Blogging often gets a tremendous amount of push back from within organizations. Some organizational leaders fear they will lose of control of their messaging. They fear there will be negative comments or theft of content, or that blogging will become a huge time suck that exposes the organization to risk and ridicule without any tangible return on investment.
For the web marketer, the first web marketing challenge may be within the organization itself. To make the business case for blogging, address the concerns above to make sure blogging makes sense for your organization. Focus on these benefits:
Blogging drives traffic via the production of new content
Search engines are constantly sending their “spiders” out for new content to index so that their search engine results pages have relevant data. Blogs often get a higher search priority because of their frequency of content. Blog posts can drive traffic to the main website via links and informative content.
As far as content stealing is concerned, the risk is the same risk as any public website copy. Most marketers use simple tools like Google Alerts to get free feeds on key phrases that relate to their organization and to help monitor media coverage and other websites.
Blogging gives the organization a human face
Putting a human face (or many faces) on an organization builds empathy and trust. Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to buy from organizations that put a human face on their websites. A blog can do that with text, photos, and video. In short, blogging builds bonding. In the era of P2P (people–to-people) marketing, professionals need to leverage social media like blogging to create a personality.
Blogging demonstrates customer service in full view
Lack of trust is a barrier for many first-time customers. Blogging allows the organization to demonstrate its commitment to customer service by having the blogger relay stories about how the organization helped a user solve a problem. Many organizations publicly show negative comments on a blog and, by immediately responding to the comments, demonstrate their client commitment. Showing vulnerability can be a very compelling selling point.
Blogs can develop niche markets
If the organization has a niche market that isn’t being fully served in the main website, blog entries that speak to that niche can have a powerful impact. You can look at the blog as a micro-site targeted to that niche. Watching your traffic or comments in that area increase can boost your confidence that you can develop that niche into a more robust business.
Blogs help you make “long tail” Sales
Internet stores like Amazon and Netflix make money from blockbusters, but it turns out that they make more money from obscure, low-demand products that are not readily available in brick-and-mortar stores. The “long tail” demand curve graphically represents top-selling products or services at the top (head) with a downward slope for its more obscure (long tail) options.
Because the total volume of low-popularity items exceeds the volume of high popularity items, the demand curve resembles a long tail.
Blogging helps reputation management
While many organization leaders fear that blogging will hurt their reputation, in fact it can help save it. There’s an old proverb, “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” A blog can help organizations quickly respond to a false accusation or a true crisis. Public relations firms often manage company blogs or participate in content creation and moderation due to their viral “round the world” speedy nature.
Blogging is a free way to promote your press releases
Some press release distribution services can cost a pretty penny. Blogging is a no-cost way to instantly distribute press releases to an organization’s user and press base. In addition to a regular blog RSS feed (which sends blog entries to readers who opt in), creating a blog “press release only” RSS feed works well for online marketing.
Blogging can function like focus groups
Instead of hiring an expensive market research company to do focus group testing, you can ask website visitors or current blog readers questions via blog posting or a poll. The results won’t be scientific because only the minority who care about an issue will chime in, but the feedback can be very authentic and compelling. Knowing what readers are passionate about will help organizations create products, services, and marketing campaigns that speak directly to their users. Web statistics like Google Analytics can be embedded into blogs to show the most popular blog posts. Widgets like Retweet tools (which allow readers to hit the Retweet icon and share that item with their Twitter followers) can show popularity via the quantity of retweets.
Blogging saves money on support calls and e-mails
Take common questions and post the answers as a blog post. The next time that question comes in, customer service can be expedited by sending a link to the answer on the blog. Looking at the organization’s customer service budget might show additional savings that can be reaped with an active blogging effort to address recurring issues. A service-centric blog can also help reduce the number of questions in the first place.