Why a Company Should Have an Official Blog?

By: ZunNurain Khalid of UltraSpectra

Last week I attended a blogger’s meet-up organized by Hewlett Packard. By the end of the day, what I was taking away from it was a nice T-Shirt with their insignia, their new product HP Mini Notebook review brochure, and many ideas for corporate blogging. Since then I was musing about it so I induced to give them a proper shape and now here is what I came up to.

Company website is just like a statue, which stays the same day after day. While content on their website remains stagnant too month in and month out – and reason is pretty obvious that why customers, users don’t visit your website too often.

So what is the way out!

Blog is probably the best to cure the situation.

The wonderful thing about blog is that you have total control over it. A blog is a digital identity; you can control your information, shape it and present it to your target audience from anywhere in the world.

You can post employee of the month, up coming function, wedding pictures of your manager along with serious stuff like product updates, policy changes and so on.

Companies are definitely afraid of being criticized, as they don’t want to be bashed. If there is a blog and reader leaves a critical comment; well as you know, this is web 2.0 and readers are already leaving critical comments everywhere, on the blogs, discussion boards, online forums and so forth; companies are a bit sensitive about the blogging idea. But hey, I am sure you are confident about your services, so there are going to be good comments too.

Before I start penning down anything about corporate blogging a recent major blogging success story popped up in my mind. It’s really interesting to know that Barak Obama (http://www.barackobama.com) got to the White House by using a blog and social networking sites like facebook (http://www.facebook.com/barackobama), MySpace, YouTube and whole bunch of other social networking sites.

Besides regular campaigns and lobbying, democrats figured out a way to reach the masses through blog, as it’s a better alternative. It’s so simple to tell what made Obama get to the top seat if we simply visit his blog. You will see a proper engagement plan for the supporters of democrats plus an urge to join “Hope” that he created. Tremendous blog, outstanding results.

Okay, as for me, I see the following top ten reasons why companies should have a corporate blog. I’ll be addressing companies directly, as if they can get any good reason to start their corporate blog after reading this.

  • Transparency: The first reason why you should start a corporate blog is to become completely transparent to the readers. You want to be as open as possible by your business practices that how you are doing things, so that your readers should trust your brands and you can talk directly to them. This increases the possibilities that they get more confident buying your products and services.
  • Getting Ahead Of the Curve: The second reason you should have a corporate blog is to go ahead of the curve. Right now 9% of the fortune 500 companies have a corporate blog and it is expected that by the mid of 2010 almost 15% of the companies will have one. Now a few years down the road when it will be about 50% of the fortune 500 companies that will be having their corporate blogs to stay ahead of the curve, the competition will start getting brawny too. So here is a hint for you: “Start your corporate blog now.”
  • Client Communication: The third reason you should have a corporate blog is that it allows you to have informal discussion with your clients or customers. More you understand your customer – more you can come up to the mark with the products. Blog is a nice central hub of attention with lots of discussions and FAQs.
  • Build Hype: The forth reason you should have a corporate blog is that you can create hype early. Like for example Google ( http://googleblog.blogspot.com ) has a corporate blog and it takes advantage by announcing the testing product phase months earlier before actually launching them. So, they can let know the people about their product and create the buzz and required hype. Recently Google is doing this with “Google Voice” and “Google Wave”
  • Gather Opinions: The fifth reason you should have a corporate blog is that they can generate opinions. You can ask questions on their blog, generate new ideas, test them and see what your clients/customers want. You can know the dynamics and responses on your products early before you even take product to the market.
  • Word of Mouth: The sixth reason you should have a corporate blog is to have word of mouth opportunities. Blogging is really a viral idea. People like to read and then share it and blog about it and so on. So your product gets viral so very quickly. That’s what Apple (http://www.apple.com/iphone) did before they were launching iPhone. They used blog as a showcase of the big features of iPhone and that way it went viral in very short time.
  • Easy to Setup: The seventh reason you should have a corporate blog is that blogs are super easy to setup at a very low cost. Most of the time its nearly free or just a cost of a designer.
  • Cater to your Clients Need: The eighth reason you should have a corporate blog is to allow you to cater with the needs of target market. You can announce new features, new products, services, public opinion, contests, setbacks, milestones, your tips and tricks about your niche or even about reviews of competitors or compotator analysis. People who follow your blogs along everyday want to hear everything related to the company.
  • New marketing opportunities: The ninth reason you should have a corporate blog is cash in new market potential. With a blog, you create lot of new content, lot of new pages. Those pages and content can be promoted in a lot different ways that the websites are capable of. Even if you have super competitive industry, you with your blog as a marketing tool can generate many different streams of traffic towards your main website.
  • Search Engine Optimization: The last but not the least, you should have a corporate blog for a reason that in my opinion is the most important, that is for Search Engine Optimization. With a blog, you are frequently updating a lot of content, creating lot of new pages for Google and other search engines to visit and reach one of the pages linking back to your home page, promoting your content and services. With more content you write with more links of your products and services that Google is going to find, you are actually doing an optimization for your main website. So just updating your blog as frequently as possible, you are promoting your home page indirectly.

I want you to remember two keywords for this article. The first one is TRAFFIC. I am not referring this as the traffic in the peak hours in Rawalpindi. I am referring to traffic as the number of visitors on the blog. If you are not getting traffic, doesn’t matter how attractive your website is, how pretty it is, it will never going to work. The second word that I want you to take away from this article is BRAND. Blogging will help you to build you brand. There are people who are brand conscious i.e. whatever the brand will do they will follow it.

Though blogs may not always yield immediate growling results, they can be part of a “halo effect” that ultimately gives a business a bigger online presence…

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