Once upon a time, marketing consisted of primarily one-way communication from companies to customers. Marketing messages were disseminated via print, radio, television, billboards, public relations and direct marketing channels. The goal was to reach customers through one or more of these vehicles.

The Internet has radically changed the marketing experience by removing geography as a limiting factor, and as a result it has increased the number of potential customers a company can reach through its marketing efforts. Potential customers can search for just about anything on the Internet.

Blogging takes advances in marketing one step further by transforming it into a conversation. It allows organizations to initiate conversations with their audience. Blogging conversations can also occur between customers and potential customers and your competition and existing or potential customers.

A wonderful byproduct of this conversation between your company and its customers via your blog is that you and your customers begin to better understand one another. Gaining a better understanding of your customers allows you to more effectively and efficiently market to them. This, of course, lowers your marketing costs!

There are as many reasons for an organization to consider blogging as there are organizations. However, most of the reasons will fit into one of the following eight categories. Quite often, a blog may combine several of these elements, as you will see in the examples provided.

1. Be viewed as an expert

Many companies actively participate in thought-leadership activities such as writing for industry newsletters, participating in or hosting professional conferences, and producing whitepapers on subjects of interest in their respective industries. Blogging provides another vehicle that your organization can use to position itself as a thought leader.

Also, if you highlight competitors on your blog and link to them, it sends a powerful message to your readers. It tells them that your company is comfortable with its standing in its industry, and that you want to make sure that your readers know of information that could benefit them. Even if that information is coming from a competitor.

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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