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Why Should I Write a Blog?

April 20, 2006

I think a lot of individuals and companies are asking that question. A recent Wall Street Journal story said that something like 5 percent of Americans (sorry for the non-global stat) write blogs and 20 percent of Americans visit them. I’ll give you a couple reasons you might consider a blog in this entry.

To be honest, I was shocked by the number of people reading blogs. I wonder how those statistics would vary throughout the world.

The buzz on blogs is a bit like the original eBiz craze of the late 90s – everyone’s trying to figure out how to use them, and everyone feels like they have to “rush” to it. I worked as an eBiz consultant during the eBiz craze – it was amazing how people (really smart people) couldn’t see that it was still just business. The Internet was just another channel or technology to leverage. But I digress.

Blogs are another method to communicate. And it’s evolving. It will all work itself out over time. Here are a couple reasons you or people at your company may want to consider writing a blog in the near future:

Informal Thought Leadership
It gives you an opportunity to show thought leadership in a more informal manner. Maybe the blog will be the “new” white paper? I think my friend, Thomas Otter, does a nice job at talking about issues and topics related to his work at SAP on his blog (although he needs a new title!).

Secondary Topics
It may offer a chance to discuss concepts or important secondary topics to your company. For example, if you are a musical instrument manufacturer, you might talk about the impact of music on children’s lives, development, etc. Or what about the constant budget cuts in schools related to the arts? Things that your company may feel out of their direct focus of creating instruments, but promoting causes that would benefit your company over the long run.

Experience a Person at Your Company
Blogs offer a chance for the reader to experience a person and a personality. Of course, this is where it can be dangerous, right? ☺ In the case of a smaller agency like mine, where my work hinges on building long-term relationships, having a prospect read some of my thoughts may be a nice introduction to what she or he can expect in a relationship.

I’m a little suspicious of the value executive blogs have right now. Because they often seem so polished and prepared, it really doesn’t differentiate the messaging from any other piece of marketing collateral.

Internal Communication
This could be one of the greatest opportunities for leadership within companies to communicate with staff. Especially for large global companies. You could argue it’s not marketing, but I could argue it is. What better way to communicate and consistently “drip down” a company’s brand than by leaders regularly sharing critical, company-only thoughts with “the team.” The key to success here would be in how authentic leaders come off and how real they allow themselves to be. But those are issues with leadership, not with the communication vehicle. I think this area is huge for internal communications.

Well, this is a lot longer than I want these entries to be, so I’ll stop.

What other ways do you see blogs being worthwhile for marketing?

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