I’ve been having quite a few discussions recently with businesses about blogging and their importance. All of the talk about the popular social media networks seems to be squeezing out this more traditional activity. The summation is that blogging is definitely not for everyone and should be carefully considered before embarking. There are sound business reasons for blogging – it’s a great way to portray your expertise to your customers, giving them useful information for free – the benefit to your business is that you are creating positive sentiment for you and the brand you represent. However, it takes a leap of faith to come to the conclusion that this audience will either buy or buy more from you as a result!
Therefore if you are looking for immediate financial benefits, probably best to leave it!
However, there are other benefits that don’t always get fully explained. They fall into two categories. The first is around the impact on your brands digital visibility – by blogging regularly on topics close to your customers, search engines will like you and draw these people into your website (assuming you host it in your website), which increases traffic and engagement – no bad thing. Then the assumption is that if your blog, website and overall proposition are compelling, then this would translate into increased advocacy and therefore increased business.
The second is around the personal aspect. The best blogs have huge followings and the individuals who write them have built a great deal of brand equity. Even though the audience is following them as individuals, some of this will trickle over to the brand they represent. They are effectively providing the brand with a personality, which is a desirable element. The flip side to this is that if they leave, then there is a hole and the audience will follow them to another brand and effectively switch allegiances.
Overall I would say that for most businesses whose people have something interesting to say to their customers, blogs can be a valuable tool in terms of building an additional audience and brand equity that can ultimately translate into increased business. Also, it can be an enjoyable, even cathartic experience for the blogger – a chance to get things off your chest!