Well, that sure is an easy question to answer...
Seriously, there are some considerable benefits to blogging, as a company. Sure, we all likely have one (or two, or three...) blogs, as well as a personal facebook profile. Many also have a LinkedIn profile in the unlikely event of a change in the economy... However, very few businesses have realized the power of a blog from their company.
Creating and maintaining an open blog for your company will generate additional revenue.
Perhaps difficult to believe, but in my experience, this is entirely true. A number of factors prove this to be true, but the highlights are:
- Producing online content in a blog offers another opportunity for your site to appear to web searchers
- Blog content is more readily available for others (including search engines) to drive traffic to your site
- Blogs can more easily be syndicated to additional sites online expanding your reach
- It really is the customers who make a difference - and making a personal connection takes your business a long way.
First, this chart from emarketer's recent report shows the clear trend in increased corporate blogging. Notice the rapid growth of the trend. Of course, just because everyone else is doing it isn't necessarily the best reason to jump off the bridge, or blog wagon...
Here are just a few examples to prove this point.
More chances to be seen
Provided your blog is posted at a different domain than your main site, and does a good job of linking between itself and your marketing and e commerce sites, you can gain extra visibility. Blogs tend to have more content than your promotional site, and tend to be updated more regularly. Therefore, by hosting a blog, more content is posted more regularly, improving your chances of discovery.
Smart Web Users will see you quickly
The past few years have given rise to continued enhancements and new features in search. Many smart business owners are using basic web tools for reputation management (more on this some other time). Posting content in a blog almost ensures more visibility through those notifications.
By way of example, I personally use the "Google Alert" program to monitor several specific queries and types of content online. In the tool, Google sends an email (or RSS message) when content matching the parameters is posted. This is a great way to keep tabs on competition, customers, or trends in your market.
A few days ago, a post went up on this site linking to, and discussing, the website DailyGrommet.com. Since Jules and her team are on the ball, they very quickly saw the post, and proceeded to comment on the article. You can see the post and comments for Sneaky or Smart. (If you're watching, thanks again Jules for such a fine example!)
What's the point here? Those who run the website have their act together, so likely have little need of my help or expertise. However, merely by posting a blog with a mention and link to their site, they stumbled upon the site, engaged, and opened a conversation which otherwise wouldn't happen.
Open to syndication
Because most blogging platforms rely on fairly basic functionality, they have some built-in features that are prime for standardization. Most blogging tools (wordpress, typepad, blogger are all best bets) all include basic RSS functionality.
Let's not scare ourselves with RSS - Really Simple Syndication - it happens automatically as a part of these tools. The value in these for this discussion is simple. Each blog post you make generates a new entry in the RSS feed.
This means by blogging, you can instantly have a universally usable file of your blog content to send to another website as free content (in trade for acknowledging and linking to your site).
Customers Love You
Gone are the days of one-way conversations where businesses, magazines, experts, etc. speak unidirectionally and we poor consumers take their word for it. The advent of social media, user ratings, etc. forces honesty in business. As a pleasant side effect, it gives us a direct connection to our consumers.
A client of ours recently noticed in reviewing her website activity something that surprised her. The articles, posts, images, etc. that were most often clicked, shared or commented were those showing her personal travels and experiences. We all like to drink from the fountain of our own wisdom, yet consumers who look to us gain far more trust in us... not only our products.
Not sure how to get started with your own blog platform or strategy?