What Kinds of Businesses Can Benefit from Blogging?
In response to the question, lots of people in the marketing, web, or social media business will tell you that blogging is for all businesses. In a moment of unbridled enthusiasm, I might tell you that too (hey, there are interesting and useful blogs about solid waste management). However, if I take just a little time to formulate a thoughtful response, there are some qualifying factors.
- Are your customers searching online for your products/services? Chances are very good that they are, but the likelihood varies from industry to industry. A quick, informal poll of existing customers about their online search habits should give you a reasonably good picture. Just ask 10-20 of them: they’ll tell you. And unless they’re in a hurry to do something or be somewhere else, you might even learn some other things from them.
- Is there expertise or a knowledge base that you could share, and is it knowledge or expertise that your customers would find useful? If so, you can be helpful to prospective customers, and become a trusted source of information. Traditionally, many industries have guarded their knowledge as "proprietary," but online, you gain trust and esteem by sharing. Just because you tell me how to fix a plumbing problem doesn’t mean I will fix it myself (not after that last little adventure). But you explaining it to me makes me more likely to call you to fix it.
- Do you like your customers? If you do, you will talk with them respectfully in your blog, rather than talking down to them or blogging about how stupid or clueless they are (not a good way to get more customers, but I’ve seen it happen). It’s unlikely you can disguise your feelings for long while blogging, so adjust your attitude before you sit down to offer your pearls of wisdom. Your business blog is a marketing tool for communicating with existing and prospective customers, not a diary for recording your daily frustrations.
Not a very long list of qualifiers, but as far as I can tell, those are it. All the other things that people tend to get wrapped up in (finding the time, writing ability, how to start, etc.) can be dealt with tactically. If you can think of other qualifiers, I would really love to hear about them.