Here and elsewhere, you've read posts from various blog consultants trying to drag you into the social-media swimming pool. If you're like most companies, however, you're kicking and screaming all the way -- clutching the patio umbrella with both hands as you protest, "But will it help my bottom line?"

In many cases, you're not going to be particularly reassured by the answers you get to your question. You'll be given an assortment of "nice" reasons to blog, such as:

  • "It provides your company a voice"
  • "It positions you as a leader"
  • "It helps you build stronger bonds with key audiences"
  • "It demonstrates that you're listening"
  • "It helps you to manage rumors and negative discussions"
  • "It builds your brand"
  • "It creates urgency and buzz"
    Hoo-boy. Try taking that nonsense to your CEO -- you know, the guy who thinks marketing and sales are the same thing, and who's still having his admin print out his e-mails for him.
    Here's the reality: Blogging has been a nice addition to the communications programs of many forward-looking, marketing-oriented companies -- companies that don't need to see an immediate bottom-line result to know their program is working.
    But if you're not in the fortunate position of working for that kind of company (and frankly, most marketers aren't), you're going to need an argument that's better than "nice." You're going to have to explain why blogging is necessary for your company.
    And by "necessary," I mean that it will drive the bottom line immediately and in a measurable way.
    Blogging is necessary for the following companies:
    1. ALL online-only businesses
    2. ALL companies that generate a significant portion of revenues via e-commerce
    3. ALL companies that depend on the Web as a significant source of sales leads
    4. ALL companies with a customer base of heavy Web users
    If your company doesn't fall into one of these categories, and your CEO is scared of blogs, it's probably not worth banging your head against the wall at this point (although there are some under-the-radar things you can do right now to get started.)
    However, if you are in one of these categories, you need to get started -- immediately, if not sooner.
    So, what arguments can you take into the CEO's office to win buy-in? There are two:
    1. It's the single best way to drive organic (unpaid) traffic to a Web site -- so if driving Web traffic is a key part of the marketing plan, it's a must.
    2. It's the single best way to build and sustain a business' online reputation -- so if a brand's standing among heavy Web users is important, it's a must.
    Demonstrating bottom-line results is easy for necessary bloggers. For example, you can track blog-related referrals directly to online purchases. You can track the progress of your company's keywords in search engine results, among other measures, to show how the blog is driving your company's overall Web traffic. If the Web, or Web users, are central to your business, it's a no-brainer.
    Which means that even your CEO should be ready to jump in the pool.

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    image of Scott Baradell

    Scott Baradell is CEO of Idea Grove, a unified PR and marketing agency based in Dallas.

    LinkedIn: Scott Baradell

    Twitter: @DallasInbound