Monday, March 07, 2005

The Bottom Line on Business Blogs

They've moved beyond the realm of diarists and techies to benefit mainstream businesses.August 09, 2004

So how do blogs fit into a business?
They can be used in several different ways. Many companies use them for communication and collaboration among distributed colleagues, partners, suppliers, customers and others. That's the most popular use. My personal favorite is that they also can be used as a unique, informal way to establish a company or individual's reputation or brand. Other businesses use them to improve operations (like for project management or tech support knowledge-sharing), to demonstrate expertise (useful for professional services businesses) and to establish competitive differentiation. Blogs let companies reach out to value chain members with organizational news, marketing promotions, new product announcements and more.
To get a sense for the effective use of small-business blogs, check out and

-Blogs can really give a company substantial business benefits:
-They're cheap, easy to launch and don't require HTML expertise.
-They make working in groups easier, are community-builders and can be more inclusive (and interesting!) than e-mail.
-They strengthen internal and external business relationships and improve productivity through interactive information exchange.
-They're not intrusive, since users have to seek out a URL to read the content.
-They improve branding by presenting a more authentic and distinctive voice for a business than canned PR or MarCom messaging.
-They're more searchable than e-mail and instant messaging, so they're effective as an information or knowledge-base archive.

Tools of the Trade
What do you need to get a blog started? You must acquire a blogging software platform or personal publishing application, easily identified with a Web search. You also should have RSS, which will help you syndicate and share your content with other sites. RSS will let you post your headlines to blog aggregators and search engines. That way, they're easily findable and don't get lost in the noise of millions of blogs.

Joining the Blogosphere
For many companies, blogs have become a business staple. They're mainstream and not just for techies! Blogs, though, are not for every company. Their informal style probably won't suit very conservative organizations. But they're great for companies that value freedom of thought and informal communication of ideas. If the fit is right, companies must decide:

-Who should blog.
-Whether the company is really committed to the ongoing care and feeding that blogs demand.
-What's to be achieved by the blog.
-Who will get access to company blogs. (They're password and access level protectable.)
-How blogs will fit in with the company's content strategy, which may include e-mail, blogs, wikis, the Web, voice mail, newsletters, PR and MarCom.

Blogs are a unique vehicle for communication. While they're not for everyone, many small and midsized businesses will find that they're a great way to craft a distinctive image, convey important messages and relate informally with the outside world.

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Blogger Mr. Snitch said...

"Blog Marketing" won't replace human interaction. But it is rapidly becoming a necessary tool to drive traffic to commercial sites. Here is an absolutely scary statistic I just noticed while writing a post on this subject to my own blog. When making the post, the term "Marketing Blog" drew 34,200 Google results. Three hours later, I made an edit to the post and rechecked the numbers - it was up to 263,000. I left the window with the term open, and waited five minutes. 282,000 results. Yow!

11:18 PM  

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