Blogging for business

30 Jan 2006

This article was originally posted on another area of this website on Sept. 24th, 2005

For those that haven’t heard, over the past couple years there has been a steady increase in the popularity of blogs. I’m not just talking about personal blogs for every Tom, Dick, and Harry, I’m talking about blogs used in the business world. There is a vast amount of large companies experimenting with, and leveraging blogs to their advantage.

Originally blogs were used by people as a way to keep an online journal. It is a great way for people to escape their lives by reading about the trials and tribulations of others. So how did the business world embrace this new form of web communication as its own? Lets find out.

The personal relationship

It makes sense that something that started off so personal would be so effective at building personal relationships. The most successful businesses around the world all have one thing in common — they build personal relationships with their customers. Whether it’s through phone calls, personal visits or other means the relationship is there.

By leveraging the use of blogs even mega-corporations like Microsoft can maintain a close, intimate relationships with the people that use their products. Take, for example, Microsoft’s IEBlog. Over the past 2 years Internet Explorer has had the least amount of development out of all the web browsers for any platform. Due to this lack of updates, at least as far as the public was concerned, Internet Explorer became the target of many web standards pundits. It is lauded for it’s lack of development and forward motion. Then the IEBlog was created.

With the IEBlog, Microsoft gives its engineers and various employees an outlet to express their thoughts and processes while working on the newest update to the most out-of-date web browser. This also helps Microsoft by giving its customers and web developers an outlet to contact the development team and help shape the development of the product. This is the type of personal relationship that builds positive enforcement in their product, and that means more potential customers.

Loyal customers are good customers

By building the right type of relationships with your customers your are creating a more loyal customer. There are many effective ways to build relationships — phone calls, newsletters, mail-outs, emails, etc. Blogging, with the assistance of Really Simple Syndication (also known as RSS or Atom feeds) is fast becoming a very effective way to build those relationships as well.

Ask any business person or entrepreneur the value of a loyal customer. They will often tell you loyalty is priceless. Loyal customers are more forgiving when there are errors or mistakes made by you or your company. They will also help your business with word of mouth advertising with all of their friends and coworker’s, allowing you to reach an even greater pool of potential customers.

Get fresh with your customers

One of the pitfalls of having a corporate website is managing it and keeping it up to date. Websites that fail to receive adequate updates will see a decline in visitors. Obviously, when the traffic starts to fall so does your mind-share. And the less time your customers and potential customers spend thinking about your company the more time they spend thinking about your competition.

By setting up a blog on your website and maintaining it you guarantee fresh, up to date content for your new visitors, existing customers, and potential customers. Always having current content shows that your company is still around, and still growing. Anyone that is thinking about purchasing from you but is still sitting on the fence wants to see that you are active. Would you like to convert more potential sales than push them away with an inactive website?

Experts wanted

Consumers like to buy from people they consider experts or leaders in their field/industry. They also trust the opinions of the same experts. The question is, how do you become an expert.

The answer is not a simple one. One way to show your expertise is through knowledge. How do you show your website visitors that you know what you’re talking about? Write about it. Write about it over and over again in a blog on your website. By talking about important topics related to your industry you start to build trust with your audience. As you build trust in your audience you will find a more active community around your website, your company, and your brand. The benefits of this are exponential. More trust equals more word of mouth. More word of mouth equals more mind-share. More mind-share equals more sales.

Harness the power for yourself

How can you harness the power of this new and effective medium for your company? Running a weblog requires a definite time commitment. You must decide whether you or an employee has the time available to dedicate to running and maintaining your new blog. This is also a long term time commitment, blogs can not be left for extended periods without attention. Although it has happened in the past, most blogs are not an overnight success. They take dedication and perseverance.

You should also set some goals for your new blog. Decide on how to measure the success — or possible failure — of your blog. To be honest, your blog may seem like a failure at first but you must give it time.

Are you ready to set aside the time required for a blog? Are you interested in showing your expertise in your industry to your customers? Do you want to create more loyal customers? Get in touch with us and we will get you started right away.

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