Business blogs have been an enigma ever since large-scale blogging became a reality in the early 00s. Companies weren’t quite sure what they could put in them, and everyone was trying to figure out what effect – if any – posting would have on their success. A decade and a half later, the answers aren’t getting any clearer.
The Online Landscape
People can get almost anything online these days and, more importantly, they know all the places they need to visit to get those things. If they want to research an obscure topic, they go to Wikipedia, if they want to buy something, they go to Amazon, eBay, Lazada, or OLX, if they want to socialize, they go on Facebook.
Internet users created their own map of places to go for specific services, leaving business blogs wondering where they fit in the grand scheme of things. The fact of the matter is, business blogs will always be the odd one out in a company’s online exposure toolbox because very few know how to use it right.
The Imagined Role of the Business Blog
Ask any CEO or business owner what they think the purpose of a business blog is, and they will probably say something along the lines of selling the company, or its products and services. Sadly, they are mistaken because there are already pages dedicated to do that; there really is no reason to add the blog to that mix. This isn’t to say that blogs can’t sell things, as there are some examples that do exactly that. They are, however, the exception rather than the rule.
Companies should never fall into the trap that blogs don’t contribute to the success of a business. Advanced metrics have determined that consumers rank blogs as the third most likely factor to influence a purchase. This puts blogs above usual suspects like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Talking to Strangers
Rather than thinking of the blog as an additional space to sell things on, or as a place for self-promotion, treat the blog like an open forum. To get a better understanding of how this can be done, think about the people who are most likely to read a business blog. Your employees already know everything you want to say; customers know what they want from you, so they won’t read about it.
The only people who would find a blog useful are new users who have no idea what the company is about. Don’t scare or bore them with posts that highlight information that they could find elsewhere on the site. Use topics that foster a connection still related to business, but not as formal.
Making a Unique Connection
Take this blog, for example. Content creation is among the many services that our company offers to clients, but we do not tell people to buy what we offer – at least not on this page. The topic of how to create a successful business blog is something that directly affects our clients. It’s also a point of interest for companies that don’t know what to do with their blogs yet.
If you sell pet food, blog about whether protein or carbs are more important to a cat’s diet. If you are in the banking industry, blog about the security measures printed on paper bills. These are points of interest that allow readers to form an informative and personal connection with the company.
That connection is the reason why blogs ranked so high on the consumer influencers list. Everyone’s already peddling their wares on social media sites, and users have become jaded to their tactics. A personal exchange through a channel that isn’t actively trying to sell them anything is more likely to give them the information they need.