By B.L. Ochman
Should your company blog?
No if you want to use a blog as a substitute for press releases and corporate BS. Yes, if you want to reap many other benefits. Here are seven good reasons to have a company blog.
1. Humanize your brand.
Blogs are an excellent touch point for human interaction with your customers. Nobody really cares what you say on your corporate site these days. We listen to what our friends – the ones we’ve met and the ones we’ve made online – say about your brand before we listen to you.
A blog offers brands a way to talk to people like a human, instead of in meaningless corporate speak. Blog about things people want to know, and not just what you want to tell them, and you can humanize your brand so people will want to talk to you.
Lionel Menchaca at Dell did a great job of humanizing a company that hadn’t been listening or acting like humans for years. Read Now is Gone’s post about Dell’s turnaround
2. Establish Trust
If your company blog is conversational, actually helpful, possibly entertaining, open and honest about issues, then, over time, we’ll come to trust you. And your brand will be thought of in more positive terms – HUMAN terms: the only ones that matter.
Being willing to listen is fundamental to blogging. Acknowledging complaints, compliments, and suggestions is what happens in social networks. Your readers will decide if you are worthy of trust – and that requires substantive participation, not just one-way preaching.
Link to and quote your sources. We know you’re brilliant, but so are a lot of other people, and citing them is good ethics and good way to engage thought leaders who you found worth quoting.
Great rules of engagement from the US Airforce, via SocialMedia.com
Of course the devil is in the details, but the main principles of apply to everyone:
• Be factual
• Let trolls lie
• Make good content
• Link often to sources
• Focus on influencers
3. Generate leads
Hubspot Blog does a great job of that.
It’s filled with really useful content, and it also offers downloadable free marketing tools, free training, and lots more lead generation tactics.
Because people don’t keep coming back to you talking about yourself all the time on a blog any more than anywhere else.
4. Communicate frequently with your audience.
Seth Godin posts seven days a week. They’re not all long posts. Some are just a couple of sentences. But he goes out of his way to make the content thought-provoking and helpful. And he’s done it for years.
Shelly Palmer does the same in blog and video.
That’s hard work. And not everyone can pull it off. But it pays off. big-time.
If people are listening to you because your blog is interesting, they’ll know when you want to sell a book, a report, a course, a service, etc. And, since you’ll already have a relationship with you, they’ll be more willing to buy from you.
I’m not saying you need to post every day. I certainly don’t. And I’m not saying I read every post by Seth or Shelly. But I’m glad they are there, reliably putting out excellent content.
5. Be recognized as an authority and source of exclusive news
Techcrunch – “dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies” – became a must-read for the tech world, and beyond, and Mashable – “the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news” – is the bible of social media.
What news can your company offer that people will want to know?
6. Crisis communications
if your blog has helped you engage and converse with your audience, you’ll have a group of loyal followers in place in the event of a crisis. And guess what? They’ll cut you a break because they know and respect you.
7. Because blogging is fun
– Fast Forward Blog, Bill Ives: The Fortune 500 Blogs On
– UMass Study: The Fortune 500 and Blogging: Slow and Steady
– What’s Next Blog: 10 Reasons Your Company Shouldn’t Blog
– What’s Next Blog: How to have a totally fucking amazing corporate blog
-Read Write Web: How Blogging Has Changed Over the Past 3Years
Cartoon: Hugh Macleod