It was a whirlwind weekend in Frisco, Texas. Dallas WordCamp 2008 was held March 28-29 at Frisco Town Hall, an impressive building in the heart of downtown Frisco. I was there for all but the very last session, and had a blast. The speakers were all excellent and the collection of talented and passionate bloggers present added to the excitement and depth of subject matter engagement.
For business owners and decision makers around the world, the question of whether or not to blog must be asked, carefully considered, and answered. I took copious amounts of notes in order to summarize for you the basics on perhaps the most important blogging question:
Why does a company need to own and operate a blog?
That was a question asked by John Pozadzides to the WordCamp panel. Panel members included Matt Mullenweg, Liz Strauss, Aaron Brazell, and Mark Ghosh.
Reason #1: Transparency
The global landscape of ecommerce and Web driven business demands all companies to maintain a greater degree of transparency. Internet users have grown accustomed to in depth interaction with brands online. They know their voice can count via blogs, forums, and social networking/news services. They expect and require interaction from the companies they do business with, and rightfully so. Once the pioneers of web-based business made the leap into hyper-connectivity with their target audiences, the standard was set.
Reason #2 Blogs are Better than Press Releases
We took a poll of all 200 or so WordCamp attendees, and 99% read multiple blogs on a regular basis. When asked how many read press releases, approximately 5 hands rose in the air. But wasn't this a blogger's conference? Yes, it's true. But they're also all business professionals. Whether it's format, personality, comment-ability, or RSS feed-ability, more people read blogs than press releases. And if your goal is to reach a target audience, doesn't it make sense to use the medium of choice?
Reason #3 Blogs Build Trust
As Liz Strauss said, the blog/comment relationship between company and customer builds rapport and trust. Once you have a customer's trust, you have a quicker turnaround time for conversion. Prior to gaining the customer's trust, there is research time where the customer has to verify your claims through external resources. But once you've earned that trust (and assuming you don't lose it), you can promote new products, services, partnerships, etc. through your corporate blog, your readers will buy faster and with a greater sense of satisfaction from the beginning.
Reason #4 Getting in Before You Become the Tail
At some point, your competitors WILL have a company blog, where they connect with their customers and clients. If your company is late to the party, your image will suffer from being the proverbial "tail of the conga line." The last one to adopt new technology wins no awards. And usually loses a percentage of their customer base as well. .
Reason #5 Controlling the Conversation
As Aaron Brazell of Technosailor.com said, "Your customers ARE GOING to have the conversation about your brand, product, or service. The question is: Do you want to participate in the conversation? Do you want to host the conversation? Or would you rather it go on without your involvement?"
We'll cover the top excuses for not operating a company blog soon and why most if not all excuses don't stand up to the test.
About the Author
MarketNet, Inc. is a full-service interactive design and development company. Based in Dallas, Texas, MarketNet provides marketing, strategy, creative services, web development, application development, search marketing, and analytics and reporting, to its broad client-base.