You really do need to blog – I’m not kidding!
Well at least you need to blog if you have the responsibility of communicating with the clients of your organization. There really is no question in my mind, using a blog can really give you an edge over your competition, can help customers find you and can improve the experience a client has with your company. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
I’ve been around long enough to have used a progression of communication tools. In my early days, if a client wanted to get some information it was a case of putting some brochures in the mail – courier service if the need was urgent.
Fast forward a few years and we had this great invention – the Facsimile or Fax Machine. This was really cool in its time. Rather like photocopying the brochure and it would appear at the client’s machine. The only problem we had initially was that the closed fax machine was in the Post Office in the nearest big town about 30 miles away. As you can imagine, only the most urgent documents got the special treatment needed for them to be sent via this cool new technology.
Luckily, this fax technology was subject to the usual cost reductions over time so every office soon had one (or more) of their own. Need to send a brochure – no worries; over to the fax.
Needless to say, when Al Gore invented the Internet, he gave us the opportunity to put those sales brochures on-line. Indeed that is just what many early websites seemed to be – scan the brochure, put it on-line and you’ve got a website. Thanks, Mr. Gore!
Today, I still tend to think of most websites as the on-line version of the sales brochure. Sure there is often a lot more going on, but that is what they are, the corporate sales brochure. No amount of cool effects can disguise the fact that websites are, on the whole, rather static and boring – charged with getting the sales brochure to any potential client that might come by.
What websites generally don’t do is engage the potential client in any kind of conversation, provide dynamic content that visitors might actually want to read or help with building any kind of real relationship. If there is one thing I’ve learned through my years in business it is that relationships are the single most important thing.
Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not suggesting that anyone go and dump the corporate website. For most companies, the website remains an important part of the overall marketing strategy. What I am strongly suggesting is that you supplement your corporate site with a blog that will let you engage your clients at a different level.
So what is it about blogs and blogging? How can they help a business?
Well, one of the most important things is that blogging gets you out of the old marketing mindset of sending information to clients. Now you can create relevant content that people in your market might want to read. Do this well and clients are going to start to come to you.
Show your clients a less corporate side of your organization. Include news about the people in your business that clients interact with (and those they don’t). Show that there is more to you than the corporate site.
Allow people to comment on your posts. Make it a two way conversation.
Blogs are more dynamic than conventional sites. Keep yours up to date with quick stories that would never make it to your corporate site.
Google likes blogs. Quite often stories I post on my blogs appear near the top in Google searches after just a few minutes. I think this is the combination of carefully optimizing the posts, plenty of links and relevant content.
If your content is good there is a very good chance other bloggers will link to it or quote you.
Readers can subscribe to your blog by email or RSS giving them flexibility in how they read your content.
Blog creation and blog readership is growing at a very high rate. See Mack Collier’s excellent post on this here. (Mack’s blog The Viral Garden happens to be my Blog of the Week this week. At a time when everyone seems to be claiming to be a social media expert, Mack really is one – you better read his stuff!)
Blogging is incredibly cost effective in money terms. (Can be expensive in time so be sure you have the mindset to see this through if you start)
Also – blogging is just great fun. jump in and enjoy!
By the way, the screenshot is from our Labeling News blog and shows some of the stories we write. New additions to the Winco ID family, a story with amusing photo of our guys at a trade show, ideas of new developments in the labeling world that can solve problems – we can write about a lot of things that just might be of interest to our readers.
If you have any ideas about effective blogging, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.