Blogs are one of the things that make the Internet such an unpredictable and relevant place.
Blogs (a.k.a. weblogs) can either be an entire website or part of a larger website. They contain regular updates (often from a single individual) and usually allow for comments from readers. Without blogs, the online experience wouldn't be nearly as current or interactive as it is today.
But blogs also receive more than their fair share of criticism. For starters, blogs are incredibly easy to launch and since there are no real accountability mechanisms for content, they can contain misinformation or even slanderous material. The blogosphere is rife with commentary from the highly qualified to the barely credible.
Yet for business owners, a blog can be a valuable marketing tool. Rather than relying on a web designer to update the company's site content, entrepreneurs can integrate a blog into their website and post updated content themselves. Since blogs typically feature short posts, you can provide updated daily content in a just a few minutes time. If you're diligent about keeping your blog current, here are some of the benefits you can reap for your company.
- Online visibility. Blog posts increase your company's online brand content. Quality content alone goes a long way toward boosting your online visibility. But since each post can be customized for SEO through keywords, image tags, and other techniques, blogs can also increase brand visibility around targeted issues and topics.
- Industry relevance. Many businesses use blog posts to demonstrate that their company is on the cutting edge of their industry. If your strategy doesn't require you to maintain a position as an industry innovator, you can use a blog to demonstrate that your business is aware of industry developments and incorporates emerging practices into its products and services.
- Thought leadership. It's fairly common for entrepreneurs to leverage a blog to establish a thought leadership position. As your blog gains momentum, you will gain a loyal following of readers, many of whom will be industry players. This can be especially important for small businesses interested in using a thought leadership strategy to compensate for a short industry track record.
- Product/service showcase. Blogs aren't good platforms for hard sales messaging. If you're looking to hawk your products, channel your efforts through other advertising mediums. However, if done subtly, a blog can be an effective venue for talking about how your products have been used to solve complex problems or to force innovation. Guest blogging on other people's blogs can also be a way to showcase your expertise (and by extension, your services) to a broader customer base.