« Social Media as a B2B Marketing Tool | Main | Will Social Media Kill "Campaigns?" »

Become a Blogger Today

With the growing popularity of blogs - over 12 million Americans currently maintain blogs and 57 million Americans read blogs according to the BlogWorld & New Media Expo website - now may be a good time to examine the benefits of adding a blog to your organization's marketing toolkit. There are a multitude of benefits to corporate blogging, and I've listed a few below to shine some light on the benefits of jumping into the blogosphere.

Build Brand Awareness
Blogs are good tools for building brand awareness, educating users about your company and its offerings, and establishing your place online and in the marketplace. If a website was the must-have corporate marketing vehicle of the past 10-years, a blog is the must-have tool today. By tagging your posts, images and blog with search engine optimized keywords, you can drive traffic to your blog and increase your organization's overall audience. And while websites can also be optimized for search (and should be), the dynamic nature of blog publishing increases the number of tags you can use, and the frequency with with you are attaching your organization to new tags. In the article, Branding and Advertising: Using your Blog to Build your Brand, Angela Booth of Blogging for Dollars writes that the longer a blog is online and the more content is contained within, "the more useful it becomes for organic search for more terms." Once your blog is discovered - even unintentionally via searches - the more likely you are to drive traffic to your blog and to your organization.

Become Recognized as a Thought Leader
When writing a blog, you have the chance to share your knowledge with the world and become an expert in your field. Brian Carroll, of InTouch and author of B2B Lead Generation Blog, is an excellent example of a marketing blogger who has used his knowledge and his blog to become a thought leader in his field. Carroll started writing his blog in order to help other marketers by sharing his knowledge. According to Carroll in the recent Marketo article - Lead Nurturing with Brian Carroll - his speaking events and blogging led a publisher to him, and from there he wrote "Lead Generation for the Complex Sale."

Interact with Your Current & Potential Customers
When you publish a blog, subscribers and visitors have the opportunity to provide feedback, share their opinions and generally interact with you (and therefore with your organization) easily and with little commitment on their part. Instead of forcing site users to fill out a web-based form that includes all of their contact information, send you an email or pick up the phone and call your company, a blog lets people leave quick comments about any of your posts. Once published, other users can join the conversation and respond to what people are saying about your blog and about your company. By providing an open forum for discussion, you have an opportunity to see what your users are thinking, learn how your views and ideas match up with their expectations, and publicly respond. Suddenly, your interactions with your users are on view for all to read, and your company is viewed as being accessible and open to the views of your users.

Continually Engage with Your Customers & Potential Customers
Every time you publish a new blog post, you have a chance to put your message in front of your users - automatically. By prompting readers to sign up for your blog's RSS feed, you can deliver new posts directly to your target audience whenever you publish. Each time your users read your blog, you have the chance to remind them of your message and encourage their participation with your company.

You can also check out these sites to learn more about the growing popularity of blogs and to get a general idea about the omnipresence of blogs on the web:

BlogPulse is an automated trend discovery system and search engine for blogs.
Technorati is a blog search engine that tracks blogs and social media online.
Tailrank is a memetracker that finds and tracks popular blog posts from millions of blogs.
BlogScope is an analysis, visualization and tracking tool for the blogosphere.

Comments

Barry, this is a great post for anyone out there who is thinking of starting a corporate blog. I would like add one thing though. You need to be deliberate when you are planning to start a blog. And for a corporate blog to be successful, you do need to plan ahead of time. Determine your focus and have a good grasp of what you are all about. Ask your customers what they would like to hear about, and the answer is probably not just your latest product updates (unless you are Apple). Find that niche where you can stand out from other blogs in your space (namely your competitors) and don't try and be everything to everyone. Learn about your customers and cater to their needs. You don't need a lot of readers you just need the right readers.

Barry thanks for the mention. I agree with your thoughts on blogging.

My advice in starting a corporate blog is to be passionate!

It starts with our individual heart and our passion (Do I believe in what I'm doing?). Then we orient ourselves to our companies collective heart and passion (Do I believe in my company and what my company does?). Finally, we carry heart and passion outside our companies (Do we believe in what we're doing?).

One thing I would add is that it is important to keep your content fresh. One company I have seen that does a great job of this is Liveball (Ion Interactive). They make sure that multiple members of their team contribute and that the blog is always updated with fresh content, not only about their product, but more importantly their industry and the associated best practices.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)