Why should you have a blog?
Why blog? Because it's just about the easiest marketing tool out there.
1. One more tool in your toolbox
Not only is blogging one more tool you can add into your marketing mix, it also increases your efficiency overall. Think of it as one more way you have to stick out your hand and grab some customers. The more hands, the more customers.
As an online tool, I venture to say it is your strongest tool ever. Your brochure website is dead. It won't work. If you update it daily, great. But why would you spend all that labourious time doing so? Blogging is the new content management system that offers easy access for everyone to do it. Blogging is powerful by its nature of easy, fast updates and by its interactivity - comments and trackbacks are your conversations.
Think of blogging as DIY PR - anyone can get right in there and vouch for your company! Unlike PR, blogging is not (and should never be!) flack! Blogging MUST be authentic. And perhaps the most powerful assertion for this new PR: people come TO your blogs because they want to hear what you have to say; your traditional PR is pushed out to people who most naturally block it.
2. Google Loves Blogs! SEO/SEM
SEO is guiding development so that your site comes up high in natural/organic search results. Google, for example, measures website ranks based on their PageRank system. This PageRank looks at the inbound and outbound links from a site as votes. The more votes that come in, the better your site must be. And the more votes that come in from sites that themselves have high PageRank gives you a better vote.
So, why are blogs good with Google? Because bloggers are very open with their linking - not with the usual focus of giving people good rankings, but just as a matter of course. Bloggers link to others who have talked on their topic or those who come up in the writing process. It's a natural part of the writing. Blogs are conversations. Bloggers don't often link to non-blogs.
I have personally seen a corporate blog take a corporate site up from page 3 on key phrases to page 1 in little more than two months. It is a powerful SEO tool.
3. Creating conversations
* With your customers
* With your competitors
* With your partners/investors
* With the media
People are talking about you and your industry. You need to be a part of the conversation before it outruns your company and you get lost in the dust and before your customers get fed up with your monologues. I will talk more about this in another post later.
4. Industry Insight
By listening to the conversations you will see new opportunities, be able to let your customers lead your development, spot the trends (the stronger the trend, the more you will see it coming up in blogs), and perspective. What you hear on the news or read in the paper is, unfortunately, quite restrictive. Blogs give you the perspective of opinion and you will notice time and again bloggers who have researched the topic historically for insight.
The process of blogging is your strongest research method.
5. Reputation capital
Being real, relevant, and authentic ups your reputation capital more than any PR spin could ever do.
Caveat: do not blog only for the sake of marketing & sales
Don’t set up a blog if all you want is another way to get customers. It acts as an effective marketing tool, but it won’t work unless your focus is on communication, relationships and authenticity.