Business webinars helping local companies collaborate
Airdrie Economic Development (AED) is continuing its series of business webinars into the spring.
The next installment is titled ‘Why your business should have a blog,’ and will be presented by Edmonton software developer Mack Male on March 7.
Kent Rupert, AED team leader, said by providing the option to take the webinar in person at City hall, it gives people the chance to network and collaborate with other businesspeople in Airdrie.
“The biggest thing is just sitting down with peers, we usually facilitate a conversation after of what works specifically for Airdrie, what might not work, or ideas depending on the topic,” said Rupert.
“It’s face-to-face collaborating with your business peers.”
There are webinars scheduled up to May 23, with topics ranging from hiring to business plans.
“Sometimes it’s based around marketing or sometimes it’s based around doing their books and the accounting side,” said Rupert, adding the City surveyed the community in 2011 with a business satisfaction survey.
“Certainly we try to make sure that we’re in tune with what’s happening in this community and build the courses around it.
“We’re always out there talking to those businesses and keeping a pulse of what we think people’s needs are and inquiring of what people’s needs are and then go forward from that.”
The survey showed that businesses were interested in enhanced online services, and the amount of respondents satisfied with business-to-business networking opportunities was approximately 60 per cent.
At the time, just 24 per cent of respondents were aware of AED’s presentations.
Male, who will be presenting from Edmonton, will focus his presentation on the benefits of a blog as compared to simply being active on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
“I think a blog is a great way to hang all of those social media things off of it,” said Male.
“If you post something on Twitter or Facebook it’s great to have a place for those postings to actually point back to. And a blog can be a great repository for that kind of information.
“It’s a great way to be able to go back in time. Twitter for instance, good luck finding what I tweeted last week, let alone last year, whereas with a blog that can be really easy to do.”
Male suggests interested businesses use one of two platforms to get started. For the beginner blogger, there’s Tumblr, which is widely used by photographers and is very easy to use. For instance, if you think posting a number of photos might draw people to your business, Tumblr could be for you.
“You get the ability to put in any kind of content you want,” said Male. “You can mix in photos and videos and all those kind of things into a blog.”
For those who are a little more media savvy, there’s Wordpress, which Male calls “the best blogging platform out there.”
And knowing how to write computer coding is not necessary, as Wordpress has customized templates available. Making changes is as easy as changing the text or photographs in your dashboard.
“A blog is a great way to be able to push out information and keep people up to date,” added Male. “I typically advise people when they’re starting a blog for a business to not just blog about their products but to blog about the industry that they’re in.
“Blogs are not meant for things like press releases, they’re meant to be a little more conversational, letting people peak behind the curtain and getting a sense of who the people are.”
It’s another way for your business to stay top of mind, said Male.
“Even if what you’re selling isn’t something somebody is going to buy every day, when they need that, you want them to think about you,” he said.
For a schedule of webinars or to sign up for them, visit the Airdrie Economic Development section of the City of Airdrie’s website at www.airdrie.ca