If you’re a business owner or corporate executive, but you don’t yet publish a blog, I know what you’re thinking: “What’s the big deal about blogs, already? Aren’t they just online diaries?”
Well, yes and no. Let me explain.
What is a Blog?
“Blog” is an abbreviated version of “weblog,” which is a term used to describe frequently updated websites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. Blogs are published using third-party content management systems, which makes them simple to manage – even for beginners.
The Evolution of Blogs
In the “early” days of blogging, most blogs were personal in nature. Blog authors posted their daily thoughts, rants and musings for friends and family to read. While the diary-style blog is still common today, a variety of other blog types have evolved as well. Today, blogs run the gamut from personal, educational, political, promotional, etc.
The Business Blog
As is usually the case with Internet technology, it didn’t take long for companies to see the potential benefits of blogging. Early adopters of the business blog had the corporate courage to share internal happenings with their customer base. Many people found this newfound openness refreshing, and word spread about the effectiveness of business blogs.
Over the last couple of years, tens of thousands of companies have launched business blogs. Some of these blogs have become successful by offering engaging commentary, news and helpful information from company leaders to customers. But just as many business blogs have failed as a result of their owners misunderstanding the medium.
Why Should I Blog?
Business blogs are becoming popular for a number of reasons. Because of their user-friendly interface, people update their blogs more frequently than they might update their regular websites. Some of the most popular blogs get updated once or twice a day. In addition to adding freshness and usefulness to a website, this also improves search engine visibility.
Blogs also add a social, interactive element to your website, because you can turn on a feature that allows moderated comments from readers and customers. When such interaction grows over time, it can have far-reaching effects.
What Should I Blog About
Some of the most popular business blogs are published by “thought leaders” in their respective industries. The authors of these blogs have had the courage to come out from behind their anonymous corporate websites to share their true thoughts and feelings about their products, their companies and their industries. These authors also know that the blog is not the place for brochure copy or other promotional content.
To get an idea of how you might create a business blog, look to some that are already popular and successful. Here are some to get you started:
- Seth Godin’s marketing blog: http://www.sethgodin.typepad.com.
- John Jantsch’s small business blog: http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/weblog.php
- Matt Cutts’ Google blog: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/
- Bob Parson’s CEO blog: http://www.bobparsons.com/
The Many Personalities of a Business Blog
One thing you’ll notice about each of these blogs, is that they have their own style and persona. That’s because the authors have their own styles and personas, and the best business blogs truly represent their authors’ personalities.
Summary of Blogging Benefits
A business blog can help keep your website fresh and improve your search engine rankings. Some business blogs take on a life of their own, attracting more attention than the company ever dreamed of attracting. Business blogs also broaden your communication with customers by encouraging dialogue.
Perhaps the best benefit of all is that blogs are flexible enough to support any business goal, so you can determine exactly how your blog will operate and how it will support your communication goals.