I often get the question posed by businesses of many different sizes about whether a blog should be a part of their business strategy.
Blogs have been hyped up for many years as everything from the doom bringer of traditional media to a lead generation tool for small business, however in recent years they have been downplayed in favour of the fresh buzz surrounding newer tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
Now that the dust is settling I think we can really take a clear look at what role each tool can contribute to the overall marketing and brand strategy.
From my experience with managers of businesses large and small with a plethora of different target audiences I have noticed two prevalent issues.
- Brand managers aren’t sure if blogging is a fit for their organisation and their customers
- Most brand managers and consumers have no idea what the difference is between a blog and a website.
This is not necessarily a bad sign but rather a sign of the lack of knowledge of a still relatively new and misunderstood tool for business.
Let’s be real here, a blog is not mystery bottle of social media magic, it is a part of the web and often would be indistinguishable from what we know as a ‘website’ to the average internet user. Blogs can take on many different forms and functions and it is misleading to group them as tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
In fact a blog can be an important way of satiating Google’s indexing algorithms need for frequently updated content raising the traction of the rest of the website.
The way I typically explain the differences between blogs and a corporate website are:
Your website is the front door, your blog is the board room table
The most common differences are
- Frequency of content
- Tone of content
- Interactions with readers
A blog allows businesses to frequently update visitors on new developments, articles, tips and even new products or services as often as they need to with little to no marginal cost and limited knowledge of the technology. For small businesses they can effectively become their own publishers.
The role of the website is often a destination where visitors can quickly learn about the products, people and services behind a company however that only serves to answer the ‘Who and What’ of the marketing mix. The blog is where people go when they ask “Yes, I can read your marketing copy but what you guys really do?”
A blog is an important part of the marketing mix where businesses have the most creative control of the medium to really flesh out their brand identity. Business can use it to leverage media mentions, interview members of their community and share their expertise of their product and industry.
The expertise, tips and updates, branding and open door invitation conveyed through a corporate blog are not isolated solely to blogs. If implemented appropriately, it is just quality content displayed on a different medium however the majority of users will not look for a blog, they will look for good content.
The question is not, should my business have a blog?
The question is – does our business have knowledge to share or a story to tell and would our clients appreciate our expertise?
If the answer is yes, then a blog can be a viable solution to reach out to more customers, increase traffic to your online presence, retain relationships with your customers and increase brand awareness.
Photo credit Industry is Virtue