The benefit of blogging has been consistently questioned by people I encounter everyday. Within my social circle, new blogs emerge that are more personal in nature, and often resemble online diaries. The question often arises if there’s any value to blogs beyond personal ramblings and thoughts.
In a word, yes. Blogging is worth it for businesses.
A study from Forrester was recently released that discussed whether there really is ROI from blogging. Charlene Li discusses these findings with its application to a very well corporate blog. She writes:
…the most common benefits are; increased brand visibility, savings from customer insights, reduced impact from negative user-generated content, and increased sales efficiency.
Further, the report as summarized by Charlene goes on to say that the blog’s success involved community involvement (“about 100 people commenting on the blog each month”) as well as media exposure (“the number of press mentions it received”) as it relates to bringing new users to the attention of the blog.
In this particular case study, the media exposure diminished over time. This is an interesting finding. Was the company, then, responsible to improve the press coverage or to focus on other issues that would produce desirable returns? That is a decision that the company needed to make in order to produce desirable results for the company — and for the customer.
As I’ve learned and written about, to achieve desirable conversions for your blog, make sure your goals are clearly defined. What do you want your blog to accomplish? If you want to create a conversation on your blog for your customers to provide feedback that you act upon, encourage that conversation and stay involved in it. The personal attention (by replying to a commenter, perhaps) can be incredibly rewarding.
Almost always, a blog is not going to be a success as a standalone website or even a subsection of your site unless you put a good amount of effort into it, which often poses as the primary obstacle before any company blog is launched. Yet, more often than not, it is necessary to be dedicated to your blog regularly. This involves being part of your community, which may require commenting on similar blogs with links back to your company blog or joining forums that relate to your business. Darren Rowse writes about more ways to get your blog the needed exposure when you first start. A great idea, for example, is to write a blog post that features interviews of industry experts. Another idea is to ask your customers what they you can do to satisfy their needs where it relates to your business. Instead of waiting for a bad season to end or signup period, ask them for their feedback during the process.
I have learned about a lot of individuals and companies that I would never have heard about if it were not for their blogs. I personally witness the gains of a company blog. So if you’re been cautious to start blogging because you doubt the returns, but you have what it takes to make it a success, then why not start now?