Some might argue that a blog is written by someone who's just chattering away and enjoying the clattering of his or her own keyboard (and there is some of that out there, no doubt) ... but businesses can reap real monetary rewards from blogging with the right focus.
Setting goals for your business blog is critical to your blog's success. To start goal-setting, it's important to see what potential benefits are available from creating and maintaining a company blog. This list is by no means exhaustive, but gives an overview of the top ten benefits to review when setting goals for your business blog. After reading through them, decide for yourself if blogging for business is just chatter, or chum.
What is a blog? A blog is an journal, or web log written about whatever the writer feels like writing about: personal, political, or business topics, (there are also blogs written by the mainstream media). You’re reading a blog right now if you are reading this post! You can subscribe to a blog using RSS which allows you to read the blog in a newsreader service like: Bloglines, Google Reader. Use a search engine like Technorati or Google Blog Search to find blogs that you’re interested in. Blogs should be installed on your existing website and customized (by someone like Inspired 2 Design).
Blogs are a form of social media. They are designed for both outbound marketing (the post goes out), and inbound marketing (interested people read and subscribe) and for two way communication (feedback through comments). Blogs are also viral - meaning that good content can be redistributed across the Internet.
Why should a business have a blog?
- Blogging builds your brand (honesty and transparency is the key - at I2D we call it Our 5-C's Philosophy)
- A blog allows direct communication (two-way dialog opens up opportunity for you to learn what your customers want)
- Blogging builds relationships (humanizes your company)
- Blog to gain the competitive edge (test new ideas quickly with your client base)
- Blogging positions you as an expert (you know your business, let everyone know that you know)
- Blogging is a Public Relations tool (and allows for Reputation Management)
- Blogging creates search engine paradise (content is king)
- A blog reeks of freshness (stay up-to-the-minute with trends, projects, new products/services, and more)
- A blog can be cost effective (time is money, but who's counting? Seriously though, no technical skill is required to post to your blog)
- A blog can reflect your corporate culture (delegate to employees and build a team of corporate bloggers)
Successful goal setting must consider the bad as well as the good. So, flip the coin, and let's take a look at some potential hurdles you may need to jump to reap the rewards. What challenges accompany blogging?
- Constant content (what to write about)
- Resources (time, staff, guest bloggers)
- Popularity (how do you get people to visit your blog)
- Conversion (how do you make money from your blog)
- Measuring (how do you measure the benefits)
And those answers are the subject for another post (hint on the content challenge!).