[The following post was written by guest author Chris Lee of Marler Haley.]
A majority of companies maintain websites nowadays, in response to the increasing proportion of consumers who begin their search for business and services online (the figure is currently somewhere around 55%). The amount of company websites with well-maintained blogs, however, is increasing more slowly.
This is strange considering the benefits that a company blog can provide: not only is it a low-cost addition to a business’s site, but it also provides a mutually beneficial platform for potential customers, existing customers, and the business in question to communicate and share knowledge. With this in mind, and harking back to Sarah’s October 2011 post, “Five Reasons to Add a Blog to Your Business Website,” here are some considerations about company blogs and the benefits they can bring you.
As a platform for interactionSarah mentioned the usefulness of blogs as a way of interacting with customers and other bloggers, and the fact that guest blogging opportunities are win-win situations. Hopefully this post affirms Sarah’s claim! My insights about the topic in question will be slightly different to those covered by Clickandinc’s blog, because my experience is in a different industry.
In terms of interacting with the customer, the need to maintain customer relations has not disappeared with the move from physical stores to online selling—but the way these relations are carried out has. Blogs now provide one of many facets through which customer-business relations can take place. Demonstrating your business’s human touch through blogging efforts is a tough but rewarding process—some good tips to ensure that your posts are valuable include:
- Research and be familiar with the topic of the post before posting
- Remember the customers should benefit most from the post
- Enable comments and discussion, and respond to any comments promptly
As a platform for knowledgeIn today’s rocky economy, it’s important to demonstrate that your business has the knowledge to match their products and services. A blog provides the perfect medium to do this, and regular industry updates from a knowledgeable representative within your business can show customers that you’ve got the knowhow.
The great thing about blogs is their flexibility. You can tailor your posts to keep up with goings-on within the industry, provide tips and advice for readers, or even highlight achievements of your customers, your business, or individuals therein. Some examples of posts from the Marler Haley blog demonstrate these three post types well:
- “Olympics Advertising Explained“—outlining implications of current affairs within the industry
- “Selecting Colours For Your Display Stand“—a guide for potential and existing customers
- “Famous Faces“—a casual post about members of staff meeting celebrities at an exhibition
As a platform for SEOSEO benefits should not take the forefront. Whilst an optimized site and a good SEO presence are important, the benefit to the customers is more so. Blogs are a great place for customer orientated content to be hosted, and the move from keyword-stuffed syndicated articles to well-researched blog content is a welcome one across the board.
Naturally integrated keywords, relevant context, and social presence (readers sharing the content via twitter, Facebook, and so on) all lead to Google recognizing your business’s blog as a relevant resource. Here’s a good point to reiterate that commenting should be enabled on your blog, and readers should be given the option to share the post (a good guide on how sharing can be enabled on wordpress blogs can be found here).
So, to recap, having a blog is important for three main reasons: 1) interaction, 2) knowledge, and 3) SEO. The layers of importance should also be remembered: customers should be the primary beneficiaries of a company blog, with the business coming second, and SEO taking the backseat.
About the Author:
Chris Lee enjoys writing about various aspects of customer relationship management. These thoughts on business blogs arose from research undertaken on behalf of Marler Haley.
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