It used to be that companies and media outlets would blast their messages out to the masses and that was the end of that. Communication was a one-way street. That is no longer the case.
With the rise of social media and the growth of the Internet, consumers have come to expect a higher level of interactivity. Communication has become a two-way street and a lot of that communication has become far less formal. A blog fits in perfectly with this kind of paradigm, because you can use a more casual tone on the company blog and you can allow comments to continue that conversation.
You can reach out to your customers just as much as they can reach out to you.
This is especially true if you are a service-based business, but it also applies to a product-based business. A blog gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Some of your blog posts may surround products and services that you offer directly, but it is also useful to have blog posts that speak more about your industry at large. This helps to demonstrate that you know your stuff, so when you say something, it holds weight.
A good example of this is the Whole Story blog from Whole Foods, depicted above. Many of the posts aren’t about promoting their products, per se, but rather about providing useful information to the consumer by way of recipes, floral advice, and seasonal reporting.
By having constantly updated content on your blog, you are giving other bloggers and social media users a reason to link back to your site. This helps to grow your brand awareness and extend your reach by way of word of mouse marketing. Word travels quickly on the Internet.
This has the added advantage of SEO benefits, as a “dynamic” site is looked upon more favorably in the eyes of Google than one that remains relatively static. By having new content going up all the time, the Google bots will come by to spider your site more often and this can help you get higher up those search rankings.
“But I don’t know what to blog about!”
The important thing is to get started and to start building up that audience. Yes, it can be a challenge to find the right topics in the beginning, but this will become easier with time.
“But I don’t have time!”
Or you might think that your writing skills aren’t up to snuff. That’s fine too. It’s very common for company blogs to use ghostwriters to blog for them. And yes, I provide blog writing services.
“But it costs money!”
If you already have a domain and hosting, adding a blog really adds no extra expense. You don’t necessarily need to try and make money blogging from a company blog; it’s more about the secondary benefits described above. Any expense that you incur from building and maintaining the blog, like hiring a freelance writer, should be rolled into the same kind of budgetary concerns as more conventional marketing and advertising.
Press releases may be great for major announcements, but the blog is really a way that you can keep that communication channel open with your customers. Exchange ideas, build your brand, and earn more money.