Editor's Note: A recent visitor to our MySpace site said she is already using free tools including a MySpace profile to promote her business, a publication in which she sells local sponsorships, and asked how a professional blogging service could truly improve her results. Below is my answer.)
No way would I ever put down use of a free social network like MySpace to promote your business.
There are many social networks out there and all can be helpful in different ways to let people know about who you are and what you do.
The drawback is that social network profiles, like other static websites, often contain only a very small amount of information about a product or service and once a person has found the site and perhaps linked to it, they may be unlikely to return.
A professionally maintained blog, by comparison, may be updated often, in the case of our basic service twice a day, with constantly fresh content encouraging readers to return again and again and reinforcing your business and brand in their minds.
Blogs also attract Google searches and turn up in daily Google News Alerts because of their constantly fresh content. They can be syndicated, meaning people who like to follow a blog can place it on their website as well, increasing the exposure of your sales message, or ask to be notified in their e-mail every time the blog is updated.
Imagine potential customers returning to your site several times a day to find out what's happening now. Compare this with the number of times you think they've visited your MySpace site in the last year.
But it doesn't end there. Blogs use keywords, perhaps the name of your business or the kind of service you provide,to attract people on the Internet who may be searching for a business or service just like yours.
Keywords like "sponsorship", "sponsor" and "magazine" attract the attention of websurfers entering those same words into online searches on Google and Yahoo! who may be interested in the services you provide.
Here are just some of the ways a professionally maintained blog could help improve your business:
—Promote your brand, How many people know [your publication] and what you do? Imagine a blog updating twice a day telling the world your story, how and why you started…and how they can help
—Promote your service, Keywords in a regularly updated blog telling people the kinds of sponsorships you offer, the area your [publication] serves and the target audience you reach makes it more likely potential customers will find you.
—Broaden your reach, Publish content from your [publication] on a constantly updated blog and take your publication global at a fraction of the cost that would be necessary to maintain a traditional paper publication. Tell your sponsors they can now reach a global market by selling advertising on your blog as well and see your revenue grow.
See the attached video for more on how a blog can benefit your business.