Business blogs are here to stay. They are not a fad. They are not going to disappear or lose importance over the next year, 3 years, 5 years, or even 20 years. They are a long-term and powerful marketing tool for your business.
Facebook is hot right now along with Twitter. Businesses are showing mixed results using these forms of media to spread their brand. Currently, each has a place for a company's marketing strategy, but neither is as obvious, nor as simple as a company blog. Furthermore, each of these tools show shortcomings that could wipe either of them off the face of the 'net within a couple of short years if a savvy competitor stepped in to challenge them.
Other forms of communicating with the public such as creating podcasts and online video will also continue to gain ground. However, the time commitment for either approach is substantial compared to blogging ensuring that they will be utilized by a very small portion of the business world for years to come.
Blogs, on the other hand, have several fundamental reasons that point to their long-term value for businesses:
1. Simple to use
Creating a blog post is just like writing an email.
2. Create value for customers
Blogs provide all sorts of information to people interested in your company. They provide answers to questions, details about products, company news, and an insight into the personalities of the employees.
Blogs range from nothing to a couple of hundred bucks a year unless you hire an employee to write the blog, which may very well be worth their salary.
4. Search engine rankings
Blogs score very well in search engines, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. The reason is because search engines continue to get smarter and smarter, weeding out web pages that don't have very good content compared to search terms people search for. As these get weeded out, blog posts climb the ladder as web pages that contain useful information while being part of a large website.
5. All the advantages of Direct Mail, without the postage
Blogs allow your company to reach hundreds (thousands) of customers instantly...for free. RSS subscriptions and tools like Twitter allow you to inform your customers when you have written a new blog post, prompting them to visit your site to read it. While most of your posts will be strictly informational, there's nothing wrong with writing a purely sales-driven post every once in a while if it gives real value to your customers. Within minutes you can generate a measurable response to a sales offer and even test different sales approaches. In the past, this would take months and thousands of dollars in printing and postage costs. With a blog it doesn't cost anything.
6. Blogs are seemless
A customer often has to download a podcast in order to enjoy it. If you offer a video, they have to be in an environment that allows noise to come from your computer. Many companies put restrictions on audio or video in the workplace. But a blog is just a website. Blog pages show up in regular Google searches, they use regular web site navigation, and they don't require any kind of special plugin to read. Customers often don't even know they are reading a "blog," especially if the blog is designed with the same graphics as your normal web site.
7. Blogs evolve
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, blogs are not "owned" by any one company. As a result, the companies that create blogging platforms are constantly evolving, adapting, and reinventing what a blog means. New features and functions are constantly being added. These improvements will keep blogging at the forefront of internet technology for the foreseeable future.
Technology changes our internet experience very fast. The internet as we know it did not exist before 1994 (when Netscape Navigator was created). Blogs entered the non-tech world in approximately 2002, but took a few years to gain widespread recognition.
Here we are in 2009, not even a decade later. But blogging again may be compared to direct mail. While direct mail was popularized and turned into a science in 1923 (Scientific Advertising, Claude C. Hopkins), it is still perhaps the most effective form of advertising in terms of return-on-investment. The fundamentals of direct advertising apply to blogging, and this is why your business blog will continue to be an important and profitable marketing strategy through 2029.
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