Are you blogging with purpose?

More than 50 percent of Web surfers now read blogs, but only about 13 percent of people online update them regularly, according to a new study. Those are some telling numbers, so it should be no surprise that keeping an up-to-date blog is a great way to increase your presence on the Web.

Staying on top of your blogging means you have to keep your content fresh. Too often, companies think of blogs one-dimensionally, as self-serving PR outlets—a sure-fire way to drive away potential readers. Don’t get me wrong; blogs are an excellent way to promote your band, and I highly encourage you to start one! However, you have to make sure you are providing content readers can use to show them you have something unique to offer. This is the challenge of online media.

What I’m saying is there is no such thing as free advertising. Even in the digital age, you have to give in order to receive. Web surfers search out good content and will stick with a good source if it continues to provide. That source of content needs to be you! Share what you know about your field; give advice; offer suggestions and opinions.

The wonderful—and challenging—thing about the Web is that it is not a passive media like television. If surfers don’t like what they are reading—or get turned off by obstructive advertising—they can simply click away and go somewhere else. And as the Web grows and users become savvier and more aware of the many options out there, they become pickier about where they spend their time online.

So how do you get them to stick around?

Content, content, content: You need to find a way to add to the discussion on the Web. I bet you are not alone in your industry, and I bet there are many blogs that cover your field’s same topics. That means you have to offer something unique that will stand out. One method of approach is to read those other blogs, and offer your own angle and voice. This will make you stand out and look like a competitive player.

Update regularly: Stay on top of your blog. Updating regularly will show you have a wealth of valuable information to give to the world. You will give readers a reason to come back and build a reputation online.

Blog on hot, current topics: Reading news aggregators is a great way to keep up-to-date on the latest news in your field. A simple Web search will reveal a wealth of news aggregators to fit your industry. From there, you can find a hot topic that you know something about and give it a go. But don’t use aggregators as a crutch or you will look unoriginal.

The most important thing to remember is that blogging is all about giving readers something valuable and useful. You don’t have a lot to lose by blogging, but you sure have a lot to gain if you do it right!