Author: Bonnie Harris

By Beth Graddon-Hodgson Once you’ve chosen a focal point for your blog – your vague subject area on what you’ll focus upon, the next step is to start making more specific decisions about the writing style. When writing each blog post you can make them personal or topical – or any combination of the two. In order to get a feel for what might work best for your blog, I’m going to provide you with some basic guidelines about what each of those categories mean. With this post, the focus will be upon personal business blogs. A second related article next week will discuss topical blog posts.

Marketing and PR today rely heavily on technology, but often finding the right person or firm to handle your IT needs can be challenging. Mike Holley from Chicago-based Switchfast Technologies provides some excellent advice in this post. Switchfast provides IT solutions uniquely tailored to the needs of small business. Outsourcing is one of the fastest growing trends in the small business world today, and for good reason. By outsourcing parts of their operations, small businesses almost always save money and often end up with higher quality service than they’d be able to afford otherwise. When one considers overhead and training associated with internal hiring, the amount of expertise that can be had for a given budget is much greater with an outsourced partner than a full time employee or team of employees. This is especially true in the field of IT, where quality technicians are paid high wages and it’s nearly impossible for an individual to be an expert in everything.

by Beth Graddon-Hodgson For some businesses, choosing a topic isn’t quite as easy. It’s always important to write with your target demographic in mind, but with a business that caters to a broad range of people like a catch-all online retail website; who are they and what do they care about? There are a number of questions that you can ask yourself when establishing a blog for your business. They are the ones that I go through to hone in on a specific topic area for a client who can go in any direction with their blog.

[caption id="attachment_1182" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Chinese symbols for fame"][/caption] Woo woo alert!! Readers, since you're so enamored with the Feng Shui tip about wearing red underwear to give you energy on TV, I thought I'd provide five ways to use the ancient Chinese art of feng shui to improve the results of your PR campaign. Think this is weird? The Chinese often refuse to erect a new office building in China until  it's been certified for Feng Shui. Here in this country, folks like Roger Green and Carole Hyder are in high demand for their feng shui workshops and consultations. When I did Carole's PR, people used to line up out the door at her book signings. First find the area of your office or home on what they call the Bagua that is the "fame" area. (It's basically the back middle area of your office) Then it's time to decorate.

When starting a blog for your business the first thing you need is a topic. Obvious, perhaps, though you’d be surprised to learn the number of people who don’t think establishing a topic is essential. There’s a belief that if you just start writing, people will come. That might be true when writing a personal blog, but it doesn’t apply in business. With a business blog, you need to ATTRACT your audience. With a personal blog, you’ve already got people who have a vested interest in what you’ve got to say. Just because you work in a specific industry and have knowledge of your craft doesn’t mean you’ve got a voice that people want to listen to just for the sake of it. You’ve got to give them something to lure them in and keep them coming back. That all begins with picking the right topic.

[caption id="attachment_1150" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Beth Graddon-Hodgson"][/caption] After Beth Graddon-Hodgson wrote her last guest post I realized there wasn't much out there in terms of advice for companies wanting to use blogging as a marketing tool outside of SEO. How do ou REALLY use a blog to inject your brand voice into the growing global conversation? I'm very pleased to tell you that Beth has agreed to write a weekly post for the Wax blog on topics concerning just that...how does a business use a blog to their best advantage? I can't wait to learn more. You might wonder about Beth's experience blogging for business...I asked her to tell us a bit about herself. You can also follow Beth on Twitter

A decade ago I sat in meeting after meeting in Silicon Valley hearing about the new economy and how the 'old school' IT companies were dead. It's so funny to me now, listening to all the social media experts and Web 2.0 pundits say that 'traditional PR is dead.' I venture to say that lazy people hope by saying traditional PR is dead, maybe they can make it so. After all it's a whole lot easier to sit in your jammies and tweet and facebook the night away than it is to call Patty Neger at Good Morning America to find out if she likes the latest book you've sent her. Believe me, I would much rather be trading snarky barbs with folks like @CLE84 than getting rejected for yet another story idea by a crusty print reporter.