Using a Blog to Build Your Brand
Businesses big and small need brand building in order to succeed. Online presence is especially crucial in building the brand of a business – the biggest advantage one company may have against its competitors. This is especially true for small businesses that don’t have the budget for print advertising, or the means to provide niche products and local services. One of the best ways to build presence and a brand in the digital world is through blogging.
There is virtually no cost to host a blog, aside from the several hours it takes to create good content. To make it simpler for you, one of our employees at Path Interactive created a guide on how to create website or blog. A well written and engaging blog with valuable content could draw anywhere from hundreds to even thousands of readers (aka potential customers). It is easy to calculate the cost-benefit ratio here, and see why so many companies choose to host blogs.
Building an Online Image
The blog is the online voice of the company. Providing valuable content related to a company’s core business helps prove expertise, and thus trustworthiness. The tone of the blog provides the personality – is the company serious, helpful, fun, romantic, etc.? Depending on the image a company wants to portray, the blog could show off its personality through various types of content.
For example, IBM has multiple blogs of various subjects, e.g. Cloud and Service Management, where its experts and evangelicals post content to help its users, give suggestions and recommend related products. IBM tries and succeeds in showing that it is not only the expert in the computing industry, it also values and understands its customers.
Create and Maintain Communities
Blogs don’t have to be a one-way communication form. Allowing the audience to give feedback and comments could be a great way to see what customers actually think about the company/product. It helps generate ideas for the brand that normally takes a survey/focus group. Responding to the comments also help establish personal relationships with the customers and thus develop trust between the company and its product end users.
To take this a step further, developing a forum and extending to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter would spread the name of the brand and increase the impact of the blog. Starbucks Blog does a great job at this. My Starbucks Idea not only features blogs and allows comments, it is also a hub for audience/customers to generate and comment on new product ideas.
Expand Customer Base
Not only is blogging a great way to communicate with existing customers, it is also cost-efficient. Building a large readership and potential customer base is vital to building your brand.Optimizing the content for SEO purposes is also extremely important when writing a blog. However, establishing the voice of you brand is a priority before engaging in SEO initiatives. As your blog grows and gains in influence, the blog posts will show up in search engines, thus helping the brand reach those people who have never heard of your product or service before. It is also important to build connections with other influential, independent bloggers in the industry by using your blog to run brand building exercises such as fun contests, and expanding the content to include short videos and infographics. This effort will also help expand readership.
In this social media driven age, word-of-mouth effects cannot be overstated. Blogging helps spread the messages one tries to communicate, i.e. the viral effect. Through content sharing, a blog post could potentially reach hundreds of readers.
A successful blog with helpful and interesting content could build relationships and trust between the company and its customers, increase customer base and loyalty, and improve and solidify a company’s image. In time, a great blog will help build a strong brand for you business.