From Dell to Intel, companies have started to put up their own blogs as a new way to communicate with their customers. A lot of smaller businesses are trying to follow in their footsteps (with various levels of success). The question is: “Is it really worth it?”
The Good Stuff
1. Getting Personal. Many businesses already publish newsletters for their clients, but blogging takes client communications to a higher plane. The key is interaction. Blogging is a two-way street, usually in an informal atmosphere. With it, one can create a strong personal relationship with customers, encouraging brand loyalty.
2. Reader-friendly. The basic blog format is clean and simple (unless cluttered up by ads). If you use any of the popular platforms such as WordPress, there are hundreds of great-looking free templates you can choose from. And, since people are used to blogs by this time, it’s easy for them to digest your content and navigate through your site.
3. Uncomplicated. You don’t have to be a very technical person to start a blog. Most can be set up in a matter of minutes. Enhancements like polls, podcast widgets and other plug-and-play add-ons are also available.
4. Low-cost. Blog setup can range from free, if you use a specialized blog host such as Blogger, to a few hundred dollars, depending on whether you plan to get your own webhost and use a personalized domain name. Of course, the latter will appear more professional.
5. Blog as portfolio. Aside from featuring the latest announcements from your company, your business blog can include articles on the latest trends in your industry, to show people that you are up-to-date and that your products and services reflect that. You can also post in-depth how-tos, reports, or opinion pieces that can build your credibility as an expert.