It's me again - drrogera - Maybe I actually agree with what Seth Godin said today in his Just One Post entry. This is a counter post to my post on "Having a Blog Can Be Bad For Business" and is meant to present the arguments for having a blog. I do think they are a good idea. Just like I thought ad supported websites would be a good idea back in 1994 but no one believed me then.(For the curious, and my friends who remember, here is the entry page from October of 1996). This also shows that you can never escape your past.
In 1996, I attended my first Laboratory Products Association meeting. For some reason, I thought my newly minted PhD in Molecular Biology from Caltech made me an expert in everything. So, when the Harvard B-School Prof was telling these business owners and operators how the WWW was going to change everything and that they had to abandon their old way of doing business, I raised my hand to disagree. I did not know the appropriate protocols and manners of attending such meetings. I came from a world where dissent was expected. I said, "I think you are all wrong." I said, "The web will just be another way to interact, to do commerce, and to communicate with customers." She looked at me, and then I realized that perhaps I had overstepped my opportunity and she said, "He's right. I'm done. Everyone should talk to him." and she stopped.
I think the same thing is happening today. It is not just Harvard faculty but millions of blog writers who are saying that you have to abandon your old ways and so on. I say again. It is not true. Blogs will be, and are, a great way to interact, to do commerce, and to communicate with customers. They may actually be better than the old website ever was.
I will give 10 reasons why a Blog can be great for a business. (I hope that others will add more in the comments.)
- It can be a daily Press Release, or a Product, Meeting, Discovery Announcement
- You can demonstrate expertise. As your posts accumulate, they become a source of information not only for your customers but for everyone.
- Make your own Engadget like site. Highlight your great products, widgets, and solutions. By design, a Blog is meant to be a conversation. People can comment and you can respond in a product-by-product fashion. It becomes a two-way communication about your business. You can and should moderate it.
- Improve the dialog with your core customers. People like to talk about what works for them, what they buy, and what they discover. Help them do it by giving them a platform. Search for posts, websites, and articles that talk about your product and link to them. Inspire the dialog; don't fight it.
- Share as much information as is appropriate. It is FREE ADVERTISING! Make videos, PDF files, eBooks, and everything you can to make your products as well understood as possible. Then make sure you write about it and link to it. Did I mention FREE ADVERTISING?
- Hold contests to win products.
- Trial balloon product ideas, slogans, and uses. Get instant feedback from your fans and detractors. Are you afraid of what you might find?
- Let your customers design you new logo, product name, or next product. See what Heinz is doing (or did). There is sound to that site - a novel thing for your business - to broadcast to your customers?
- Run Polls - find out things like market share, preferences, and applications.
- You may even find a new revenue stream. Your content can become a highly valued part of your business.
If you are running a business, growing a business, or starting a business you probably should consider what is the best way for you to take advantage of this new method of having a conversation with the world. If you want to improve awareness of your company, products, or brand, then you should have a Blog. They don't cost much. They can be free.
If you are a start-up in the fundraising phase you may not want to talk about your specific product but you certainly want to begin demonstrating experience, knowledge, and insight as soon as possible. People will search your name, your company's name, and anything else they can, to find out as much as possible about you. Make it easy for them to find good stuff. Make people want to do business with you because you know what is going on and you demonstrate it by your writing.
Take advantage of all the great things that a successful blog can do for you. If you have not noticed, many of the news programs spend time discussing what is "on the blogs." That is a chance for free exposure - Did I need to mention FREE ADVERTISING?
I would suggest that, if you have not, read the post on how a Blog Can Be Bad for Business to discourage you from having a BAD Blog. If you need help figuring out what to do now just send me an email drrogera [at] modernmagellans.com or any of the other email addresses you have for me from the past 15 years- (Caltech, atcg, and so on) they are almost all forwarded to me somehow. You can also check out the people I respect: see "blogroll" to the right. I should have more but I am trying not to boost their rankings over me.