Last week I mentioned that the subject which generated the most discussion at our recent seminars was one that wasn’t even a particular focus of the day’s events. Setting up a company blog is, it would seem, something which a lot of you appear to have decided to do. With some companies having run a blog for a few years, I’m not sure why there’s a rush on now, but I think for it’s a mixture of reasons.
1. Think of it as a more dynamic replacement for your website’s ‘News’ section
Despite the silly name, a “blog” is actually a more flexible way of publishing your company’s news. Those of us who’ve always thought blogs were a great idea for B2B marketing have realised that the best way to explain a blog is to describe it as a replacement for the existing – and doubtless rather stuffy – news section on your company website. The difference is that a good blog will actually get read, and we may see the end of the rather embarrassing traffic statistics for most companies’ website news sections.
2. It’s extremely easy to publish to a blog.
Certainly it’s a lot easier than the way you probably have to put material on your existing website. With systems such as WordPress, there’s no code required, you just sign in through your browser, write your article, add any images if you wish, and click “Publish”.
3. A blog gives you the chance to establish a local online presence.
Many companies have their website run by overseas parent organisations, who in many cases have no idea how to market to a UK audience, or almost any other nationality, for that matter. Yes, German parent companies, I’m looking at you. Setting up a blog allows you to get your core marketing tool (your web presence) back under your own control.
4. A blog allows you to test out other online communication channels.
Set up properly, a blog will automatically publish to an email distribution list, an RSS feed, a Twitter stream, a company Facebook page – whatever you wish. Set these up at the same time as your blog, and there’s no further effort required; these will all be updated automatically every time you publish something.
5. Any promotional initiatives, from new brochures to videos, can be featured on a blog.
So you’ve got a new catalogue? A blog is a great way to publicise it. You’ve made a promotional video? Show it directly in the blog. Going to an exhibition? Let your customers and prospects know, and distribute tickets, through the blog.
6. Blogs are a great way to build your online prospect mailing list.
It’s no longer good enough to just fire out material to people who probably never asked for it in the first place. You need to build a list of prospects and customers who want to hear from you. If your blog is interesting, people will sign up to receive updates by whatever method they prefer.
7. Setting up a blog can be extremely cheap and easy.
You could set up a blog on (say) Blogger in the next half hour, for free. Or consultancies such as BMON can set one up for you for as little as £1000, using WordPress for example, designed to match your corporate image and with all the social media outlets included.
8. Blogs don’t require regular commitment.
Sure, you’ll want to add material to your blog quite often. But there’s no pressing requirement to publish stuff every second Tuesday, or whatever schedule you associate with traditional marketing channels such as newsletters. You put something on your blog when you need to say it. If that means three things in one week then nothing for the rest of the month, so be it.
9. Blogs create your customer newsletters.
Ever sat down with a company newsletter to create, and wondered what to put in it? If you have a blog, you’ll have already written (and published) more than enough to choose from. There’s one massive headache over with.
10. You can get other people to help with content creation.
Anyone in the company can add something to the blog, it’s that easy to do. Even your PR company, if you have one, can be trusted to add material. Does the sales manager or the technical director want you to publicise something? Tell them to write it up and you’ll put it online through the blog.