If social media has taught marketers anything, it's that consumers want to know more about a company when considering whether or not to do business. Consumers are interested in who is behind the brand. To that end, marketers have turned to the diverse channels of social media to create a brand personality.
This brings us to the value of a business blog. Nearly 40% of U.S. companies use blogs for marketing purposes. There is no other form of marketing that allows you to share such depth of valuable information with your audience than a blog. But that’s not all, even though blogs are an effective tool for marketing, there are also many other important uses. Take a look at these 27 uses for a business blog and best practices to follow.
#1 Owned Media
Looking for content that attracts media attention? A business blog is a media source that your business creates and owns. Your business maintains control over the most important blog asset: the content.
Best Practice: Focus on content. A well-structured blog, with newsworthy content tailored to the audience, can gain media attention.
#2 Industry Influence
Does your audience know you are an industry expert? A focus on relevant, high quality content, over time can help establish your business as an industry influencer.
Best Practice: Focus a percentage of content on industry trends, best practices, case studies, and other data most important to the industry.
#3 Information Accuracy
Is the right information reaching your audience? Without strategic use of content, the only information online about your business is what others are saying. A business blog can be used to ensure accurate information is available to stakeholders and the target audience.
Best Practice: Develop content that supports business objectives and the business brand.
#4 Humanize the Brand
Looking for ways to show how great your business is? A business blog creates a personality for the business and reflects the company culture. It is a tool for creating an optimal customer experience.
Best Practice: Use conversational dialogue to build a deeper, more personal experience for the audience.
#5 Brand Loyalty
Do you want your customers to trust you? A business blog is a valuable tool for establishing customer trust and building brand loyalty.
Best Practice: Share information important to the target audience. Ensure the business operates as the brand being portrayed on digital channels.
#6 Community Involvement
Is your company working to make your community better? A company’s community involvement is important to consumers. Blog content is a medium for sharing stories of contribution and support.
Best Practice: Use the company influence and audience-reach to make a difference in the communities served.
#7 Team Building
Would you like a new way to engage employees? When developing content that focuses on the company brand, culture, or products, the blog brings together employee teams.
Best Practice: Use a cross-functional team of employee subject-matter-experts to create content.
#8 New Employee Orientation
Want a way to recruit the right people? A detailed company blog hosts extensive information about the company and is an effective tool for employee training and new hire orientation.
Best Practice: Share about multiple company departments with the blog content strategy.
#9 Organizational Alignment
Does your company cross-train employees? Using employee teams to build blog content preserves organizational expertise and knowledge, and gives employees the opportunity to learn about other areas of the company.
Best Practice: Use the company blog as a cross-training tool.
#10 Community Forum
Want to build a sense of community for customers? Today's audience craves community. Blogs serve as an interactive, engaging community forum tying the business to the audience. Use it to have two-way discussions with your customers.
Best Practice: Incorporate the power of a social community into the business blog.
#11 Customer Communications
Need a better way to reach customers? Business blogs bring customers to the business, and can be used as a vehicle for strengthening customer relations.
Best Practice: Use the business blog as an extension of customer service and sales.
#12 Social Media Content
Looking for creative content for your social media channels? Business blogs are the key component of a content marketing program. It provides creative, engaging content for use on other company social media channels.
Best Practice: Integrate relevant blog content with social media channels to drive the audience to action.
#13 Portfolio Display
Need a way to build your brand? Use the company blog to showcase company products, clients, services, and awards as part of community relations and awareness.
Best Practice: Maintain content integrity and quality by keeping self-promotion to a limit.
#14 Customer Testimonial Channel
Does your audience know how great your work is? Customer testimonials are a powerful marketing tool. Use the company blog to share client success stories and customer testimonials.
Best Practice: Integrate use of graphic design and imaging, with proper sourcing and backlinks.
#15 Consumer Education
Are their important things about your industry your audience needs to know? The blog platform educates consumers better than any other form of advertising. A blog is perfect for story telling, integrates with visual content, and holds a long shelf life. It helps get the right information in front of the consumer.
Best Practice: Build blog content to be relevant, sufficiently and accurately sourced, and designed to provide the information consumers need.
#16 Search Engine Optimization
Does your website appear at the top of search results? Blogs boost website capacity to hundreds of pages. Today, 90% of consumers use the internet when searching for local business options. Blogs provide content that pushes a business to the top of search results.
Best Practice: Use strategic use of industry keywords, backlinks, and inbound links to support SEO.
#17 A Strategic Sales Tool
Does your sales team need a proven sales tool? An established blog asset can serve as a virtual sales tool for the sales team. While the team is in the field they have access to detailed product information, case studies, and valuable content, available on-demand, and off-site.
Best Practice: Integrate product information into the blog content strategy, supporting the sales team.
#18 Loss Aversion Tool
Want to show prospective clients what they are missing? A business blog offers the most space for communicating the value of the company, and demonstrating to customers the loss of not doing business with the company.
Best Practice: Share valid, truthful, relevant information about the company as part of the blog content strategy.
#19 Customer Acquisition
Is your website generating leads? Blogs support the sales inbound marketing efforts better than any other form of marketing. They are the perfect tool for lead generation and list-building.
Best Practice: Offer opt-in opportunities using high-quality content, such as downloads, white papers, and eBooks.
#20 Increases Web Traffic
Is your website attracting the right audience? Blog promotions and the community-nature of the blog platform, drives the right visitors to the website for conversion, and increases visitor traffic and repeat visits.
Best Practice: Develop a strategic link-building strategy to support the blog content strategy and business goals.
#21 Drives Opt-ins and List-Building
Interested in a proven way to grow your email list? Blogs are perfect for storytelling. Creative use of content gives visitors the incentive to return and engage with the company. Use a blog to build a powerful email list.
Best Practice: Limit opt-in requirements. Make the subscription process easy and then work to earn trust, and gain more information.
#22 Resource Center for Customers
Want to be a valuable resource for your customers? Use the blog channel as a center for frequently asked questions (FAQ). Blog content has a long shelf life and can be categorized by information type.
Best Practice: Provide detailed information, well-defined answers and links to resources for most commonly asked questions.
#23 Resource Center for Industry and Media
Is your company a resource for news stories? High quality content, and contributions from subject-matter-experts and influencers, over time will establish the company as an industry resource.
Best Practice: Focus on high-quality content with contributions from reliable, reputable sources.
#24 Resource Center for Employees
Would you like to improve customer service for clients? Product driven-blog content can serve as a valuable, on-demand resource for the customer service team. Include product information in your blog strategy so employees can learn more about your business.
Best Practice: Integrate product information with the blog content strategy, supporting the customer service team.
#25 Analytics: Target Audience Data
Do you know how people are finding your website? The blog analytics programs capture data about the company’s target audience, inbound traffic referral sources, and sales conversion. Find out where your traffic is coming from and what information drives the most business to your website.
Best Practice: Integrate a sound analytics program for blog evaluation.
#26 Consumer Behavioral Data
Want to know what is most important to your target audience? The blog analytics programs capture consumer behavioral data and website performance. Find our what is important to your audience by seeing what content gains the most traffic. The blog is an excellent tool for tracking this important information.
Best Practice: Use data to modify landing pages, sales strategies, and website content.
#27 Analytics: Lowers Website Bounce Rate
Is your website converting visitors into clients? Blog postings can be constructed to drive consumer behavior and increase overall website engagement. Keep visitors on your website longer with a blog.
Best Practice: Design blog postings using topic-relevant content, such as inbound and outbound links, and related posts.
This post first appeared on www.mymarketingcafe.com on 2/7/14.