There has been a lot going on about corporate blogging and business blogging, but what exactly are the uses of blogs in business? How can blogs help business and produce measurable results?
The fact is that blogs are just another tool – a tool that enables a non-technically trained person to publish on the Internet! In fact, you can say that a blog is just another content management system. All it does is to manage the content (your posts) that you key in everyday.
So in actual fact, blogs do not help the business. It is what the blogger does, that helps the business. What you do with that blog is really what makes the difference.
Man! So what’s the fuss about business blogging and corporate blogging?
If what I said above about “blog are just another tool” is true, then is business blogging worthwhile in the first place? What are the advantages of blog marketing? Is that just a load of hype?
I think in order to embrace blog marketing, one has to stand from a non-technologist viewpoint. The Internet has brought about endless possibilities for businesses all around the world, with all its features and advantages like being a mediating technology, being a wonderful distribution channel with global reach, instant access and so on.
geeks technologists have long “moved online”, to create systems like eBay, Amazon and Google, there is still a big portion of the world struggling to get those HTML codes right, wondering why their hyperlinks don’t work, and wondering how to get their images resized.
To these people, starting a website is a NIGHTMARE! I’ve seen them in some of the workshops I have attended. I think they would rather eat a live cockroach than to be asked to examine a page of HTML code! …not to mention programming, PHP, and all the
geekier more advanced stuff.
Blogs have opened their doors.
I have noticed for myself, how much satisfaction and sense of accomplishment some of my workshop participants have when they can actually type a URL in Internet Explorer and say “I built this from scratch all by myself!”
Blogs make it easy for them (business owners included!) to get started online. With blogging platforms like Blogger, WordPress and TypePad, really – anyone CAN get started with a blog.
So business blogging begins. Non-tech savvy business people can move online, and bring their business along with them.
Back to the topic. How then can businesses use blogs?
Now the picture is different. Now we know that the people who can get online are not only the ones who studied computing or computer engineering in school, but people who have spent time acquiring knowledge about their particular niche business area, may it be cooking, baking, automobiles, banking services or hotels.
By maintaining a blog, they establish their online presence. By continually posting on a niche topic which their business are into, they establish themselves as an authority online, even if they are one-man-shows like myself, working from their teeny home in the middle of a desert town. By contributing in other people blogs, they build relationships with the important people in the industry… and we know marketing and branding is all about building trust and building relationships.
You won’t buy anything from someone you don’t trust, would you?
That is why blogs are wonderful tools for businesses to connect to their customers and other stakeholders. Its about going back to the fundamentals – building trust and relationships. In the Publish and Prosper book by DL Byron and Steve Broback, they mentioned three possible focuses:
- Public Relations
- Customer Service
Put simply, they are:
- Building Trust
- Winning Trust
- Keeping Trust
Blogging in business can be done in many ways, but ultimately its all boils down to managing trust.