Originally posted June 6th, 2012. Updated: January 15th 2013
In its infancy more than a decade ago the Blog (short for “web log”) was a sort of online personal journal or diary. Millions of people the world over blog today. Some about their daily lives, others about hobbies and interests. Really, think of any subject at all and it’s likely that there is already a blog about it. Should you start a blog for your company, and what’s the point?
It’s difficult to see what possible use an online diary could serve for a business. Well, absolutely none at all really. But personal blogging and business blogging are two very different things. In fact, the only similarity they might have is that they utilize some of the same software.
There is a bit of confusion among business owners as to what the purpose of a blog is and what it should be used for. At many business web pages the blog section is relegated to serving coupons and press releases, updated infrequently because there isn’t a clear strategy for posting. It also may not be clear as to which department of the company should be in charge of the blog. To use the blog as an effective marketing tool a purpose and a plan for it must first be developed. As to the former, here are a few reasons why your company should start a blog:
7 Reasons for Blogging
1. Showcase your expertise
If you own a residential plumbing company you might write about the differences between tankless vs traditional water heaters, copper pipe vs PEX etc. People love free how-to guides. You’re providing information, free of charge, as a measure to establish trust and show that you know your business.
2. Establish your company as a resource in your niche
Let’s say that a homeowner who is usually a DIY sort of person has a job that needs professional attention. What if this homeowner has enjoyed your informative blog posts in the past? Which company is he going to think to go to first? The goal here is to give people a reason to know of your company and your expertise BEFORE they ever need to hire you. Even if they’ve never heard of you before, the potential customer is going to want to see evidence that your know your stuff.
3. Showcase the quality of your service
Every opportunity you get, you want to show people why they should choose your company over the competition. Don’t bad mouth your competitors though. Focus on positive points at all times. Show what you do that nobody else can do quite as well. Solicit your customers for testimonials and do a write up on the service you performed which prompted that excellent testimonial.
4. Share new developments in product or service
This one is pretty self explanatory. This is the sort of content that might ordinarily appear in press release or an advertisement, but you’re placing it in the blog for greater exposure. Remember, you’re talking to the customer, not to a journalist. Keep it informal, conversational, and for Pete sake keep the buzz words and made up acronyms down to a minimum.
5. Cross-promotion with Trusted Partners (Business-to-Business Relations)
Your company probably has businesses it provides goods and service to, or purchases them from, on a regular basis. Perhaps you even provide discounts or other considerations for one another. Why not bring the fruits of that mutually beneficial relationship into the promotional realm? Bring your business to their client base and vise versa. Remember this rule from Networking 101 though: Think about what you can give before about what you’ll get in return. Approach your business contacts from a giving standpoint and offer them free promotion, asking if they might be willing to promote your company in return.
6. Company and Industry events
A blog is a great way to promote events your company is hosting or sponsoring. Remember though, don’t just promote upcoming events. Write about the events afterwards so those who did not attend can see what they missed! You could also write about any industry related conferences, trade shows or awards ceremonies that your personnel have attended.
7. Promote your ideals
When it comes to blogging, don’t be afraid to take a stance. While your stance shouldn’t be radically polarizing, you should absolutely promote the ideals that your company stands for. This goes beyond fair pricing and top-notch customer service. If you feel strongly about being environmentally conscious in your business practices, show people how you embody that. If you feel it’s important businesses be involved in community service, write about that as well.
When you start a blog, it provides you with a reason for updating your website regularly. Sometimes when a company website hasn’t been updated in years, it looks like they aren’t taking it seriously (especially if the style is very dated). If you don’t take your website seriously, one has to wonder what else your business has a lax attitude towards. First impressions are, of course, very important. Not only that, but search engines want to see new content on your website when they’re ranking it. If your website is updated regularly with quality content you’ll rank higher than your competitors, especially if people are sharing your content.
Coming soon: Suggestions on how to set up a blog, blogging tools, and more on writing.
Thanks for reading. Any questions about how to start a blog, or blogging in general? Please share them in the comments.