If you haven’t considered starting your own company blog, you should, because that vehicle can be extremely useful in developing and promoting your brand.
Specifically, a blog:
- Creates a platform for defining who you are to existing and potential customers . . . as well as creating an additional regular need to further define yourself as you produce the ongoing content for your blog.
- Provides an opportunity to promote specific products and services while giving you the opportunity to highlight differentiating qualities – your sales advantage!
- Gives you a platform for telling your side of any story involving controversy or dispute.
- Can help humanize your company – associating a name and face with your operations. (Toward that end, you might want to consider giving your key employees the chance to guest blog rather than assuming you need to produce all of the articles yourself, an approach that offers the added benefit of showcasing the depth and expertise of your organization.)
- Establishes a venue for starting a dialogue with your customers, especially highlighting the customer service philosophy you want associated with your brand.
- Provides a tool for generating new opt-in customer leads. (Collecting e-mail addresses as part of your blog also develops a mailing list to push out notifications of new articles being available.)
- Adds valuable content to your website that can help boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because substantial amounts of fresh content have a beneficial effect.
- Creates a platform for discussing your community involvements and charitable activities, which are elements of most company brands.
- Forces an ongoing process of self-examination crucial to staying on course with your branding strategy . . . while providing useful frequency in keeping the visual elements of your brand in front of your audience.
- Encourages the development of your online brand personality and social media presence as you repopulate content across those outlets.
Plus . . . you get to build new accompanying skills learned while managing your blog.
With so many potential benefits, what is the possible downside?
Full disclosure – the company that I worked for across many years never did start an official company blog during my tenure, though I was certainly a proponent and made the suggestion several times. That said, I understood the reluctance – with the main obstacle being the potential drain on resources. To be successful, a blog requires regular content; you have to assume many hours of talent will be spent:
- Writing the articles.
- Building and maintaining the web site presence that houses the blog.
- Updating/removing/archiving out of date content.
- Responding to any feedback . . . and perhaps retooling operations to address this market intelligence.
- Monitoring impact upon SEO and social media activities.
Furthermore . . .
If you elect to highlight the efforts and contributions of key employees and make them part of your brand, any loss of talent to other companies (for example, an employee leaves your business to work for the competition) is magnified and becomes even more potentially damaging to your success.
The Bottom Line: To Blog or Not To Blog – That is the Question
While I understand the possible downside, I suspect the risk of committing to a blog might be greater for large established companies than small ones. If you have the necessary patience and commitment . . . as well as the required communications skills, I believe a blog can be a very useful tool in building and maintaining your brand identity. While you will certainly be devoting key resources, the content you create can provide many ancillary benefits, including support of your marketing, social media, and web development activities (among others). Just know that, like every other worthwhile endeavor – any payback is in direct proportion to the time, effort, and talent invested!