I've started to notice that blogging for business is fast becoming a very talked about thing to do. This talk isn't just coming from one specific industry or expert either, it's coming from usability guru's, web developers, designers, and information architects.
Utilizing blogs on corporate and consumer websites to promote the brand, increase consumer loyalty, and gain valuable feedback from the most important people the customers.
Is It Viable Though?
Being a rather simple idea in nature it has taken a while to build up enough steam to turn it into a viable, marketable service. Some research suggests that when businesses have active blogs they are utilizing a newly created form of marketing.
This type of marketing and promotion flys in the face of the traditional internet banner ads and pop-up windows. Over the last couple years the effectiveness of traditional advertising forms for the web have been reduced by pop-up blockers, and ad blockers. Granted there are ways to work around these dampers at least technically speaking the effectiveness is irrepairable. Enter blogging.
If you think about it, when a company creates and promotes a blog about themselves they are effectively opening up a direct line from consumers to executives or at least some key decision makers. When the blog is active with regular updates and comments the consumers become active in the direction and promotion of the company. When consumers feel their suggestions are being heard by a specific company they become fiercely loyal to that particular company. As you all know, loyal customers are the best customers.
What About the Reverse?
So that would explain why a lot of people are talking about adapting blogs for business. I haven't noticed too much talk about adapting the business to blogging though.
As most people with intermediate knowledge of the internet or blogs know, there are a lot of bad blogs out there. This, at least in my mind, is at least one explanation as to why more businesses aren't blogging. They're scared. It's a big step to open yourself up to the masses and a lot of companies won't. The companies that do take this leap seem to be a lot more progressive and are enjoying the benefits.
What's it going to take for these companies to jump on the bandwagon? Education. It's easy enough to implement blogs into the corporate website from a development perspective. The hard part is making sure that anyone allowed to post on the corporate blog is fully aware of how it affects their corporate image and policy. The business has to adapt to the blog.
How does a business adapt to a blog? Here are a few things to consider and get started with:
- Draft a content guideline outlining acceptable and unacceptable topics of discussion on the blog
- Create a strategy for your online communications
- If possible, keep the amount of people involved in the actual writing of the blog to a smaller number
- Choose people that are already familiar with the (poorly coined term) blogoshpere
How do you think businesses need to adapt to blogging?