Better Business Through Blogging: Blog

[Originally published on ProHipHop: Business News in 2007]

I’ve become a big fan of blog and quickly added it to World Cypher even though I never really check out the clothes they have for sale except when I need to see an example of something in the news.  That statement might strike old school business types as evidence of wasted energy but that would be missing the beauty of what they do with this blog.

Though I would prefer to have the blogger or bloggers identified, other than that, I think everything they do is right on target for a blog intended to support a business through the provision of entertaining content closely tied but not limited to their core business.

So, looking at the current home page, one sees posts about fashions they carry, posts about celebrities whose lines they carry and posts documenting visits by celebrities whose lines they will be carrying.

They also link out to other blogs when there’s relevant coverage such as their post about ProHipHop’s hyphy boot post.  Though I doubt they link to direct competitors, linking out is key to building communication and presence and they’re successfully linking out to thematically related blogs that have relevant content without having to big up or attack the competition.

One more category of posts well worth considering are those that feature thematically related news not directly connected to anything they carry but intended to spur discussion, such as this post about Mary-Kate Olsen.

I could point to more but that already covers a lot of territory.  While DrJays does have the added benefit of regular celebrity visits, any business blog can be used to open up a window into the life of a company in a way that will draw in readers.  Though guys sitting at desks and talking a lot are already too common on hip hop company blogs, visits by cool people are always good as are celebratory events and other activities that help give readers a personal connection to the business and the brand.

For example, say you’ve got a tiny store in a tiny town and you think you don’t need a blog.  A better way to approach the issue is not to ask whether or not you need one, cause everybody already knows who you are, but rather to explore how a blog could deepen your relationship with the community you already serve.

One idea along those lines would be to make your customers the stars.  Let’s say somebody buys the first piece from a line you’re hoping to cash in on and you take their picture and feature them on the blog.  Suddenly they’re a superstar for a couple of days plus, since blogs readily archive material, they can link to it from their MySpace blog giving longer life and broader reach to your content while helping promote your current stock.

That’s right, now you’re not only a retail artist but a content creator and star maker and all you did was start a blog that featured your customers wearing your merchandise.

Other related possibilities would be to make your neighborhood a star by visiting nearby stores and featuring the characters that hang on your block.  If your business takes you into the community or on the road, that offers more content possibilities that are real, not something phony or irrelevant or manufactured in the crazed mind of a publicist [no disrespect intended].

By blogging on the open web with content that goes beyond whatever they’re carrying at the moment DrJays can dramatically extend their reach.  So I may not buy their clothes or visit their store, though I’d probably drop in now even if I wasn’t shopping, but I’m writing about them because it relates to my blog.  But I’m really writing about them because I check for them and enjoy their content.

Since they do mail order, that extends their reach in a potentially direct manner, especially since fashion is the biggest category for which web surfers check at ProHipHop.  But I think that even if you don’t do mail order, the examples above show that such an overall approach with context specific details can help even a small local business with no plans to serve a broader community.

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