Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Business blogs: Old school marketers take note
Not everyone is keen on starting and maintaining a business blog. They are not at the top of everyone's business or marketing plan. While that might arrive as a shock to most of you; it's true.
The facts are clear, and they must be addressed by serious blogging consultants. There are some old school business people who don't see the potential that blogs possess for marketing, public relations, SEO search engine optimization, and for building and strengthening customer relationships. In fact, they see little benefit to starting a blog at all.
The task at hand for many blog evangelists and professional blogging consultants is how to convince old school business people and marketers about the benefits of business blogs. It might not be an easy sell. To break through those barricades, you will need to know the benefits of business blogs inside and out.
One of the main barriers, is the thought held by many people, that blogs exist merely as personal journals. While that may have been true of blogs a few years ago, that is certainly not the case now. In fact, I doubt if blogs were ever completely in the domain of personal journals. I think that's a mistaken reputation that blogs have somehow received, in error. The reality of blogging, however, is many people simply have not kept up to the rapid changes in blogging, and its new breed of practitioners.
Being somewhat out of the blogging loop is not entirely the fault of older school marketers. There is so much to keep up with in the rapidly changing field of marketing. Ideas and available marketing tools change and evolve at lightning pace. Every day new marketing tools are developed. Blogs are now just another important tool in the marketer's hands.
If you are developing new products, a blog is an idea way to develop a pre-launch buzz. When the new product is discussed by its potential early adopters, it's likely to be treated as already "owned" by them. The sale to those all important trend setters is already made.
As a communications vehicle, blogs are almost unmatched. A business gains a human face with the addition of a business blog to the website, or as a free standing linked site in its own right. The daily writing of posts, and talking to your potential customers and clients, gives you and your business a friendly and approachable image. By cutting through the artificial walls and barriers between company and customers, a business develops a reputation of listening to and caring about its customers and clients.
The fact that blogs allow for interaction between the writer and the readers, through comments, provides for instant and honest feedback. If for no other reason than to avoid a potential product or service disaster, the line of communications should remain wide open.
Of course, there are many more positive reasons for open dialogue than negative ones. In any case, talking to your customers creates long term business relationships that can last for a lifetime. Those lifetime customers can also become your greatest brand evangelists, who will spread the positive word of mouth, on your company's behalf.
Media relations are much easier with a blog component to your website. Journalists can check the blog for business, personnel, and product news in an instant. With that ease of story creation, your company is much more likely to receive media coverage, than a non-blogging organization.
As a blogging company, your business is immediately moved from the mainstream to the cutting edge of modern business communication where conversations take place at light speed. Regardless of your industry, being seen as a business leader will only yield a positive response. Your business will be viewed more favourably by your prospects, your current customer base, the media, and the general public. Your open lines of communication, provided through your business blog, is the reason.
If you are in the business of developing a long term and lifetime customer base, there is no more effective technique than a business blog. The cost effectiveness alone makes a blog an important asset.
Blogs have power in the search engines, if your company depends on new prospects arriving through Google, Yahoo, or MSN Search. Search engines love blogs. It's as if blogs were created with search engines in mind. Search engine algorithms (the computer programs that decide the search results) all favour fresh theme relevant content. Blogs often feature daily postings, mostly on the same basic themes and topics, which is about as fresh and theme relevant as it gets.
The volume of incoming links, sported proudly by almost every blog, enhance a site's search engine rankings. Even better, the inbound links often arrive from blogs written on a similar topic. The search algorithm is written to give more weight to links from sites sharing the same topic. Search engine algorithms give more credit for themed inbound links. Bloggers writing on the same topic will quote and refer to one another on a regular basis. All of those referrals add more inbound links to both blogs.
Bloggers are free and generous linkers. Website owners, from many business areas, are often astounded at the ease of link acquisition and exchanges involving blogs. If adding incoming links has ever been a problem for your website, a blog will definitely open your eyes on that score.
There are far more reasons for adding a business blog, than there are for ignoring their value. If a business is truly serious about marketing their product or service, then adding a business blog should be at the top of the list.
To not be blogging is to throw current and potential future customers away.
Can your business afford to not have a blog?
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Few will buy-into a strategy when images of cat journals or teen diaries come to mind.
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