Since the first days of the web, blogging has been a major portion of the digital landscape. Beginning as small websites where the owners would share information about themselves and their goings-on, blogging quickly expanded into a major industry, with blog providers like Xanga and Livejournal becoming popular with youth and Blogger, WordPress and Drupal grabbing many adults and businesses. Once businesses caught on, the concept of business blogging became immensely popular and profitable. At first seen as a way to share information with customers, bloggers quickly realized that marketing was a major tool in their arsenal; they could not only tell people about the latest happenings, they could also build relationships and help ensure that more of their first-time customers would return.
Relationship building is one of the most important aspects of corporate blogging today. Sharing knowledge with the world in full view of the Internet builds brand community and lends aid to the concept of the company as a benevolent corporation. It increases product involvement by increasing the reader’s knowledge of the product and their needs, helping them better fit the company’s offerings to their own life. Blogging also builds trust between the consumer and company, because when a company shares trade information with a consumer and expresses sincere concern for the customer’s well-being, they are more likely to trust that company.
Creating a bond between the company and customer is important, but what’s the best way to do that? First, the blog has to occupy a specific niche; if the topics covered range from money saving tips to working conditions in China, the reader will feel bombarded by disjointed pieces of information. Pick a topic and stick with it, proving your expertise and knowledge in that field. When readers are able to acknowledge the wisdom and professionalism present in the blog, they’ll begin looking to the company as a leader in their field.
What kinds of articles should be posted? It might seem like news of major product releases or promotional offerings would be a solid choice, but those items should be touched on sparingly, if at all. People want to read things that will help them in their everyday lives. Articles explaining how things work or highlighting the differences and uses cases for various products will work well; for example, a roofing or contracting company could post an article on the various types of roofs and what type is best used for which purposes (clay in the dry Southwest or traditional shingles in the humid Midwest). Other options are How-Tos for owners of the company’s products or basic care and maintenance instructions for the home. Anything that fits with the company’s niche and will help the reader is fair game.
Though blogging began primarily as a personal tool for journaling in front of a potentially huge audience, it has since evolved into a valuable business tool. Through the power of blogs, companies can build brand recognition and gain the trust of potential consumers by giving them information that will help them make educated decisions and hold onto their investments. Though blogging isn’t a recent development by any means, it still has a lot of growth potential. As more and more businesses begin blogging, those without that avenue of consumer communication will become increasingly invisible in the Internet sphere. Blogging benefits both the consumer and the company, so why hold back?