We hear of success stories on a daily basis regarding the use of a simple tool like blog, from micro businesses to large corporations. Yet, despite this, the majority of people running businesses still overlook the myriad ways that a blog can be used in their business.
The good news is that, when trying to find out how you can implement a blog as part of your business website, or as a standalone site, most of the time if you look long and hard enough, you will find a way a blog can fit in. After all, a blog is just another website with interesting features like automatic archiving, commenting, easy management and publishing. And what business doesn’t need those features?
To save you time, though, here are a list of common blog application ideas:
* Content management system (CMS) - Albeit far from a full blown CMS, a blog is more than enough for small to medium size businesses for managing content. Some blog software allow multiple authors, multiple blogs and static pages. This actually means more flexibility as a usable CMS.
* Company news and updates - Blog software sort blog entries chronologically: the most recent entry appears at the top of the page. Anyone who can write e-mail can post to a company blog, skipping the tedious workflow.
* Customer support - Manage knowledge base articles on a blog, allow customers to retrieve information easily by using a properly categorized system or search function. Let users ask question, receive feedback and others to read the conversation. I admit, this is scary for some companies as it knocks up against cultures that aren’t used to being so transparent. Actually though, if used correctly, a blog can increase credibility and customer relations to a higher level.
* Product development and launch - Keep customers updated about the current development of products, build anticipation and buzz, even before product launch. Do you want a bunch of ready to buy readers flocking to your website? Consider using a blog.
* Press releases - Let interested parties get recent news release and let them subscribe to the site feed.
* Education based marketing - Prospective customers can learn about a company’s products or services by reading the blog. Answering customers’ concerns on the blog allows other visitors to relate to the problem and immediately develops interest in the product.
* Focused community - Even a solopreneur can secure a tiny niche and build a sense of community around that niche by regularly posting content related to the topic.
* Demonstrate expertise - Service professionals use blogs as a tool to build credibility by demonstrating expertise in almost any imaginable topic. The buzz allows them to gain recognition fast.
* Internal collaboration tool – A blog is a great medium to keep all staff members updated about a company’s happenings, among other things. Who said keeping up with events is impossible? With a blog, that excuse doesn’t exist.
* Project notes – A blog is more powerful than e-mail for exchanging ideas, sharing resources, and other project related tasks. Other benefits include centralized archives and instant documentation.
It helps if we think of a blog as another server side website publishing tool. Instead of having to design and create static pages, complete with all HTML tags and coding, we only need to write and submit plain text, ideally with simple formatting.
With that said, a blog really can be used for almost all content based website applications. One thing stands out about a blog, it encourages conversation, much like a forum or discussion board does. The difference, however, is only one (or a group of authors) can post to a blog, although all readers can participate in the comment sections of the blog.
A quick tip: Clearly define the purpose of your blog in the planning process. This can help you focus on the right direction and achieve the goal faster. It sounds simple, but many businesses try to accomplish many of the applications above in a single blog, resulting in a confusing and mixed content blog.
It’s better if you concentrate on just two or three purposes at a time, which in turn will help your readers who can easily identify what the blog is about on the first visit. Doing this properly often translates into increased readership and more targeted audience.
About The Author
Hendry Lee helps business owners leverage technologies and what they know to market their business online and actively blogs about Small Business Blogging (http://marketingloop.com/blogging/). Subscribe to Blog Tips for Business (http://marketingloop.com/content/bizblog-tips/) to receive short and practical tips to start and get the most out of your blog.