The current revolution in personal writing and instant publishing is called blogging. A business blog is an informal, easily maintained way to regularly communicate with your customers and employees. Unlike traditional media that require lead time for publishing, blogs are frequently updated, often daily, online journals of opinions, information and links to interesting content online.
According to About’s Susan Ward, “What sets blogs apart from other online writing … is their dynamic nature (as opposed to static Web pages) and their voice (style).” The voice of the writer (or writers) of the blog, in a successful blog, is unique to that blog.
Blogging matters to business because blogging can represent your company in a positive light. Blogs can pinpoint employees you don't want to hire and help you do market research. Yet, blogs can also criticize your company and review your products unfavorably. You need to know about business blogging. There are eight reasons blogging is important to your business or organization - to start. Here are the first five reasons blogs matter.
- A business blog is an informal, easily maintained method for regularly communicating with your customers. A business blog offers a more approachable, informal information-providing approach in which customers find enjoyment, get to know your company, and learn about your products, achievements, and innovations.
- A business blog is an informal, easily maintained method for regularly communicating with your employees. Whether you host your internal employee blog on a commercial site, on your webpage in a password protected location or on your Intranet, you have created a strong communication tool. Multiple people may post on the blog and information can be shared daily. No more waiting for the weekly one-page update or the monthly newsletter, employees can read company news every day. The blog differs from email in that a permanent record of posts is maintained by category. The second advantage is that all employees receive the same information at the same time.
- A business blog can provide a "voice" for your company that educates and informs your website visitors; it is more easily updated than traditional Web pages. These are several good examples of company blogs, that are supported by the company. They tell potential employees about your company’s culture. They make customers feel as if they know your company. They inform your current employees and your customers about new products and services. Take a look at:
--GM's FastLane Blog
--Butler Sheetmetal Ltd. or Tinpot Alley
--The Visual Lounge at TechSmith
--Companies like Sun Microsystems encourage blogging and provide employee blogging space.
- The business blog is a recruiting tool for your company. Potential employees can learn about your culture, your policies, your way of interacting with the world, and the process you use for hiring employees. Business blogging is a powerful tool for engaging the people who might want to potentially work for you.
- Your employees may also be blogging. You want to ensure their blogs do not give away company confidential or proprietary information, or trade secrets. Yet, you want them blogging to share intimate and insider experience of your company and your products. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, surveys in mid-2006 established new contours for the blogosphere: 12 million American adults say they have created blogs; blog readership now stands at 39% of Internet users, or 57 million Americans. Indeed, a 2004 study revealed that 12 percent of Internet users have posted comments on blogs; I imagine the percentage is much higher now.
Want three more reasons why blogs matter to business, including tips about blogging job candidates? Find three more reasons in the second part of this article.