Blogging for Business
By now I'm sure most of you have heard about blogging, an easy way to publish content to a website. You type what content you want (this is called a post), press one button and your content is now online for all the world to see.
Blogging had been more affiliated with the personal musings of a teenager or some guy at the fringe of societal norms, but now blogging is getting more popular. At the last two major political conventions this summer, for example, bloggers (as those who blog are called) took a prominent role for the first time, reporting on the happenings of the convention.
Blogging is not just a gadget for geeks but is a low cost tool that enhances the overall communication of your business, saves you time and money, improves online marketing and more.
A blog provides dynamism and life that a static website often does not have. You should take the time to determine if a blog can benefit your business' website. Here are just a few things weblogs provide:
More efficient communication
Instead of sending out newsletters and wondering if they been received, publish your newsletter as a blog. Your newsletter editor (maybe it's you) can write content for the newsletter and then simply publish your newsletter to thousands with one button. You don't have to worry about your newsletter getting caught in an anit-spam filter or not reaching the recipient for some other reason.
Easier distribution of your company's marketing message and content
Have you visited websites and seen them using content from some other source? Wouldn't it be nice if your sales agents, vendors, or others could have the headlines of your most recent articles on their web sites? Many blog services have a built-in tool that will let you easily syndicate your blog's content to other websites. Syndicating your blog's content to other websites boosts exposure to your business and keeps people better informed of new products, services, and updates.
Reduction in IT staff workload
Your web publishing staff might be over worked ensuring the freshest content is up on your company's website. Why not distribute the writing and publishing responsibilities to others? Setting up blogging for each of your employees lets them create his or her own content on demand. No longer is the responsibility of web publishing only given to a few, but everyone can now publish.
One caveat: As you spread the power of self publishing throughout the company, ensure that your employees given this responsibility are guided in what to write and what not to write.
Addition of a human dimension to your corporate culture
Your blog does not have to be a chocolate and vanilla, boring piece of work. Instead, why not turn it into a fun and "informal" part of your customer outreach. You might consider giving it a personality and filling it with 70% content NOT about your business--interesting news of the day, jokes, and etc. Then the other 30% could be more serious information about your products and services.
Adding humor and a bit of "informality" to a corporate website, via a frequently updated blog, will keep prospective customers coming back on a repeat basis.
Companies that have a very corporate-like, serious image can use a blog to add a fresh and more personal dimension to the company. Dave Young, of Wizard of Ads explains that Microsoft's recent publishing of employee blogs is a way for them to show that Microsoft is more than a tech company but a company made up of humans.
Boost in search engine marketing efforts
Dave Lakhani, President of Bold Approach, Inc. says that blogging is one of the easiest ways to get listed high in the search engines. Blog posts, when written around keywords and key phrases, end up in the top 10-20 places in the organic searches without paying a dime.
More immediate response to the media and the public
Marc Cuban, owner of the Dallas Maveriks, has a blog that he uses to keep in touch with fans of his team. Scott Allen, About.com's Entrepreneurial Guide, explained that Cuban's blog is a powerful tool in his team's response to the media, too.
As fans read information in a newspaper (or see or hear it on the radio) they can go to Cuban's blog for a fast rebuttal or reply to what was reported.
If your business is often quoted or referenced by the media, a blog can be a great tool to quickly disseminate your response to the public.
Creation of better informed employees
Chris Winfield, president of online marketing company 10e20, said that blogging has led to increased information flow to his employees.
10e20 employees use blogs to update each other on projects. Instead of e-mailing back and forth, and wondering if an e-mail was missed, a blog stores all the messages in one place and archives past posts.
A blog is NOT for every business but should at least be considered. Don't be surprised if a few entrepreneurial staff members have set up their own corporate blogs and are reaching customers or other employees already.