If you have a website, integrating a blog into your website can become an integral part of your business. The blog does not have to be physically integrated with the site; you can use an outside blogging service and still benefit from all the features a blog has to offer. A blog can be the voice of your business, show the personality of your company, educate customers or clients, it can be a showroom for your products and services, and can become a media source for your business and even industry. All the while, it will also be improving the social and search engine rankings for your company.
Voice of the Business
Websites are impersonal, one way communication vessels. Adding a blog to the mix can open up conversation, allow for personality and encourage interaction through comments. While a blog is still professional, it is a more social extension of the website. It can be used to communicate information about your company, products, services, corporate atmosphere and goals. However, the communication does not have to be just one way. Blogs allow for comments, so when writing in your blog, ask questions and engage customers with polls, links and other interactive features.
Your company blog can show your company’s personality. Where the website can be the suited business man, the blog can be casual Friday. Still keeping with your company culture and outline, a blog can be more easy-going and not strictly about what your company sells or offers. A blog can include industry news, videos and events that relate to your product, service or industry. Make sure to share pictures and share news events. Use this as an outlet for information about your company. Feature employees, talk about how the company celebrates holidays, and showcase achievements. If your company participates in any charity events, the blog is a great place to post about that. Do you award an employee of the month? That is definitely something to share on the blog. A blog should not be all about sales and services; give your blog a life along with a personality.
Educate Customers or Clients
We have already established that a blog can be a great way for your company to communicate with potential and current customers and clients; so what better way to explain about your products and services in more detail than the strict format of a website allows for? Does your company receive frequently asked questions? That is the best place to start with customer education. Use your blog to answer frequently asked questions, tell customers more details about products, or further explain services to your clients. In many cases pictures and diagrams can be used for explaining things to customers.
Showroom for Products and Services
Probably the most obvious use for a company blog is to help sell more products and services. A blog can be used to showcase products and services; however it should not be the sole purpose of the blog. For that, people can just go to the website. Showing products on a blog should be part of the mix with the other aspects of communication listed here. When you do showcase products on a blog, it should be in a different and more creative way than on the website. Explain alternate uses for the products, include pictures of customers using their past purchases, and show fun and creative uses for products. Use video, imagery, and music to highlight products and services in a different light. You can show how accessories accent an outfit you sell, show how surround sound features improve the quality of a home entertainment system that is on sale, or show how diners enjoyed a special date in your restaurant.
Media Source for Your Company and Possibly even Industry
Your blog can turn into a media hub for your company, and possibly even grow it into a media source for the entire industry that you are in. Just because you sell a product or a service in an industry doesn’t mean that your blog can’t feature unbiased industry news and information. Success in this area can be achieved by restaurants, lawyers, realtors, doctors, just to name a few. Restaurants can showcase information about their cuisine, their neighborhood, and recipes on their blog. If enough useful information is shared, then people will start to come to the blog for the news and information broadcast; all the while keeping the restaurant front of mind without “selling” on the blog. Lawyers can successfully use their blog as a media hub by posting news and information related to the type of law, legal issues, and how current events relate to the laws. The same goes for realtors, doctors and other service related industries that can use the blog to publish news, and commentary on how the news and current events affect the industry.
A well maintained blog not only increases overall exposure of the company but it especially increases the social reach of a company. Relatable and engaging content posted on your blog will be shared by readers across their social networks. The other social aspect of the blog is the interaction promoted with the comments and other engagement tactics you use on your blog to get more of a conversation going rather than a broadcast.
Search Engine Rankings
In addition to the benefits of exposure, engagement and social reach that a blog brings to a business, the business will also enjoy an increase in search engine rankings. Blog posts will show up in search engine results for the relevant keywords that are highlighted in the blog. Since they are likely to be related to your products and company, they will rank for related keyword searches for your products, services, or company. Links from your blog to your website will also increase the search engine ranking for your website, and shared content from your blog with links to your website at yet another layer of additional exposure in the search engines. It is a great way to get some natural links to improve search engine ranking in Google, Bing and any other industry search sites.
How to Get Started
How do you get started blogging? Even though a blog is free, keep in mind that it takes time and effort to nurture benefits out of a blog. The first step is to confer with your IT team or webmaster in order to determine if you want to integrate a blog into your existing website or use an outside blog source. Once your blog is set up, make a commitment to blogging at least once a week. Hire or appoint a blogger if necessary and look for guest bloggers to build up content. Integrate your blog with other social media channels to cross promote posts. Your blog will be a great asset to your company and well worth the time put into it.
A company shouldn’t start a blog for any one of the benefits listed here, but for a combination of all of them. This will ensure a well-rounded blog that touches on all of these areas and reaps the benefits of having a voice, a personality, the ability to educate and interact with customers or clients, a showroom to showcase products and services, a media outlet, a wider social reach and stronger search engine presence.
Author Bio: Richard Larson is author and Brand Manager for GoPromotional, the UK’s premiere source for corporate gifts.