control in the hands of consumers. In the past, if a customer had a poor experience with a business, they would tell a handful of family and friends.
“Now, they are online, posting comments and writing articles that are available to the whole world, immediately and permanently. The IIA Guide to Business Blogging in Ireland is the Social Media Working Group’s lifeline for companies who find themselves drowning in the social media sea,” Hughes added.
The chief executive of the IIA Fergal O’Byrne said the guide will prove to be an invaluable reference point for the Irish business blogging community.
“The work of the Social Media Working Group and all our six working groups is absolutely key to the IIA’s strategy of developing content from within its members’ expertise and creating a larger audience for that expertise.”
The Social Media Working Group, and in particular this guide to blogging, sets out to help Irish businesses understand how they can appropriately interact with their customers online, so they can not only defend their brand reputation but even enhance it,” O’Byrne added.
The Social Media Working Group plans to release four guides in the coming months. The Working Group wrote all guides collaboratively and using the principals of social media, and invited input from the Irish business and blogging communities, both online and off, using wikis and workshops to collect feedback.
The next workshop on the Guide to Podcasting for Business will be held on 9 April at the Digital Hub. The new Guide to Business Blogging will be launched at a breakfast briefing on 22 April at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin.
By John Kennedy