"We’ve already got a website, so why do we need a blog too?"
It’s becoming increasingly important to represent your brand or business with a blog in corporate cyberspace today. There are a number of benefits to be had from embracing the technology, some more obvious than others.
Here’s my ‘top ten’ list of why it’s crucial to consider a blog for your business – if you haven’t done so already. If you have – congratulations – read on to make sure you’re making the most of one of the ‘hottest’ digital marketing trends of the past few years.
1) Personify your business – lose that ‘faceless’ corporate image and present a softer, more accessible side. With a blog you’ll ensure that visitors to your site see there are real people behind that snazzy business branding.
2) Manipulate publicity and press – use your blog as an outlet for comment and retaliation to press, both good and bad. Turn negative publicity on its head, use it as a point for discussion and benefit from extra, relevant site content and visitor interaction. They do say that ‘all publicity is good publicity’ after all.
3) Low cost, instant publishing – add new content quickly and easily at a fraction of the cost of traditional media. You don’t even have to get your web design team or agency involved. With a blog you can post straight from your desktop in no time. Respond immediately to breaking news and current affairs and get people talking.
4) Build brand buzz – get people interested in what you’re doing as a business. How can you expect people to be excited about what you do, unless you show it?
5) Sell indirectly – benefit from an extra channel for sales. There’s no need to force sales, a blog offers the opportunity to ease potential customers into position in their own time, without the need for the traditional ‘hard sell’.
6) Become a household name – subscribers to your blog can see your posts each time you update when they check their RSS reader or blog syndication application, like Google Reader or Yahoo’s Pipes. The more interesting and relevant the content, the more exposure your brand will gain. And if you become an authority in a field i.e. with an opinion that people respect and trust, this exposure can increase greatly.
7) Breathe new life into press releases – historically these would go out by email or newswire, perhaps to catch a 9am inbox-scan with hazy eyes, only to never be looked at again. Conversely presenting press releases in a blog allows your site to benefit from fresh content which will be indexed by the search engines.
8) Create link bait – one well-constructed, thought-provoking blog post might be deemed interesting enough to be picked up and made ‘hot’ by one of the major social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Technorati, Stumbleupon or Digg. What better way to market your brand than capitalise on the ‘viral effect’ and let other people do it for you?
9) Marketing you can measure – visits, traffic sources and comment frequency can all be measured, compared and analysed. Historically it’s been difficult to measure the "buzz" about a brand or product, the traditional method in printed media uses the concept of ‘column inches’. Analytics packages and modern blogging platforms allow for a complete breakdown of visits, visitor activity and page popularity.
10) Understand your customers – what better way to find out how existing and potential customers feel about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and any changes you’re making, than through informal discussion online? Spark a debate and learn what you can do to make the experience more satisfying.