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The popularity of social media has encouraged many companies to create accounts and profiles on popular services like Facebook and Twitter.
However, one of the earliest components of a social media strategy, the company blog, still has the potential to provide some of the greatest value.
And for good reason. While a company blog can't fix a product or service that's lacking, or send your site to the top of the SERPs overnight, it does things that may not be possible on third party services that determine the format of content and how it's distributed.
The company blog can:
Help you sharpen your pitch to prospective customers
There are plenty of companies with great products and services that don't succeed because they can't effective sell.
When employed alongside the appropriate analytics tools, a company blog can become a means to find out which sales-oriented messaging resonates.
Perhaps even more importantly, it does this by forcing you to express your ideas in written form, something that many entrepreneurs, executives and employees find difficult to do without practice.
Show that your company isn't run by robots
Prior to the rise of the modern internet, it was often difficult for companies to introduce their people to the world in any meaningful way. This is despite the fact that likeable people are the foundation of likeable companies.
Whether a company blog is written by a founder or CEO, or contributed to by rank and file employees, it can go a long way towards putting a pleasant human face on a faceless corporate entity.
Good SEO never hurts, and quality blog content convince others to link to your website. Enough said.
Show that you're more competent than the competition
In many markets, customers buy from companies they trust. Demonstrating competence (and expertise) can be a huge part of building trust, particularly if your company operates in a service industry.
By publishing useful, insightful information and commentary that's relevant to the markets you serve, you can often help build the perception that you're more knowledgeable than the competition, particularly when your competition isn't publishing.
Respond in an emergency
When crisis hits, the ability to communicate response quickly to affected stakeholders should not be undervalued.
While a Twitter account or Facebook page may a suitable platform for such communication, having a platform that you own and control is desirable.
So should your company blog?
The biggest problem with blogs is that while setting them up is easy, keeping them going can be difficult. The reality, however, is that the same challenge applies to social media in general.
It's easy to sign up for Twitter and Facebook, but to create real value with those services takes time. Developing a social media strategy and executing it is time-consuming no matter which platforms you use.
Ironically, a company blog may be the missing component in many social media strategies. That's because Facebook and Twitter are often better distribution platforms than they are publishing and experience creation platforms.
A company blog, on the other hand, is a publishing platform, and with a little creativity, can be used to create interesting experiences as well. After all, a blog is a website like any other.
Bottom line: unless you're in an industry that isn't on the web yet, chances are that setting up a company blog is as worthwhile as setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, if not more so. So stop creating content for other companies and start creating content for yourself.