By Emily Shea, VP/Partner & Executive Creative Director
February 11, 2014
You know your company is “supposed” to be blogging, but what if you’re (knock on wood) up to your eyeballs in business as it is? Why go out of your way to attract more?
Or maybe you’re skeptical about blogging because you feel like the most prominent reason to blog is that everyone else is doing it. And you’re definitely not one to blindly follow the herd. (Nor do you have the time.)
Really, if you don’t need the marketing, is there any point to running a business blog?
In a word: yes.
It’s important to understand that business blogging is about so much more than marketing. It offers unique opportunities to develop your business in areas where you might not even realize you’re lacking. In fact, if you’re under the impression that the primary purpose of a business blog is to attract more business, you’re selling the whole process tragically short.
Plus, even if your company is enjoying a time of feasting right now, a successful blog can put you in a good position to weather a potential time of famine down the road.
Here are a handful of reasons to blog that have nothing to do with building your client list:
Unite internal staff and share knowledge
Your blog can be a powerful tool in establishing and supporting your company culture. Encouraging all employees to read, participate in and contribute to the blog is a great way to break down silos, share information across teams, build confidence and remind everyone that you’re all in this thing together. It can inspire employees to take more ownership of their areas of expertise, while also gaining valuable perspective of other roles in the company.
Connect with and learn from others in your industry
Blogging should be a conversation. You read about something relevant to your business, you write a response on your blog, others in your industry do the same and out of this chain grows a full-fledged discussion.
If this sounds like befriending the competition, that’s because it is. You never know what opportunities will arise from making friends within your industry. Plus, there’s no better way to broadcast your confidence in your products and services—not to mention your reputation as a team player.
Rivalries aside, the real goal is to teach what you know and learn what you don’t. In business, openness and camaraderie are the new trade secrets.
Humanize your company
Blogs are giving companies a way to invite outsiders in, like never before. Through a company’s blog, people can get a glimpse of what it’s like to work in that industry. They can also make slightly more informed decisions about whether they “like” the company and are ready to trust the company’s brand with their loyalty.
When I’m reading a company blog, I can’t help but be reminded that the people behind that blog, and the company itself, are just people—like the rest of us. Often, it’s surprisingly refreshing.
Solidify your brand
Actors spend a lot of time creating their characters’ back stories and establishing the specific factors that drive their motivations, even though you’ll never find these details anywhere in the script. The more nuances they work into their understanding of the characters they’re playing, the more well-rounded and real the resulting characters are perceived to be by the audience.
Similarly, joining the blogging conversation forces you to formulate your perspective as a company on an endless number of topics in your industry. Whether you realize it or not, every time you address one of these topics in a blog post, you’re building valuable nuances into your company’s story that will ultimately strengthen your brand and help to further define what your company stands for.
Additionally, the more you blog, the more you’ll feel your company’s voice, propelled by your brand, coming out in the words you choose.
Communicate with current clients
If you’re in business, chances are you have things you’d like to express to your customers. Maybe there’s something you wish more of your clients understood about your industry or there’s a general perception about your company that you’d like to redirect.
A blog post can be a gentle, non-confrontational way to communicate with your current clients without making assumptions or pointing fingers. It’s also a less direct way to share information and knowledge without giving the impression that you’re lecturing. (Anyone particularly sensitive to lecturing can simply assume the information is meant for someone else, while still secretly gaining value themselves.)
You know that your staff know their stuff—but how is anyone outside of the company supposed to be able to tell that?
Blogging is an effective way to show that when it comes to your industry, your company is on its game. And the best part is that folks can discover that for themselves without even engaging you, which removes the uncertainty that can come from feeling “sold to.”
Stay customer focused
Some of the best (i.e. most useful and timely) company blog posts out there are the ones that address customers’ FAQs. The more you blog, the more you’re forced to get inside your customers’ minds, to analyze their wants and needs and to get to know who they are.
Blogging also gives you the opportunity to practice speaking to industry topics in a way that customers will understand—something that’s particularly beneficial for employees who don’t interact with customers directly on a regular basis.
Get inspired and motivated
If you’re writing about best practices in your industry, you’re going to feel compelled to follow your own advice. You might also find yourself feeling inspired to try new things in order to report back to your blog audience. For better or for worse, a blog adds a whole new level of accountability to your business.
Modernize your company
In today’s digital-centric marketplace, customers are looking to partner with companies that appear to be keeping up with the times. The seniority and continuity that used to best communicate trust are now sharing the stage with things like savviness, innovation and personalization.
A blog suggests that you’re paying attention to what’s going on in the business world today and that you’re aware of the importance of staying up-to-date. A great blog suggests that you’re likely at the forefront of your industry.
Keep your website fresh
Your blog is an appendage of your website. Even if you don’t update your website that often, regularly infusing your blog with new content keeps your website looking fresh by extension. It also gives your site a boost in search results.
You might even choose to display blurbs from your blog or social media channels directly on your website, which earns you even more points for website freshness.
Still not convinced?
If none of these benefits are appealing to you, and you still feel like your primary motivator is just to follow society’s instructions, should you still blog?
If your motivators don’t inspire you and your heart isn’t really invested in blogging, it will show. No one will want to read a blog post you clearly didn’t want to write, and you’ll never get the full benefits of blogging from a blog that, at its core, is just not very good.
That said, if you are ready to embrace the challenges of blogging along with the values, you might be surprised by how much your blog truly gives back.