The following is an article I wrote for the Nevada Business Journal:
Blogging for Business
Why should businesses care about blogs?
There has been a lot of talk about blogs lately. Politicians and businesses alike are entering the blogosphere at a surprising rate. Why? Currently, more than 57 million American adults read blogs.
For a long time blogs were simply thought of as conduits for personal expression by individuals who were not in the buying stage. There seemed to be no real application for business. This popular misconception turned out not to be true.
Blogs are in fact websites. They are hosted on a server, built on the same programming languages, and most importantly, indexed by major search engines like Google and Yahoo. The major difference is blogs give businesses a personal voice, and they can be built and launched for far less money than it takes to build a website.
The Power of Search
“Internet penetration has now reached 73% for all American adults,” according to Pew Internet, which is an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet. This means there are millions of potential customers that are online every day looking for specific products and services that you offer.
Internet users search for products and services by entering specific terms or keywords into search engines. These keywords or terms produce immediate results that introduce users to many different companies vying for their business. But how do they find you?
Search Engine Optimization
Search engines place a significant amount of importance upon fresh, keyword-rich content, and the more relevant content a business puts online the better. Blogging software helps you publish this information easily and frequently.
Search engines also put a lot of value into linking. Companies will find online conversations that are based around what their company has to offer. One blogger links to another blogger because they find value in what they have to say. This continues the conversation until multiple bloggers and websites are linking back to original creator of that content. This helps push your website or blog to the top of the search engine results.
Differentiation & Demonstration of Expertise
Consider for a moment that a potential customer is shopping online for a particular product or service that you have to offer. They type in a specific keyword or phrase, and several competitors appear in the search results. They click through to one of the websites and begin to analyze their offerings in regards to price, benefits and presentation. They return to the search results to compare that initial experience against other competitors. After a few more clickthroughs, the potential customer has not found any distinguishing differences.
But then they find your company’s blog. Your blog demonstrates a personality with a voice and a willingness to share information to further empower their customers to make the right decision about what they want to buy. Instead of representing an impenetrable and impersonal corporation with no direct connection with its customers, you are seen as a personable and interactive company that wants to engage its’ customers.
Bringing Businesses and Customers Together
Blogs not only help with search engine optimization and differentiation from competitors, they also offer a way for companies to understand their customers better. Blogs are a chance to establish ongoing dialogues with customers and receive useful feedback that empowers a business to become better at what it provides.
Blogging is a time commitment, and it is not for everyone. But if you love to write, and you are passionate about what you do, then you will find that blogging is a powerful tool for attracting new business, creating loyal customers, and developing a deeper understanding of what can make your company even more successful.