Blogs were hot a few years ago, but their popularity with marketers has been lagging lately as focus shifts to twitter, facebook and now iphone apps.
But blogs have tremendous potential to play a key role in your marketing strategy. Most organizations can benefit from a blog and often blogs have benefits beyond what you may initially think. Some reasons to consider a corporate blog include:
1. Search Engine Optimization
This isn’t something that a lot of organizations consider when they start blogging, but blogs are one of the best things that a company can do to increase their traffic from search engines.
Search engine traffic is based on two things: 1) Your site and how it is structured, the content and how often it is updated and 2) People who link to you and how they link to you. Blogs are a great source of both – they typically include lots of keywords and relevant content and they are also updated regularly. In addition people often link to your blog posts which further helps your search engine traffic.
2. Build Positive Equity – Be Someone who Really Cares
Blogs can also help position your organization as caring about the issues that are important to your clients or customers. You can take up their causes, talk about things they care about, offer free advice, etc.
A blog allows you to build equity for your organization, which can lead to positive mentions online, recommendations and ultimately sales.
3. Content for Social Media Syndication
Blogs are a great “hub” for your online presence. Publishing blog content gives you something to share with your customers on other social sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. All of these social sites can be great sources for lead generation, and publishing engaging blog content provides you with something relevant to share.
4. Position Yourself as a Thought Leader
You can use a blog to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. If you are a b-to-b company you can highlight your knowledge of the industry and relevant issues. B-to-C companies can show consumers that they really know their stuff by sharing knowledge and expertise that matters to customers.
For example a laundry detergent manufacturer could share information about how to remove stains or keep clothes looking new. A furniture company can talk about the ergonomics of different furniture and how to select the ideal desk/chair/bed/couch for your body size and use. Options are endless.
5. Humanize Your Brand
People like people. They like to work with people. They like to do business with people. A blog can be a great way to showcase the *real* people behind your brand and put a human face to it.
On your blog you can share videos and photos from your organization, and you can also have real people from your people talking like real people (not like commercials or sales people).
Blogs can be a great way to build stronger relationships with customers by humanizing your brand.
6. Respond to Issues and Problems
When a crisis hits, organizations often scramble to figure out how to respond. The most effective responses are transparent, authentic and genuine. Official PR releases and comments from PR people don’t typically make people feel better or reassure them.
When a crisis hits a blog can be a great place to post a real response from a real person. The message doesn’t have to deviate from the official response, but using more natural language can help people understand. Using your blog you could post a human response, and share a video of the CEO apologizing and explaining the situation. This can go a much further way with your consumers than a canned press release.
7. Build Newsletter Content
Email and newsletter marketing continues to be a great way to stay in touch with your customers. Rather than sending an email newsletter full of promotions you can send insightful and relevant articles from your blog.
This can increase your email distribution list and ultimately lead to more sales over time as customers give you permission to interact with them.
8. Let’s Give them Something to Talk About
You probably have fans – either officially on facebook or unofficially. Writing great blog content allows your fans to interact with you.
They can talk to you and share their opinions. This can help you get even closer to your consumers and allows them to feel like they have a voice with your organization.
It gives them something to talk about.
9. Communicate with Customers
When you have corporate news you may issue a standard press release, but the release may not make it out to most of your audience. A blog lets you communicate with your customers right on your site. You can also talk about things that aren’t press release worthy – like new features, a policy change or fixing a glitch in the system.
A blog is a quick way to get messages out to your customers – especially if you are not currently doing email marketing.
10. People are Tired of Marketing – Blogs Add Value
These days people are inundated with marketing messages – on their phones, their computer, their social networks, TVs, Bathroom stalls, billboards, subway adds, napkin ads, and so on. Most of us have learned to ignore most of this advertising, and we may completely tune it out.
A blog allows you to create a connection with a customer based on providing them with inherently valuable content. I read a blog post once about how to take better pictures that was posted by a photo website. After reading the great post I went and checked out their site.
Great content that is relevant to your audience can get you in the door without accosting them with marketing messages.
What other reasons do people have for creating corporate blogs? Share your ideas in the comments.