The benefits of corporate blogging

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?

Use of blogging in business: its all about trust

Use of blogging in businessThere 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.

While the 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! :mrgreen: …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:

  1. Marketing
  2. Public Relations
  3. Customer Service

Put simply, they are:

  1. Building Trust
  2. Winning Trust
  3. Keeping Trust

Blogging in business can be done in many ways, but ultimately its all boils down to managing trust.

Blogs are a nuisance, but corporations have no choice.

Corporate BloggingJust a couple of days ago, I met up with some senior executive officers in a very well established Singapore based MNC, and I was there because I was called upon to discuss my training proposal for the company.

So there I went. One of the days of my proposed training was all about blog marketing and corporate blogging. After my short introduction of the course outline, the executives started to comment about the blog marketing segment, and its seems to me that these executives are yet to be open enough to accept blogs as a marketing tool. To them, blogs are still only online diaries, still nonsensical ramblings and frustration vents for individuals.

In fact, one very strong statement that they said that got really sunk into my head was… “Blogs are a nuisance!”


To be frank, I was really kind of taken aback by the statement – that big corporations like these are still yet to embrace the newer kinds of media on the web. I was disturbed. Is blog marketing still SO new in my area? Or am I just talking to the wrong department?

One thing for sure, I see a tremendous opportunity ahead of me, because I know blog marketing and corporate blogging is going to be a big hit.

Corporations have no choice

Seriously. I take reference back to the state of the blogosphere report in October 2006, when there were 57 million blogs tracked by Technorati (the numbers would probably be close to 100 million by now).

57 million blogs. Let’s say just a super minute 1% of them are active – that’s 570,000! 570,000 active conversations on the Internet! If you are representing a multinational company, I would say at least one would be talking about the company, right? I checked through a Technorati search, and its definitely more than one! 🙂

That one conversation can be something good (which is great for your company), or it can be something not so good. The point is, the corporation needs to participate in these conversations, to address issues that people are facing with the use of your products, to know how people feel about your customer service officers, or even if people out there are thinking that you are employing false advertising (which is in fact what is happening for this company)… BEFORE the journalists and researchers from the mainstream media pick the stories up and blows that to the daily papers.

Even if no one is talking about your company on the blogosphere, this would be a brilliant opportunity to get a good word out… because if you don’t, your competitors will anyway.

Corporations have no choice but to embrace blog marketing, and they need to start now. (or rather, yesterday! :mrgreen: )

When I talk about blog marketing, I don’t mean that every corporation must start a corporate blog like Bob Lutz of GM or the recent one by Bill Marriot. I mean that the corporation must be active and aware of the blogosphere.

Blogs ARE the long tail of opinions and blogs ARE the new media. Its undeniable and there is nothing you can do to stop this, unless you send people to cut the underwater Internet cables every week :mrgreen: Sites like Blogger and WordPress have made it so easy to get started with a blog, and really, even my 12 year old cousin has a blog!

I know, blogs are also a nuisance… but that is only when you allow them to. Every negative situation handled well can be turned into a brilliant opportunity for you to get word about about your company in a positive way. Handle these nuisance well, and soon you will start to appreciate, or even yearn for more nuisance!

Corporations have no choice. Have you started?

3 reasons why 30 blog visitors are better than 300 website visitors

It has been going around that “blog visitors don’t click on ads”; blog visitors come for information, so they read your post (sometimes they just subscribe to your feeds!) and then off they go. I personally think this is true… to an extent. It all depends on what area you are blogging about. If your blog is very related to Internet Marketing, or is targeted at tech-savvy people, your ads will probably not perform well.

At least, that is what Problogger said, a couple of days back.

Why then, are there so many people blogging? Why don’t they just start a Joomla! site, or just upload some static pages?

Let me give you 3 great reasons, why I would prefer 30 visitors to my blog, than 300 visitors to a normal website.

1. Blogs invite participation

When you go to an informative website, you will probably be presented with an article. After your read the article what do you do? For myself, I would either (1) bookmark the article if it is bookmark worthy (2) click on a link that takes me elsewhere (3) leave the site altogether.

When people choose option 2, that is probably when an ad click is recorded.

Contrast that to what happens when you read a blog post. A powerful blog post is one that relates to your target audience, and often, it ends with a question! What is your first instinct when a question is posed to you?

You answer! Yes! Exactly!

Blogs invite readers to comment, critique, interact and clarify. When that happens, you have essentially engaged your reader in a conversation!

2. Blogs have more returning visitors

Let’s say you bump on a normal website with a very interesting article. Would you come back the next day, expecting more articles? Probably not.

What about a blog? The frequency of the posts presented on the front page of the blog shows how active the blog is. If the frequency shows that a post is made almost every single day, this will draw the reader back the next day, expecting a new post! So, then, you automatically get returning visitors for a blog!

In fact, this becomes even more interesting when the reader has previously left a comment. He will not only check the main page for new posts, but also get back into the previous posts to see if anyone else can added on to his comment!

3. Blogs let you get to know your readers

Very often, on a website, you don’t know who is the person behind the website… and you don’t really bother anyway.

The power of blogs are in building relationships. Because of the conversational style of writing in blogs, we intrinsically know that there is a person behind the blog.

Let me give an example using this blog! Over the last couple of months, I have made over a hundred and fifty posts on this blog, and in the process, I’ve also gotten to know quite a number of people – some very big names in the business blogging industry, and even several book authors! In fact, I’ve never gotten to know so many people outside my own country before!

I could have built this same information that I have published on this blog over into a website with over a 150 pages, but I’d bet I wouldn’t know as much people… because there will be no conversation!

When people think about online marketing – the first things that come up to mind is contextual ad system, affiliate links and selling your products online. Its true, blogs may not be the best platform to do that. However, I think blogs are the best tool so far for you to really build a relationship with people in your industry (whom you can collaborate with in the future), your customers (to give them the lastest updates) and your prospects.

Don’t limit yourself to just Adsense. Think wider. Think about business. Think about relationships.