Blogging provides business executives and marketers with opportunities beyond and distinct from a typical company website. Because they are less formal, more interactive, and focused on industry issues—as opposed to just the company’s offerings—they provide a forum that is viewed much differently by readers than a vendor website. Blogs are seen as key sources of information rather than just promotion. Blogs are also core to a successful social media marketing strategy.
Here are five key benefits of blogging for businesses.
Establish expertise and credibility. Winning the business, particularly in the b2b world, is usually about doing the best job of solving the customer’s problem. Your website is about your product or service, and the benefits it provides to buyers. Your blog is about something related but much larger: your expertise. If your offering is unique, your blog provides a platform for demonstrating your industry understanding and insights that led to your approach. Even more importantly, if your product or service is difficult to differentiate, a blog gives you a way to create differentiation via your knowledge. Expertise is a powerful differentiator; in commoditized markets, it may even be your only effective one.
Become a resource. Following from the first benefit, establishing a position of expertise makes you a resource for industry influencers such as the media and other bloggers. You’re no longer just a source of information about your specific product / service / company, but also about bigger industry issues, trends and developments. This leads to coverage and quotes in a broader array of media, further enhancing the reputation of your blog and the image of your company as an industry leader.
Create a dialogue. Websites are one-way communication, a broadcast medium. I write about my stuff, you read it. Blogs in contrast are interactive: I take a position on an industry issue, you leave a comment, I respond, another reader chimes in with a follow-on comment, etc. Each post can potentially become a conversation, not just a monologue. That creates reader engagement, a deeper level of relationship than just passive information consumption.
Develop new relationships. Becoming an industry expert and resource, and creating dialogs, enables you to establish relationships with prospective customers, potential partners and other industry influencers that likely wouldn’t have happened otherwise. A blog lets you attract readers with your knowledge, interests, opinions and observations in a way your website can’t, expanding your circle of influence and business relationships.
Search engine visibility. Blogs are very powerful in terms of SEO for four reasons:
- • Thought leadership: due to the difference in the nature of blog content versus vendor websites (thought leadership vs. promotional), search engines often give more authority to blogs.
- • Blog-specific directories: while blogs are eligible for most of the same types of links as standard websites (e.g. directories, social bookmarketing sites, news sites, articles), blogs also have their own unique link opportunities through blog-specific directories and RSS feed syndication sites.
- • Recency: blog content is typically updated much more frequently than commercial website content, providing an advantage in increasingly real-time search results.
- • Link bait: again due to the informational rather than promotion nature of the content, blog posts are more likely to draw natural links (e.g. from news stories, articles and other blogs) than website content.
A blog isn’t right for every company (more about that idea in an upcoming post), but where feasible, they provide a powerful complement to standard websites with unique strengths for building a brand’s online presence and impact.
In Minnesota? Don’t miss the SCORE Social Media and Internet Marketing Boot Camp, Thursday, June 24 in Bloomington.