In this dog-eats-dog era of competition, business organizations are ravenously hungry to carve out, create and maintain a bleeding edge over the competitors. One tool that can give organizations a cliff-edge is the direct engagement with the consumers. Corporate Blogging gives companies an opportunity of tête à tête with consumers. It’s just like a virtual dating point of companies where the consumers get an opportunity to have heart-to-heart communication with brands. Be it heartless catharsis or venting out anger on poor customer service or public display of affection with the emotional side of brand, Corporate Blogs are the platform where brands amorously interact with their lovers (consumers).

Corporations have adopted the corporate blogs to humanize communications. Demands from consumers to become more transparent and personally available have put pressure on companies to launch their corporate blogs.

Big names like IBM, Wal-Mart Stores, Intel Corporation, Honeywell International, General Electric Company and Eastman Kodak Company set up their blogs as early as 2006 realizing the importance that no medium can give them first hand experience of interaction with customers. Just look at Marriott’s blog with level of interaction.

There are eight compelling and convincing reasons why any business organization should have a blog on self-hosted domain.

1. Exposure

Any blog that adds value to other businesses will be back-linked to by other blogs and websites and tweeted about. This has the inevitable result of putting your brand in front of more people. Blogs have widgets to share their contents at social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. This sharing keeps on going non-stop depending upon the uniqueness of content. So, blogs set the ball rolling for spreading and disseminating information that gives brands and organizations  unique exposure.

2. Traffic

A blog with rich and interesting content will be subscribed by visitors who will re-visit whenever content is posted. If blog is integrated with the website, visitors will land on the company’s website. More traffic at any website results into more subscription.

3. Googleability

Blogs are  darling of Google and other search engines because of dynamic nature of contents. The blogs make  brands surface high on search engine results. What else could be a more compelling reason than enhanced searchability on the internet?

4. Business Leads

Corporate blogs which refresh and top up their contents bring more qualified leads than any other source of communication.  A blog positions your company and attracts the right type of leads as it develops and publishes content for the market you want to attract.

5. Reduces Marketing Expense

Setting up blog and maintaining and topping up its contents is many times inexpensive as compared to offline media. With active and interactive blogs, companies can engage their customers at much cheaper rates.

6. Impact on Sales

Today every business organization is striving for incremental sale. The synergy of higher traffic and increased lead quality inevitably produces an increase in sales. The cost of acquisition of new customers decreases considerably when business is promoted through blogs.

7. Educational

One of the best tools to enhance company’s sale is to educate prospects about your products. This objective is met gracefully through interactive blogs.

8. Integration

Companies can integrate their blogs by inserting plug-ins and widgets of Social Media tools like facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter , YouTube  and social book marking sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon etc. By sharing through widgets, blogs literally get viral that bring more traffic, hence more business leads and more sales.

Before any company can move on to blogoshere, it has got to write down its blogging policy. In the absence of blogging policy, blog will become a rudderless ship. Internal and external communication stakeholders need to sit down and decide about guidelines for blog. Without a comprehensive corporate blog strategy, most corporate blogs fail. The majority are abandoned within months of starting because of the effort they require combined with a lack of measurement, goals and strategy. Seth Godin has said that most corporate blogs suck. There are some best practices that business organizations can apply to make  blogs effective tools.

a)      Never Sell

Why people switch channels when they see commercials? Simple, people don’t want to be sold. One of the lethal mistakes, social media marketers make is that when they use social media to sell their products. Blogs are marketing tools in a subtle way. Business organizations have got to stay away from blatant marketing at blogs.

b)     Preserve Freshness

If a visitor visits the blog and last post is 6 months old, it is a great putt off. Nobody wants to visit a shop which is not providing fresh material. Starting a blog is the easiest thing on planet earth, the real challenge is to maintain it. Companies can dedicate a resource internally or outsource content generation to maintain freshness.

c)      Content

In blogosphere, content is the king. Fresh, original and relevant content always bring visitors back. Blogs with ‘me-too’ content never get up in search engines.

d)     Harmonious

The blog should be in harmony with inner soul of the organization. If a blog is not in sync with organization’s values, vision and mission, it is just like a stray bullet. Blogs don’t work in silos. To run  blog effectively, it must be well-integrated with overall marketing communication of the organization.

This article was also published in Synergizer, Pakistan’s leading advertising and marketing magazine.

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