I have been blogging for several years now and am a big proponent of blog use. In fact, last week I was conducting a webinar and got carried away preaching about the importance of company blogging. During the webinar I was asked again if having a blog was “essential” for a company. The questioner wanted to know specifically why I felt having a blog was important and wanted specific examples and ideas of good blogs so they had some direction in their blog planning. In other words – don’t just tell me to have a blog because its important, but tell me why it is important and give me specific examples and ideas of blogs who are doing things the right way. So, I gave my spill of answers. But then I got to thinking if the people who are following me on Twitter had the same or similar answers – and they did! (BTW, I appreciate all of you who answered me).
My Question was: “Should businesses have a blog? Why or why not?”
Here is the general summary of the Twitter answers above, and I will expand on each one.
- A platform to be the expert – This is your industry, you have the opportunity to set the bar high. With a little research on places like Twitter, Yahoo Answers and other questions and answer websites, you can figure out what questions people are asking about your industry and provide them with (your) industry standard answers and insights. This is one of the best ways to add much needed content to your site, provide value, and become an expert online in your field. By the way, creating blog posts with this kind of information is one of the best ways to start blogging for those of you who are afraid to get your feet wet.
- Give your company a personality – Be yourself. If you can come across as an individual who cares, rather then a corporation pushing a product or service it will serve you much better! Let potential customers get to know the person behind the company and trust will follow.
- Search Engine Optimization – Think about how awesome it would be if you could create a piece of content, and have it indexed and ranking on Google (or other search engines) on the same day. If your website is providing enough value, and has enough trust, this is exactly what can happen. Having a blog gives you more of an opportunity to be found for additional keywords that you normally may not be going after. It is much easier to link to good content inside of blogs too, and we know how important people linking to us is. Blogs have many built in capabilities for sharing content too, which helps with the link building.
- Help with staying relevant – Don’t just have a blog to have a blog because everyone else is doing it. The goal of your blog should be to help you company be more relevant from an information standpoint. Because, that is what people are looking for these days – news and information from individuals, companies, etc. Your blog is also one of the best facilitators for interacting with and embracing social networks, which in turn allow people to share your content. If you are using blogging platforms like WordPress for example, there are many plugins that make sharing your content and information with others easy. That alone helps you stay relevant, people who use these platforms to find information understand that your blog is an up to date relevant source of information.
These 4 reasons in some form or another really do sum up my feelings as to why online businesses need blogs. Of course there could be more advanced additional answers that might include… push viral content , syndicate videos, etc. But we need to take baby steps, and for now you I think that if you can both understand and start to implement the above 4 things, you will be setting out on the right path!