Most niche technology companies issue press releases when a new product is announced, a major customer is acquired, or another news worthy event occurs. These press releases are intended for the niche market’s news media which theoretically will pick up the article and publish it. In reality, these news articles typically get collected onto a company’s website into a “News” section, rarely read and almost never republished. Still, these press releases have value as a starting point for other social media uses such as a blog, Twitter tweets, LinkedIn status update, Google+ posts, and others.
A blog might be the most important of these, even if you do not use it to solicit comments from your customers. It allows authorized users to create content for your company website without technical knowledge of web design. Some blogging systems, such as the free WordPress platform (http://wordpress.org), can be used to create anything from a simple blog to a complete company website where only selected pages have blog posts.
Other benefits of a blog include control and ownership of your content. Using a social media website controlled by a specific company can be a problem if the site goes away. Do you remember Geocities and MySpace? Even popular services like Facebook only recently have created a way to back up posts. Other technical advantages of hosting your own blog are post popularity tracking, automatic support for mobile browsers, and integration with other social media platforms. The last one is the most powerful. Once you have created a blog post, it is straightforward to link to it in an email, tweet it in Twitter, or use it for a status update in LinkedIn.
Creating a blog is simple in theory, but integrating it with your website requires some technical knowledge. WordPress is probably the most popular and can be installed in three steps:
- If you don’t have a website already, find a Web Host (http://wordpress.org/hosting/). The ones that WordPress have historically recommended have been great hosting companies in general besides offering easy integration with a WordPress blog.
- Download & Install WordPress (http://wordpress.org/download/) by using their famous 5-minute installation. It is famous for being 5-minutes under perfect conditions, like using their recommended web hosts. Otherwise, have your webmaster available for this step. It can get ugly and involve FTP access, setting up a MySQL database, users, permissions, and other complex settings.
- Read the Documentation (http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page) and become a WordPress expert yourself.
Don’t be intimidated by these steps, it is worth learning the basics of a blogging platform like WordPress. Once you get past the installation and configuration, you will end up with an easy to use web interface that allows creation of posts, editing of posts, moderation of comments, design changes, etc. by users you authorize.
There are also other related benefits of blogs. Regular blogging of great content gives customers a sense of a well run, modern company. Also, it quickly creates a web presence, especially if press releases lead to blog entries that are tweeted, posted to LinkedIn, and other related websites. Prosig is a niche technology company and a Google search returns impressive results for them that are typically only returned for much larger, mainstream companies.
The next posts in this series will briefly discuss three other simple social media tools that you can pick and choose from to create social media presence. Also, please take a moment to go to elephanttech.com and sign up for our free email newsletter. It contains material not found in these posts, only goes out every couple weeks, and we never sell or share our email list.