Blogs are continuing to grow in popularity, and they are no longer merely a way for angst-ridden teenagers to express themselves. Today, progressive companies are communicating with bloggers in their industries—and even creating their own blogs as marketing communications tools.

A weblog is a wonderful tool for not only better serving your community of customers but also improving your bottom line. But that can only happen if you are willing to enter this space after due diligence and with the commitment necessary for your blog to achieve its full potential.

These 10 steps will help walk you through that process before you jump into the blogosphere and start setting up your company's blog:

1. Decide whether your company should blog at all

Running a company blog requires a pretty big time commitment. You'll have to post regularly to your blog, or the blog won't build a readership. Ideally, your blog should have at least three new posts a week, and more if possible. You'll have to invest time in writing your posts.

Monitoring and replying to comments requires a big time commitment as well. Replying to readers' comments is vital to establishing a community of readers for your blog.

Moreover, you'll want to spend as much time as possible reading other blogs and leaving comments on them, especially the blogs of those who comment on your blog. This is a wonderful way to not only build community for your blog but also gain a greater understanding of your customers.

Key action point: View blogging as a long-term investment in your company. Plan up front on making a daily two-hour commitment to blogging, including posting and commenting on your blog as well as reading and commenting on other blogs. If your company cannot commit two hours a day, stop the process. Do not pass Go.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier