Why Businesses Should Blog
By: Christian Del Monte


If your business could gain a direct connection to individual customers in the largest customer pool on earth, informing and relating personally to each of them through a medium centered on your business, wouldn’t that be great? Better yet, what if it was free of cost except for the time you invest? Not only is it possible, for many businesses, Blogs have proven to be one of the most powerful ebusiness-customer communication tools capable of producing just that. For this reason alone, at least considering a blog as a strategy for your business should be a priority. Communication and efficiency both stand to benefit.

Bloggers are often likened to preachers or evangelists, which compares favorably to the weak communication loops that are typically problematic between many businesses and their clients. Honest and balanced timely customer feedback can be elusive even with focus groups. The delay in a company reacting to a small problem may allow that problem to gestate into something much larger. Blogging is a savvy way to make up for input gaps from customers by allowing for real-time, voluntary responses from individuals who are enthusiastic about your business or field. This may come in the form of thoughtful suggestions or criticisms of existing aspects of your business that enlighten you to improvements, which you may never have considered. The connection between yourself (as the blogger) and your customers is comfortable and informal, allowing for a conversation that is personal and intimate. As a result, your clients and advocates can respond with no pressure with friendly conversations that you never would have had time for in person.

Business blogging can create buzz that is humanized with one tool and also boost the efficiency of your business in other ways. Insofar as marketing and advertising, a blog has several of the qualities of an internet campaign or other profile-booster. It can compliment (or even serve as) your website, which makes it easier for search engines to find your business. Blog service providers are constructed to be search engine-friendly, and the more sites your blog links to (or that link to your blog), the more traffic your website is likely to attract. Because blogs deliver all of the news of your business in a concise form, it can also serve as an e-newsletter, which can be subscribed to or syndicated with RSS. By making your business available on new syndicatable fronts, your business can attain a frequency and reach with a new level of targeting for business prospects.

Another aspect of the blog that many executives who have turned to blogging espouse is the self-examination of your business that occurs when you blog. The business blogger is compelled to crystallize, organize and define every aspect of the business, both for themselves and for others. In doing so, not only can your business become more refined, it can also “know itself” better. To compliment this, a blog can also be made to work internally (known as an intra-blog) as well as externally, operating as an inter-office communication tool that offers many advantages over e-mail. Best of all, by making communication readily available to anyone with an Internet connection, your business can position itself as a leader in its industry. Additionally, even if your business website is lacking (or if you don’t have one at all), the icing on the cake is that blogs organize information in a way that is easy to read and while remaining attractive to the eye.

Keep in mind that blogging is not a replacement for advertising. It’s a different kind of tool that requires a formal strategy. The good news is that being a great writer isn’t necessary because the personalized impromptu nature of a blog is an appeal to the culture itself. Blogging also does not require babysitter to work. To the contrary: the blog is a tool that is cooperative, intimate, and personal. Moreover, it can give your business the chance to build powerful trust-based relationships with your clientele along as well as endless self-promotion that go hand in hand.

Thinking about blogging but not sure what to blog about? Here are just a few possibilities:

· Use it as a forum to discuss updates on products, services of business activities, and solicit input from new and prospective clients.

· Kick around untested ideas that your customers might be willing to share insight.

· Replace your printed company newsletter or bulletin board with a blog that can serve the same functions. Share information on events, changes in your business, updates on special projects.

· Depending on the nature of your business, you might find numerous other ways to improve the efficiency of your business with a blog. Many universities, for example, now showcase a handful of student blogs on their websites to show prospective students a glimpse of what campus life is like – an effective and cost-free recruiting tool. You’ve likely also heard of the guy who used his blog to barter from a red paperclip to a house in one year.

· Blog about your business industry itself. Network with other professionals from similar businesses and learn from them – all businesses have their own experiences. Still looking for ideas? Consult the web's largest Business Blog Search Engine and Directory by http://www.iblogbusiness.com. Browse by industry or search to see what some of your competitors are doing.

Summary

Business blogging presents a great opportunity to tap into one of the largest communication networks at a fraction of the cost in maintaining a regular Website. To do it effectively for your business, blogging must become “center plate” even though initial rewards come slower and at the expense to traditional mediums. However, with invested time, the fruits of hard work will pay off in the forms of improved customer intimacy, priceless core industry knowledge, and brand equity just to name a few. Best of all, its free for the taking!

About The Author

Christian Del Monte: Director of Operations for TMA E-Marketing has a B.S. degree in Marketing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

He has directed and worked on Internet marketing projects for mid to large-scale clients including several fortune 500 companies. Christian continues to head up the operations for TMA as well as lead research and development on vertical search markets and business blogging.

This article was posted on October 09, 2006
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