With more than 60 companies on the Fortune 500 list running a blog and a number of smaller businesses beginning to follow suit, the trend toward this form of online marketing is clear – and it is one that continues to grow. Business marketing through a blog can serve multiple purposes ranging from infusing team spirit to enhancing communication with employees, clients and stakeholders. Blogs are an easy way to publish new content writing, improve SEO and engage readers more than traditional marketing methods
Business blogs are sometimes managed by a professional blogger or communications team while others are outsourced to freelance writers. The right choice for your company will depend on your resources, who the blog is aimed at and how you are expecting to conduct your business marketing through a blog. Some ideas include a blog written by the CEO of the company, a blog targeted at employees or a blog aimed at reaching customers.
As with all marketing methods, business blogging has its share of pros and cons.
Quick and easy to set up. A blog can be set up in just a few minutes by anyone; you do not need to be particularly technologically minded even to enhance the page with polls, widgets and add-ons. This task does not need to be delegated to the IT staff, rather the entire running of the blog can be left up to the staff responsible for the writing.
Increase appeal to a younger audience. You can use your business blogs to capitalize on younger consumers and better motivate younger employees.
Announce information quickly. A business blog is ideal in cases of crisis or other emergencies. You can counter public relations fires and respond quickly to disastrous situations by quickly modifying the blog with updates to ensure employees, customers and stakeholder all receive the most up to date information.
Develop closer relationships with clients and employees. Business blogs are more personal than newsletters as they encourage interactions between the company and readers. With customers, this leads to brand loyalty while with employees, morale is increased.
Inexpensive to run. Depending on the platform you chose, your blog can cost anywhere between nothing to a few hundred dollars. Some of the most popular and widely used blogging platforms cost very little. If you choose a service for which you need to pay, you will often receive your own web host and a personalized domain name that will help to create a more professional appearance.
Time consuming. It takes a lot of work to ensure your blog is regularly updated with fresh content. Depending on the type of blog, it may require several hours of work a day. If the blog does not fulfill its purpose, it can end up costing a lot more than the revenue it generates.
Declining credibility. Blogs are becoming increasingly common and are now considered by many people to be an unreliable source of information. To avoid this, you need to decide what is the purpose of your blog as in some cases stakeholders and employees may feel more comfortable receiving information via email, memos or meetings.
Written communication skills. To be effective, marketing through a business blog requires very high quality written content. For example, the popular choice of a CEO blog not only requires the CEO to possess very good writing skills but also the ability to implement wit into content.
Suitability for the type of business. Some sectors are not suited to business marketing through a blog. This can often be determined through Internet demographics; for example, a blog is less likely to reach its audience if the majority of the business's clients are over 40 or if consumers are mainly based in a country where the Internet is not used to a high extent.
Has business marketing through a blog been a success or a failure for your company?