Posted on Aug. 20, 2007
- Increase visibility for your company
- Reach out to your customers with fresh content and frequent updates
- Enrich clients’ understanding of your business, products, services, etc.
- Communicate effectively with your target audience and gain insight on upcoming trends
- Generate awareness for upcoming products and events
- Test new ideas by using your blog as a forum to gain valuable customer feedback
- Contact a global audience with a global medium
- Position yourself as a thought leader or nexus of change
- Manage projects and share knowledge internally
- Highlight success stories and relevant case studies
By now, everyone has heard the term “blog” somewhere, and it’s more than likely that almost everyone has read a blog at some point in the last few years. Blogging is fast becoming an integral part of many companies’ online marketing initiatives and web presence. Clearly, blogs aren’t just for tech nerds, obsessive political fanatics, and hippie teenagers anymore.
But how many of us know how blogging works and why it’s become so popular with online marketers? More importantly, how many of us actually understand how to use a blog to boost business online? Surprisingly, very few of us. This article will explore how to do just that by providing ten reasons you need to start blogging (if you haven’t already).
Within the online space, many marketers are conscious of the impact a blog can make on an online business. In fact, “Blogging in the Enterprise,” a study conducted by GuideWireGroup for iUpload, indicates that as many as 89 percent of companies currently blog or plan to start in the near future. The study also found that a much higher percentage of small businesses were blogging. Currently, almost sixty percent of the corporate blogosphere is composed of companies with 100 employees or less. So why are so many companies blogging?
The answer is simple yet profound. Blogs are a multi-dimensional communication channel that can be utilized for a variety of purposes. Whether you need to draw traffic to your site, get customer feedback, generate awareness, communicate with customers or those within your own organization, blogs are a quick, easy, and effective way to create an online presence without knowing even a single line of code. So, if you have a keyboard, a mouse, and an internet connection, you’re ready to start publishing your own blog. But before you begin typing away, consider which of the above goals you’ll use your blog to achieve. The company I work for, Denver-based Fusionbox, is one such company. Using a blog platform onsite, we’ve been able to create a place where employees can post content related to the services we offer, including web design, web development, and search engine marketing. Clients, both current and potential, can visit this section of the site to catch up on news, upcoming events and trends, or just read some of the articles we’ve written about the online marketing space.
So consider the following: Not only do blogs allow you to publish and distribute fresh content on as frequent a basis as you like, but also remember that Google and other search engines grant high value to blog content due to the frequent updates, links and networks, and archival nature of the blog platform itself. Thanks to the Google algorithm, this makes blogs a valuable tool for search engine optimization and improved organic search positioning.
As you’ve seen, blogs are the perfect channel for sustained communication with your customer base; they present a friendly, informal voice that visitors come to know and trust. So now that you’ve identified the purpose(s) of your blog, you can begin to create and publish content designed to further that ambition.
One of the most popular reasons companies (and especially small businesses) are blogging is to increase visibility. Use your blog to present information about your company and what you’ve got to offer that your competitors don’t.
Along the same lines, reach out to your customer base by placing your content where you know they’ll spend their time online. Research where they go and what they’re looking for, then position your content as the information destination. This will allow you to enrich clients’ understanding of your business. In addition, by updating your blog frequently (best practices show that you should add content at least three times a week, if not daily) you’ll begin to build a relationship with interested readers.
Perhaps the most important advantage of using a blog is that it allows you to generate awareness about an upcoming event or product release. Like a press release, your blog will act as a source of news and notify readers of changes you think they need to be aware of. The inherent ability of blogs to connect readers to you and each other is an excellent place to start building networks, and oftentimes you’ll be able to gain insight on upcoming trends through these connections.
On the other hand, your blog is an invaluable source of all types of feedback. Because nearly all blog platforms allow readers to post comments on your content, you can test new ideas and let customers tell your directly about their experience with your product or company. Similarly, blogs are a perfect tool to present success stories and relevant case studies to readers.
A blog is essentially the perfect tool for internal knowledge and project management. It acts as a public domain where anyone involved in the company can share their experiences or update co-workers on the status of a project.
As mentioned before, blogs are the ideal tool to create online content and then build connections around this content. The more readers that come to see what thoughts you’ve got to offer, the more incoming links you’ll gain as they link to your content. In this way, blogs also function as a tool for search engine optimization, and once you’ve built a community around your content, you’ll position yourself as an industry thought leader and nexus of change. Just make sure that the content you’ve got to offer is unique, engaging, and relevant.
As blogs continue to become the most efficient channel for businesses to communicate with a Web 2.0 audiences, it’s critical that you and your company begin blogging to either catch up with the competition or distance yourself from it. As we’ve seen, blogging is becoming an integral aspect of online marketing initiatives and web presence. So blog away!