Of course, to reap the benefits of having a blog, it's important that the blog is well managed. So, what does that mean? There are four key elements you need, to have an effective blog. First and foremost, you need quality content. Keep in mind that blogs should engage an establish expertise, but not self-promote. Like other forms of social media, blogging is all about connecting with people and communicating your story. It's not a medium for one-way communication. Blogs can help you improve the search rankings for your product. But in order to achieve that, it's important to use keywords that matter to you throughout your blog posts. As with all content, if you want to engage readers, you need to make sure the content is tailored to them. Write about things that you know matter to your target audience, from entertainment to discounts, inspiration, and education. If you post content that matters to your audience, chances are much higher they will comment and share. In other words, they'll engage. Finally, pay close attention to read those comments and questions. Monitor the conversation and be sure to react or respond. Let's go back once more to Calla and Ivy. Remember that Imra is interested in launching a website so she can start selling flowers online. We saw how it is Imra's goal to get 10,000 website visits during the month of May. Imra realizes that in order to achieve that, she'll need to generate some awareness for her website. She plans to post on social media, but she also realizes that it could be cool if she could link in some of her social media posts to some longer articles with information that's helpful to her target audience. She decides to add a blog to her website. Imra thinks this will be a great way to convey some of the fun and friendly atmosphere she's been able to create in her local store. She plans to write about her love of flowers, explained some of the technique she uses to make bouquets. She also wants to educate her audience a bit on how to care for fresh flowers, something she usually does in the store, but she wants to make sure people online can benefit from her advice too. She also wants to provide some behind the scenes content and she wants to invite some of her employees to write their stories too. She's even thinking about having her main flower supplier or local flower farm to do a guest posts. I think these are Imra's great ideas and they align well with our four best practices for blogging. First, Imra will need to make sure her content is of high quality. But the topic she's thinking about are spot on, they're helpful and fun, but not overly promotional. As Imra writes these posts, it's a good idea for her to include keywords that matter to her. Those keywords could be features that are unique or typical for her products. For instance, she could try to include keywords, bouquet binding, flower bouquets, cut flowers, etc. Those could be the types of keywords that she would like to be associated with so that when people type them into search engine, her content comes up as a result. Imra's blogs should appeal to her target audience. Remember Imra targets 30-55-year-old women in the Netherlands with an interest in design, fashion, and sustainable living. The content is Imra is planning will be quite interesting to them. Finally, Imra will need to make sure that she monitors her blog. Once she posts content, people can comment and share her post and she'll want to make sure she responds to the comments that way, her blog will really become a tool for her to connect with her audience. Imra plans to have her employees contribute to her blog. You'll find that in large companies, it's also common to have employees contribute. Employees can be a great source of various voices for a company blog. But as with all their social media activities, there may be questions or concerns about how to handle employee blogging, whether on the company blog or employees personal social sites. Including policies and best practices to guide employee blogging efforts as part of a comprehensive social media policy can help protect a company from potentially embarrassing or damaging posts, but can also help employees post with more confidence and increase the chances that they'll be willing to do so. Here are a couple of examples of how big companies have approached their blog policies. HP blogs are written by a variety of employees at different levels and positions in the organization. Here's an excerpt from HP's blogging code of conduct that references confidentiality, stating our standards of business conduct will guide what we write about. There's some topics we won't comment on, such as information about financials, HP intellectual property, trade secrets, management changes, lawsuits, shareholder issues, layoffs, and contractual agreements with alliance partners, customers and suppliers. Adidas's policies are a little less formal. They remind employees that they're responsible for the content they post and that posts online are essentially permanent. Telling employees, you are personally responsible for the content you publish on blogs, wikis, or any other form of user-generated media. Please remember that the Internet never forgets. For any company that starts a blog, it's a good idea to put some policies in place. If you work at a company that has a blog and they ask you to contribute, check out a policy to make sure you stay within the company guidelines. We'll refer to blogs again when we talk about managing and planning your social media content in our next course. But for now, it's good to remember that blogs are different from websites. They offer a great opportunity to engage and interact with your audience, built authentic connections, and they can also help you increase your search rankings. Of course, it's good to put some thought in what you post, choose for contents that will appeal to your audience, but don't overly promote. Make sure to monitor your blog so you can respond in time to comments from readers. Blogging can be really rewarding and fun, so you may want to give it a try.