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What Is A Blog?

Web logs are marketing tools for the digital age.

The World Wide Web and other digital technologies have introduced many changes to material handling and the business world. One of those changes is the “blog,” a shortened form of the term “Web log.”

At its most basic, a blog is a type of Web site where entries are displayed in reverse chronological order. Most blogs are textual, though they may combine images, audio and video. Blogs are individual or small group resources—the control of content and value is centralized and driven by a single person or a few people. Readers may reply, but responses are not necessary.

Six Uses for a Company Blog

  1. Marketing products and services to end-users
  2. Connecting service technicians with customers
  3. A forum for the CEO to talk company strategy
  4. New product press
  5. Discuss trends in the industry, and your customers’ industries
  6. Keep employees up-to-date with internal company news

A blog can be another way for one to get the word out about one’s products or services. The centralized nature of blogs allows them to easily become news sources, where trusted individuals provide accounts of events and information. The most important aspect of blogs is that they are updated frequently (usually at least once every few days) and present time-relevant content.

What do blogs have to do with material handling? According to technorati.com, there are currently more than 50 million blogs available online and two new ones are created every second. Many blogs are nothing more than online diaries, though many others provide useful insight on a particular topic. The proliferation of blogs means that at least some of your customers are likely to come across them.

With the addition of the online magazine MHEDA Edge, MHEDA now has a blog. To date, it is the only blog dedicated to material handling. Throughout its first year of existence, the MHEDA Edge blog (at www.mhedaedge.org/blog) featured authors posting topics in their areas of expertise. Jack Martin, aftermarket sales manager of Superior Tire & Rubber Corporation, wrote about aftermarket customer service. Mike Romano, president of Associated Material Handling Industries (Carol Stream, IL), wrote about industry awareness. James Johnson, service manager at Oram Material Handling Systems (Kansas City, KS); Nancy Lee, IT director at Modern Group (Bristol, PA); and other Edgers wrote about technology’s place in the industry, including why technicians need laptops.

MHEDA recently sent a survey to “Edgers,” who indicated that 40 percent of them read blogs. That number will surely climb as the industry becomes infused with younger people more familiar with the technology. Wouldn’t you like them to be reading about your company?

Starting a Blog

Ease of startup is one of the best things about blogs. All it takes is a computer and the right software. For those who want to start publishing for their material handling business, but do not have Web hosting, try hosted services such as TypePad, Blogger or LiveJournal. These services handle all the technical aspects for you, so you don’t need to be a techie to figure it out. If you have Web hosting capability, self-hosted packages such as Movable Type or WordPress are possibilities. Every option offers different attributes and applications to fit your needs, expertise and budget. Business owners should set out guidelines to keep the blog free of trade secrets, inside information or libelous comments. Also be sure to monitor comments posted by others to avoid spam. Choose the best package for you, and start typing!

 

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association

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