A blog is a place on the web where individuals or companies can regularly post information, ideas and commentary. Many people associate blogging with personal web pages or on line journals where people spout about their lives and experiences. Its true, theres a personal blog out there on any subject you care to mention but blogging is by no means limited to the narcissists among us. With over 50% of Canadians using blogs regularly, its not surprising that companies are taking note and using this technology to benefit their business.
The way that companies use blogs will vary according to the corporate culture, the market they are in, their intended audience and what they want to achieve. Here are some of the ways companies are taking advantage of blogging:
- Increase Brand Awareness – adding a blog and updating it regularly allows companies to reach a wider audience and extend their brand to markets they might not otherwise reach.
- Establish Expertise – many small to medium sized companies use blogs to prove to interested parties that they are knowledgeable in their area of expertise.
- Enhance Customer Service – a blog is the perfect medium to communicate service or product messages to your customers and partners or to allow customers and users to share tips and advise each other.
- Research – blogs provide an invaluable research tool that enables companies to monitor the buzz in their industry and to gauge what is being said about their products or services.
- Visibility – a blog is a great way to present your companys unique offering and to spread the word that youre out there and open for business.
- Open Communication Channels – a blog is dynamic: a 2 way street – its the perfect forum 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 web site and posting often, your page will go up in the rankings and your site will attract more traffic.
- 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 your company within its peer group building trust within the community and in turn bringing trusted contacts that will help you expand your network.
- Lead Generation – both commenting on the blogs of others in your industry and having your own corporate blog can generate leads for your organisation but beware: the hard sell is a taboo in the blogosphere.
Getting up and running with a blog is relatively simple: it doesnt need to cost that much and anyone can do it (given a little time and effort). With blogging software and a server you can be off to the races in no time at all but before you start, consider what your goals are and what you are trying to achieve in order to be effective.