Why Blog?

"Give me bullet points on why to blog,” a reader wrote in an e-mail.

Okay.

Given that a company has a useful product, service, or process for which a market exists or can be created, here’s why a company needs to blog.

  • Not if they don’t know about you they won’t.
  • Contacts = sales
  • More contacts = more sales
  • The Great Forward
  • More markets = more sales
  • Targeted marketing
  • Compelling market need for information
  • Personal and corporate brand management
  • Cost

Not if they don’t know about you they won’t. 

“If you build it they will come.” (Kevin Costner’s character in the film Field of Dreams)

“Customers will buy my product because it’s so great it sells itself.”  (Iman Entrepreneur)

“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.'" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“No, they won’t.”  (Jim Littlefield). 

If your potential customers and clients don’t know about you and your company’s offerings, they don’t know to contact you.  A blog is about getting known.

Contacts = sales.  A blog post “meets” more contacts than you ever could at a business networking meeting no matter how many hands you shake while working the room.

More contacts = more sales.  A blog post doesn’t just “meet” contacts who know about the blog.  It meets waves of contacts.  This simple blog post you’re reading right now was globally available within the seconds it took me to post it.  Loyal readers who type in the URL of this blog each time will see it, subscribers via e-mail and RSS feed will automatically see it, and search engine users seeking information related to terms and keywords used in this post will see it.  Any one of those who see it may like it enough to honor it with The Great Forward and send a link to the blog post to a contact.  With the potential tsunami of a blog post, even your vast contact list cannot compete.

The Great Forward.  Word-of-mouth referrals are the top sources of “contacts = sales” in almost every industry.  It’s who you know.  “Who you know” works because we tend to trust those we know.  Trust is born of experience.  Although our physical selves are not online, the virtual self we communicate in a blog is a way to create a sort of experience with us, to engender trust, and to increase the likelihood of a word-of-mouth referral via The Great Forward of a link to our blog post to a contact.

More markets = more sales.  When a link to your blog post is sent to someone else – The Great Forward – it washes up on unknown shores.  If you want to expand your market from those within your locale, to those within your region, state, nation, or world, a blog post makes that possible.

Targeted marketing.  A traditional media campaign uses a scattering effect in hopes that a percentage of those who see, hear, or read the broadcast, advertisement in a newspaper, or direct mail piece will take action.  Blog post readers self-select themselves as your prospects.  If they don’t like it, they click away.  A lead from a blog is someone who already likes what they see.

Compelling market need for information.  No matter what product, service, or process you’re selling, potential customers and clients will want information on it. 

The “spontaneous movement of people using online tools to connect, take charge of their own experience, and get what they need – information, support, ideas, products, and bargaining power – from each other…instead of from companies” is termed by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff as the groundswell. Your company’s static web site doesn’t meet the market need for information “from each other.”  Your blog – written by an individual or a team of individuals – does.  (Jim Flowers, director of VT KnowledgeWorks Business Acceleration Center states the imperative of a compelling market need.)

Personal and corporate brand management.  Rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly, what’s been most currently written online about you and/or your company shows up first in search engine results.  As Julia Andwin notes in The Wall Street Journal on 2/5/09, "Online, your digital identity often comes down to the top 10 links on your SERP, or search-engine results page."

The only way you can influence what has been most recently written about you and your company online – your brand – is to write it yourself or have someone write it for you.  If someone has written something crummy about you?  You’ll have to write enough to “push” that crummy news to the next page of search results where readership drops dramatically.  While the exact “how” of Google’s rankings of listing in search results is its own proprietary information, Google favors recent news over old news and, therefore, current blog posts over unchanged static sites. 

Cost.  The ideal way to increase contacts is to use every medium available to get known:  TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, direct mailings, a mall marquis, an airplane banner, and your company logo shaped into topiary.  If those are affordable, great.  If they’re not, a blog is. 

That said…

  • If just the thought of a blog reminds you of a writing assignment from your eighth grade English teacher, don’t blog.
  • If you’re no good at writing and know you won’t ever be good at it or don’t want to be good at it, don’t blog.
  • If your gift is starting projects and you are likely to start a blog with enthusiasm, and then abandon it, don’t blog.
  • If you perceive an hour spent writing as wasted time you could have spent working on or in your business, don’t blog.
  • If you need business results right here, right now, don’t blog.

But what about those bullet points?  Doesn’t a company have to blog?

No.  If you are satisfied with your company’s growth and brand recognition, you do not have to blog.

If you want your company to grow or you want o expand your branding, you still don’t have to blog.  You do, however, have to have blog posts.

Your company needs blog posts to achieve the results specified in the bullet points. 

Those waves of contacts access blog posts, not blogs. 

Creation of an effective blog post can be learned or outsourced.  Placement of the blog post on your blog and working on building traffic, or placement on a site that already has traffic, can be learned or outsourced.

So you don’t have to blog.  But if you want business growth and better control of your branding - whether you create blog posts yourself, create them in-house, or outsource their creation to others – you ought to have blog posts.

Comments

  1. Flashback 1995: Why do I need a web site?
    Fast forward 2009: Why do I need a blog? They are "another" (translation "important") way for people (potential customers) to find you and learn about your company, products and services. Add a little Web 2.0 intelligence and your blog (business) can be found, forwarded, and followed. It can be linked and indexed (there are specific search engines for blog sites as well). And your blog can begin or continue a dialogue with your customers or future customers.

  2. Too good for a post. Someone will ask to have it published…and published … until people stop asking.

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