The folks over at Advanced Business Blogging are doing a series called 21 Applications of Business Blogs for Small Business Growth. Over the next 21 days they will be posting a new idea about how blogging can help your business. They are going to look at 13 external applications of blogs, as well as 8 internal applications. In many cases, if you simply substitute the word “library” for the word “business”, many of the points offered are very relevant to the business of libraries.
The first tip is to use a blog as an FAQ page:
The native organization feaure of blogs that puts the newest post at the top of the page makes it easy to find the most recent questions. And the built in navigation of blog software using categories makes a FAQ business blog more intuitive than a forum for most users. Combine these two features with the right strategy and youï¿½ll have a powerful, convenient, and interactive FAQ resource that not only answers questions for your clients, but also becomes an intuitive online learning resource for your products or services.
Many libraries are already using blogs in this way for internal communications. Our Reference Blog, as discussed in a previous post, serves as an FAQ page for our reference staff and students. Our staff can look at the page, view the most recent post, and be prepared to face the issue or question of the day.
The comments feature of blogs might be particularly useful in this area as well. If the question in the FAQ page is not answered satisfactorily, then a reader of the page can comment and ask a more direct question. The question could then be answered in another comment, or in another blog post. Because the question was posted as a comment, other readers who might have had the same question will know that the question is being addressed, or perhaps this will raise additional questions.
I originally set up my Business Blog to serve as sort of an online FAQ. Since many of the students that I deal with are all working on very similar projects, sometimes it is useful (and much easier on me) to post some hints online. Now I don’t tell the students the page numbers of books that have the particular statistic that they need, I just point them to appropriate resources for the project. This saves them time and in turn, it saves me from answering the same question over and over again. When I first set up the blog, I had lofty dreams that this would be a very interactive resource. I imagined that business students could post comments about what resources worked for them, or perhaps suggest an entirely different resource. I had hoped that they might ask questions in the comments, which I could answer in the comments or another post. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. While the blog has gotten a lot of use, the comments feature has not been used at all. Unless, of course, all my students are doing projects on texas hold-em online poker.