Despite the unquestionable importance of blogs as a marketing tool, there are several large companies who don't use them. And the ones that do aren't particularly good at it; they simply use their blogs as press release boards to make the latest announcements and nothing else. But a good blog is invaluable for a business – it improves brand awareness and trust, informs and engages its audience, and aids in acquiring leads and increasing sales. It's not only B2C companies that can benefit from blogging, B2B companies have a lot to gain from fostering this practice as well. Here's a detailed look at why blogs are beneficial for businesses and how companies can motivate their employees to become regular bloggers.
Image : shutterstock
It provides expert information to customers
Blogs remain the best way for a business to provide detailed information to its customers. From interesting stories about the company to valuable insights about the industry, blogs are the most effective means of communicating with large audiences. Since many professionals have got into the habit of posting articles on sites like LinkedIn and Medium, getting your employees to cross-publish articles on the company blog from these sites is an easy task.
Customers don't relate to, or do business with, those companies which they view as money-hungry corporations. It pays to humanise your brand and personal communication from your employees is the best way to go about making this happen. Customers view first-hand accounts from an individual representative of the business as a refreshingly candid and honest mode of communication that most companies fail to achieve with their traditional marketing strategies. For an example, look at this gem of an article about fighting cybercrime that Microsoft featured on their blog.
Having a blog helps companies to establish a stronger digital footprint in the immensely crowded internet space. While battling with competitors for customers, it pays to have a stronger online presence. A blog helps in this matter by boosting SEO, increasing traffic to the site and hence improving its SERP (search engine results page) ranking. It also aids in digital marketing endeavours as brands can link to the blog in their social media posts and ads.
It's not only the company that benefits from blogging but its employees as well. Writing is a good way for employees to break the dreary routine of everyday work and recharge themselves while remaining productive. However, convincing your employees to develop the habit of blogging can be a challenge. But it is possible to do so and here's how you can make it happen.
There are few people, if any, who like taking on extra work above and beyond their job role. And since regular blogging requires a considerable amount of time and effort, it's important to ignite an interest for it among your employees.
The first thing you can do is ask your employees to write about topics pertaining to your company or industry that they find interesting. Allow them to choose their topics and don't set rigid deadlines for getting the articles done either. Also, let them explore their creative side and write blog pieces in the tone that they find most natural — whether it’s serious and business-like or humorous and witty. That will not only keep them interested but will also result in them producing the best work.
If you're asking your employees to dedicate more of their time for the company's benefit, it's only fair that they get something in return. Offering incentives to those employees who are contributing to your company blog is a good strategy you can employ. You can offer incentives like a monetary bonus or a paid leave for those employees whose blog pieces have been exceptionally well-received by your online audience.
Writing is not something that everyone is innately good at, but it is certainly a skill that can be developed with practice. Even though an employee may be very knowledgeable, transforming that information into words may be a difficult task for them. To make sure that such employees don't get discouraged from writing, you can assign a person as the blog editor or hire one on a contractual or freelance basis to correct their work and provide valuable feedback. If you find an editor with experience in marketing, you can utilise his or her services to spread the word about your blog as well.
So there you have it — the need for a business to start a blog and how it can turn its employees into regular bloggers. If you're part of a large business which doesn't yet have a blog, or one that isn't anything more than a glorified press release board, it's high time your company seriously considered utilising this powerful marketing tool to its benefit. If it’s inspiration and not motivation that you need, Hubspot's list of the best business blogs should do the trick.