I’ve been wracking my brains trying to come up with an appropriate theme for my very first Out-Smarts blog and then it came to me. What better way to start a blog than to tell people why anyone would want to blog anyway – from a sales and marketing perspective of course!
First of all, for the uninitiated (and there aren’t many out there these days) according to Wikipedia, a blog is “a user-generated website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological”. These online logs are: updated often; usually informal; tend to be unregulated and have unique or interesting content.
Many people associate blogging with personal web pages where people spout about their lives and experiences. It’s true – it seems that there’s a blog out there on any subject you care to mention but blogging is by no means limited to narcissists among us. There are some very attractive benefits to be reaped for companies that blog wisely.
The benefits of blogging from a company’s standpoint are intangible and therefore its difficult to apply a dollar amount to them but they can be measured in terms of:
Increased brand awareness – the more people that read your blog the more people become aware of your offering and the more established your brand becomes.
Enhanced customer service – a blog is the perfect media to communicate messages to your customers and partners. But remember, citizens of the blogosphere don’t like to be sold to so make sure your blog adds value by giving product updates or soliciting for suggestions on how to improve your offering.
Visibility a blog is a great way to present your companies unique offering and to spread the word that you’re out there and open for business.
Open Communication Channels – a blog is a 2-way thing, it’s a relationship between you and the outside world. Readers and commentators can include not only your clients, customers and employees but also your competition. It’s the perfect forum to measure market trends and attitudes and to communicate with key players in your industry.
Enhanced Search Engine Positioning – Internet search engines like web pages that are updated regularly so by adding a blog to your website, your page will go up in the ratings and your site will attract more traffic to your site.
Networking– by publishing a blog you are presenting yourself as an expert in the field you chose to blog on. If your blog is insightful it will help you establish yourself within your peer group building trust within a community and in turn giving you trusted contacts that will help you build your business
As I discovered myself, getting up and running with a blog is easy; it doesn’t need to cost that much and anyone can do it (given a little time and effort). With some blogging software and a server you can be off to the races in no time.
All sounds too good to be true? Well, the number of people writing blogs online is forecast (by Forrester) to reach 100,000 people this year with another 200 million former bloggers out there. So the challenge becomes how to get yourself heard above all of the dotsam and netsam out there. Doing so will be the subject of subsequent blogs on this site.