What is a blog? A blog is simply short for a web log and it is an easy way for any individual or organization to start publishing content on the web. According to Technorati, there are over 10 million blogs being tracked and they serve many purposes. Personal blogs are often created to allow individuals to express themselves in a journal type entry. These blogs cover topics such as politics, technology, and art, and may even track a person’s daily schedule and many other topics. However, the biggest impact potential of blogs is in the business world where there are several reasons for using such tools and their influence could be immense. The purpose of this article is to explore the best ways to utilize a blog in your organization.
Top seven reasons why to have a blog:
1. Ease of publishing – The majority of web sites are static in nature and require technical web knowledge to implement changes. Even the sites that archive their newsletters often require a web master or a technical person to post such changes and of the ones that practice this, most post only once a month. A blog enables you to frequently publish your thoughts, articles, knowledge, others’ knowledge and resources with great ease. Within only a few hours, you too can have your blog up and running and start publishing great valuable content for your target audience that is ever changing.
2. Central resource place – One of the objectives of your web site strategy should be to create a place with great content, featuring you and your company as the experts. A blog could become the place for the collection of knowledge to be shared with your visitors, where the content is yours, your staff, colleagues and other experts in various areas. Your blog will then become the “place-to-go” for great content and resource – a repository of business tips and ideas.
3. Newsletters archive – Those web sites that do not have the technical in-house capabilities to archive their monthly newsletters, could easily use their blog to promote and archive their newsletters.
4. Increased exposure – Having another domain name with a different URL and a link to your own web site helps strengthen your brand and the popularity of your existing web site. By writing content applicable to your industry and beyond while illustrating examples of companies, experts and other resources, you increase the odds that people searching for such information will find your blog and therefore will find you, your knowledge and your web site. For some examples visit Seth Godin blog: http://blog.sethgodin.silkblogs.com or one of his many other sites http://sethgodin.typepad.com.
5. Interaction with others – One of the very effective ways of communication and interaction with others is through the creation of an online forum www.alansforums.com. However, many forums are password protected thus disallowing web surfers from finding their content. Also, since members can freely post on the forum, content moderation may become a challenge for some. Blogs can be an easy and economical way of communicating with your visitors and can easily be found. Interaction with others can be moderated and approved by the site owner prior to the acceptance of each post.
6. Market research – Your blog will become a part of the greatest network of blogs in the world. Done right, the impact on current and future knowledge and market research is immeasurable. Imagine thousands of experts writing and sharing ideas that can be easily researched and assembled for a quick reference. The technology to do this is already available and is getting better. RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, is a way to automatically capture information and data from your site, your blogs and others’ that you like. This concept is what I refer to as proactive web surfing. By that I mean, rather than going to the web to surf and search for information, utilizing RSS enables you and your visitor to get the desired content whenever wanted.
7. Web gravity – Blogs add important and additional components to your marketing web strategies. You may promote your brand, product, service, article, idea, tip and much more. All strategies combined, interact with each other to become a powerful gravity to attract people to come to you and do business with you.
In the article “Blogs Will Change Your Business” published in Business Week on 5/2/05, Jeff Weiner, A senior VP of search at Yahoo said: “I am amazed people don’t get it yet. Never in the history of market research has there been a tool like that.” Do blogs require work, ongoing maintenance and care? Of course they do. But then again, what successful strategies do not require work and ongoing care? As I stated above, consider your blog to become one additional important component in your marketing arsenal. Business week concluded by saying “The winners will be those who host the very best conversations.” I already committed and just started my own Chad Barr blog, how about you?