Lately, I met up with a research student from the university I used to be studying in. We spent an hour and a half over coffee at Starbucks, where he interviewed me about blogging and blog marketing.
Heh. Well, I learnt that I’m clearly in the wrong faculty when I was studying. This research project was from the business school. I was way off, I was in computing!
One of the questions that he posed was this – What are the benefits of blogging for business? Afterall, it does take effort and resources to build a corporate blog. What are the returns?
I gave it further thought when I got back that day, and here are nine points.
#1 Blogs are great for search engine marketing
Blogs are search traffic magnets. Seeing from the wholly technical perspective, blogs are actually just content management systems, and just by writing an article a day, a business can very quickly build up a massive blog archive packed with keyword rich articles! Content is food for the search engine spiders. The blog archives are a feast for the spiders. Since you have fed them well, they are sure to return the favour and feed you with traffic!
#2 Blogs build and brands your company to be a thought leader in your industry
People think a lot everyday, but not a lot take time to pen down these thoughts. Penning your business thoughts on your corporate blog forces you to think even harder about your industry. If you think hard enough and keep working on the ideas you thought about yesterday, you can be sure you will hit gold.
#3 Blogs are great crisis handlers
Blogs give you the power to publish at an instant. With a blog, companies do not need to write a full article and then send them through the traditional media to be published 24 hours later. Everything is instant. This makes the blog a very powerful update tool – great for crisis handling. Its like buying insurance – you’d never know when you’d need your blog to be the company’s voice to the media and the world.
#4 Blogs help to engage customers in conversation, and help in building relationships
Relationship marketing is nothing new. The more trust and familiarity between two entities, the higher the possibility of a transaction. Blogs are emails done with “pull” technology. Emails are effective but spam is destroying it (if not now, soon).
#5 Blogs help to put a human voice to a company
Because of the conversational nature of blogs (as opposed to journalistic writing), blogs put a human voice to the company. I don’t know about you, but I prefer talking to humans than automated telephone answering machines, or contact forms linked to automated support ticket systems. 🙂
#6 Blogs help you show the world that you have nothing to hide
Nobody likes dealing with people who keep dark secrets and refuse to reveal anything. I’m not saying that business should not have secrets. Business secrets are necessary, and can still be well kept with proper education of staff and a proper blogging policy. A blog helps your stake holders see that you have nothing to hide against them, that you are not cheating them of their money or stuff like that. This builds trust.
#7 Customer service and feedback
As a direct communications channel, blogs provide an avenue for your to solicit feedback from your customers, and understand their needs. With a global reach, it also give you more time with your customers, so you can give them the service they love – so they can spread the word for you.
#8 Blogs are a differentiator
Well, this may change, but judging from the corporate websites I see today, I would say at least 80% are “there because they need website”. A blog pulls you over your competitors and makes you different. At least, your website presence is different.
#9 Blogging encourages you to find out what others are talking about you
Corporate blogging does not only mean maintaining a blog, but also monitoring the blogosphere. At the rate news travel on the blogosphere, you need to be in at the right place at the right time to address any issues. Monitoring the blogosphere is no longer a choice, in my opinion. If you are not aware of what people are saying about you online, its time to turn your business offline.
What other benefits are there in corporate blogging? Care to add to this list?