To blog or not to blog? That is the question… that any company which is the slightest bit up to date on the latest trends is asking itself, and may have been asking for a long time now. Some have decided to take the plunge, others have pretended to do so and still others have decided not to test the waters. Here are 7 reasons in favour of publishing blog type content and which apply to just about any industry.
1. Bypass the the complicated process of corporate publications
By definition, the requirements of publishing a corporate website are long and involved. Coming up with ideas, meetings, writing the text, more meetings, reviewing, translation, adding text to the site and finally, putting it online. Ouf. At the same time, you have to find a place to integrate any new content into the structure of the existing site, which is not always an easy task.
A blog which shares space with the more formal content of the site makes creating new less formal content easier and allows a department or employee to publish the content directly, even if he is not technically inclined. Also, since a blog is usually addressed in the first person singular, the added content does not necessarily commit anyone other than the person who added it and the company is usually less preoccupied about content being added without going through the usual laborious process. In short, a blog working in parallel with the rest of the site allows you to create more content more often and requires fewer resources.
2. Content which reflects current events
Today’s reality is that news and current events generate searches on Google and other search engines. Bloggers also react in great numbers. The examples shown on the chart are major events but in truth, the phenomenon is the same even for small events.
Take the example of the bicycle lock which, it turns out, was able to be opened using a Bic pen. This is the kind of story that generates a lot of searches and which can be the perfect opportunity to market a product which is related to the event. The case of U padlocks is the opposite. It is the perfect occasion to respond to a controversial situation and a blog is the perfect tool to do so. The idea is to catch the searches in real time as the events take place. The standard corporate website doesn’t come close to this reaction time!
3. A blog tells a story
All sites have a page with services, a page of accomplishments, pages that take about their history and other fairly formal information. This information is often technical and usually use the jargon of the company that publishes them. A blog lets you publish in a “story teller” style which is a lot more interesting and can put a service offering into context for a particular customer. A service offering should be a clear yet stripped done presentation but this makes it difficult for all customers to identify with it. Through several stories, like case histories, success stories, problems encountered, comparisons with the competitive or substitute products or services or an analysis of industry trends, customers can see themselves much more easily. You can use blog contributions to strengthen sales efforts you have made to a potential customer or to create new opportunities when I potential customer finds your company thanks to a search engine.
4. Create credibility and generate incoming links
Writing a blog well, often and regularly allows you to quickly become a well known reference point in a given field. It also generates inbound links to your site from other bloggers or webmasters who mention an article on your blog on their own websites. The results? Incoming links which generate targeted traffic and better results in the search engines. This gives you a double credibility: votes of confidence from others and from search engines.
5. Increased performance on search engines
I already said this but it bears repeating: blogs perform very well with search engines. For several reasons:
6. Manage transparency
Today, everything ends up coming out in the wash and several specialists agree that trying to control all the information about a company is not only costly but impossible. Allowing a controlled loss of control and letting a little information slip will generate customer feedback, increase their satisfaction and often more closely follows their decision making process.
Microsoft took this direction a few years ago and their 5,000 blogs put employees, who are responsible for projects, in direct contact with their customers. Taking it even further, Microsoft’s entire intranet is now public domain. Employee presentation films, information exchanges, downloading of beta versions; everything is there. For Microsoft, it is a great way to improve their flagging image by doing… nothing. Well maybe not nothing, but almost. Bill gates and Steve Ballmer got the idea from Channel 9 in an airplane which allows passengers to hear the straight truth, rather than information which has been sanitised, which is much more reassuring.
7. Facilitate direct interaction between employees and customers
Employees are the first line of attack in many different types of companies. A senior manager of a company with tens of thousands of employees and which operates globally once said to me: “My customers are not important. Are employees are. And if I treat them like they are, the customers will have no choice but to come to us because it is here that they will be treated best.” Can you see what’s coming? Let your employees produce the content and improve the relationship you have with your customers. Your employees will feel very important.
So what are you waiting for? In many industries you may be the first company to blog and you will reap the benefits that much more.