Business blogs have moved from a nice-to-have to a have-to-have over the years.
Today, most companies — from microbusinesses to large corporations — are incorporating them into their daily practices. And with good reason!
In the following article, we’ll be discussing why blogging is important to the business world and how business blogging benefits a company’s bottom line.
But first, let’s start by examining what sets this form of blogging apart from other forms.
The popularity of blogging didn’t immediately hit the business world. At first, it was a personal expression tool. A way for individuals to create their memoirs without the snobby gatekeeper of a New York publishing house telling them they couldn’t.
How Blogging as a Business Differs
Early bloggers were not sure where they were going with the tool. But they knew it held potential. That’s why you saw so many millions of the things crop up in the years that followed the first coining of the term.
While they weren’t first thought of as money-makers, that changed once businesses realized the potential they now had to communicate directly with their audiences.
And while the rules of successful blogging continue to shift over the years, what makes business blogging an effective solution when compared to the “online diary” form often associated with the tool remains the same.
Mostly, blogging as a business works when you have a singular focus. In other words, your audience knows what to expect from you and you stay on point with each and every post.
It’s not a hodge-podge of political commentary, business matters, and what you had for dinner. It’s mission-focused and inclusive. Such an outlook toward blogging and technology, in general, gives your business some distinct advantages.
It Allows You to Control the Narrative
When you run a singularly-focused business blog, you decide what to talk about. While the same is true of a personal blog, businesses or organizations have one thing to worry about that most run-of-the-mill personal blogs do not — media interest.
Allowing media to control your narrative as a business puts you behind the 8-ball in how you’re perceived by the public. But if you’re telling your story through the business blog and social media channels, you stay ahead of the messaging that your audience sees.
That may not seem like such a big deal at first. But whenever you have a crisis of some kind, you can get ahead of it and shape the follow-up questions that are bound to come.
It Gives You a Direct Connection to Your Audience
Having a blog that you use for business will give you the opportunity to communicate directly with your audience. This ability gives you the chance to do the following:
- Foster goodwill with the members of your community as they see you’re ready to listen to what they have to say, both positives and negatives
- Address complaints or criticisms with your product or service before they become an issue
- Seek immediate feedback for a future product or service improvements
You want them talking directly to you. Because when they’re doing that, they’re not off somewhere else talking to others about you in a way that you can’t control.
It Sets a Tone for Company Culture
Customers are not the only ones who can complain about you. In fact, a caustic company culture can do more harm to your business’s image than anything an outside force can.
However, using your blog to highlight the contributions of your team is a way to guard against that. Saying thank you for a job well done demonstrates you acknowledge and appreciate the people who contribute to your success.
A blog is a terrific place for businesses to highlight this.
It also can be used as a key tool when it comes to recruiting others to come and work for your business should their professional interests ever coincide with the company mission.
Best of all, it’s a great starting point. The company culture you highlight here can be easily distributed to other key business-growing platforms, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn.
It Places You Where You Need to Be
A number of businesses wonder what the point is of running a blog when they should be attracting and serving customers. They don’t realize the full potential of a business blog in accomplishing those exact goals.
How does this differ from the concept of personal blogging?
Thanks to the invention of social media, establishing a personal blog is less important than it used to be. After all, if your goal is to communicate with friends and family members while having an outlet for personal expression, you’ll come a lot closer to accomplishing those goals on Facebook.
But you have more to lose on social networking platforms from a business perspective. Keeping a blog ensures you are controlling your message from the safest place — a platform you ultimately own, monitor, and control.
The Main Benefits of a Blog
Now that we’ve discussed how business blogs differ from personal ones, it’s time to drill down into the benefits of blogging for businesses like yours. There are ultimately five ways this mode of expression will benefit you.
1. Having a Creative Outlet
Businesses and people are not all that different. A person has two sides to his or her brain. A right side and a left side.
One side is creative. The other is analytical. Both sides are essential to making informed decisions.
Businesses operate in the same capacity. You need the proverbial bean counters. That is, you need people who can look back over all the initiatives and efforts you’ve undertaken, free and clear from emotion, and observe the measurable impacts.
But you also need people who aren’t afraid to fail. People who will put themselves out there, take chances, and hold themselves up to such nuts-and-bolts scrutiny. These are your creatives.
A business blog is a great place to feature these creative efforts. It attracts attention and gets people thinking about the possibilities.
2. Building Buzz
Every effort needs to start somewhere. And where better than the safe haven of your own blogging platform?
With a blog, you can create anticipation for new products and services. You also can announce news and information directly involving your company — things that paint you and your employees in a positive light and get people talking.
Hopefully, when they start talking, they will take that excitement and positivity to other platforms. This, in turn, will bring more eyeballs to your blog and your business.
3. Getting Immediate Feedback on Ideas
Inevitably, not every effort your company gets involved with will be an immediate winner. Sometimes the best thing you can do is roll a product, service, or effort out there before it is fully formed.
It’s like Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, once said: “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
Scandalous-sounding quote, but there’s a lot of truth in it. And businesses often follow Reid’s advice on how they use their blogs for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, you have the opportunity to gauge where your ideas are in connecting with the public.
Secondly, you can start taking suggestions, comments, and feedback. Many of the things your audience will tell you through your business blog will give you the missing ingredients for taking your idea from half-formed to success.
This immediate feedback on ideas wasn’t always possible.
But thanks to the instantaneous nature of blogs — i.e., publishing with the press of a button and seeing your audience’s reaction in minutes or seconds — it’s become easier than ever before.
4. Owning Your Audience
The term “owning your audience” is one that more businesses should embrace.
Because many think they’re doing just that when they’re essentially handing the keys to their kingdom over to a platform.
An explainer: you have 1,000 followers on Facebook and no blog traffic. Who really is in control of the people following your business.
If you said Facebook, you win. What’s the problem with this situation? You’re essentially at the mercy of an outside platform.
For starters, Facebook doesn’t even guarantee all 1,000 of those followers will see the posts you make. It’s more likely only 25-30 percent will, and that’s if you’re lucky.
Secondly, what if your business has some kind of a controversial nature to it?
Like gun manufacturing and sales or some fringe political ideology that is, nevertheless, within the boundaries of legal free speech?
In such cases, you could be one Facebook business decision away from losing everything.
However, using your blog as the main point of access flips the script. It ensures your messages are getting through to everyone and that a difference in opinion won’t be the end of you.
5. Ensuring Accountability
Finally, posting on your business blog gives you an accountability standard. By putting yourself “out there” for all to see, you keep yourself accountable for the ideas, standards, and initiatives that you deem important to the future of your business.
What Successful Business Blogs Get Right
Successful business blogs demonstrate an understanding of what it takes to find success. They treat their audience as valuable. They test ideas and gather feedback.
Companies effectively using their business blogs see them as the publishing tools, the product-testing tools, and the company culture tools that they are.
And they enjoy the benefits in one of the most cost-effective ways under the sun. For more great business advice, make sure you check out our other blog postings on the topic.