Business blogging seems to be a hot topic recently, so I thought I’d dive a little deeper into the business benefits to blogging. Particularly if you are a Web 2.0 company, it is a huge mistake not to have a corporate blog. I touched on the subject over on the Zillow Blog with a “Why do you Blog?” post focusing on the real estate industry. However, I’m going to stray away from the real estate industry and touch on some other important benefits of business blogging regardless of what industry you are in.

  1. Market Knowledge– There is certainly no better reason to blog than to gain knowledge of your specific market and to keep up with what your competitors are doing. This was the primary benefit that the real estate bloggers I asked thought blogging helped them. I don’t think the answer will differ in other industries. Face it- you should keep up on current events in your industry whether you blog or not. So why not blog and get all the other benefits of blogging?
  2. Free Marketing– Search engines just love blogs because of all the links they contain. What does that mean? Over time, if you develop relevant content, your blog will produce free traffic to your web site (free advertising).
  3. Public Relations– Blogging is a great tool to communicate with the press about what is happening at your company. Rather than e-mail 40 journalists, you can post a blog entry about something and chances are, 30 or 35 of those journalists will see it if they are truly interested in your company or industry. No longer do press releases serve as the only outlet to create a buzz about your company.
  4. Provides a means to receive direct feedback from users– I am assuming you enable comments on your blog with this point (if you don’t- you shouldn’t even bother to start a corporate blog in my opinion). Personally, I would argue this is probably the most important reason to start a corporate blog. While many see the benefit from a Public Relations standpoint, not many people really see the value from a customer service standpoint. Whether you want to admit it or not, people are talking about you company in the blogosphere- both good and bad. Given that, the question becomes, “Are you part of that conversation?” Consumers want your side of the story. If you don’t give it, chances are, someone else will give their interpretation of it for you. Participating in the blogosphere (engaging in the conversation) gives you a means to address misconceptions about your company. Listening and responding to users goes a long way toward building trust with your users- which I challenge you to argue against if you want to take a stab at saying trust is not important.
  5. Become a Expert in your Niche– This goes along with number 3 above. As you continue to write great content, your ideas will slowly start to gain credibility with your audience. Keep writing and stay focused on your industry!

The argument against business blogging? I’d say the main one is time. It takes time to develop a good blog and grow your audience. In addition, a corporate blog is not really something you can outsource to a PR Agency (at least I wouldn’t recommend it). So yes- it will be an expense for your company. Overall, I really think the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

For those of you thinking about starting a corporate blog (you should if you don’t have one already) or just want to educate yourself further about business blogging, there is a great event in two weeks- the Blog Business Summit that takes place in Seattle from October 25th to the 27th. There are some great speakers on the list, including John Battelle, Jason Calacanis, and Robert Scoble. There is actually a very interesting podcast with John Battelle here (if you’re too anxious and can’t wait untilt he conference to hear him speak).