To Blog or Not to Blog?

Social media is becoming an integral part of the 21st century.  Customers expect business owners to use social media marketing tools such as blogs to promote products and services.  In fact, 50% of global companies implement blogs into corporate communication and about 12% of larger Fortune 500 companies blog.  While there are many advantages of blogging, business owners must have the time and energy required to maintain a blog, otherwise it’s a lost cause.
Blogging is an increasingly popular way of maintaining relationships with existing customers and attracting new sale leads.  Perhaps the greatest advantage of blogging is being able to keep customers in the loop of the daily operations of a specific company.  Whether providing important customer updates, details on special promotions for first time buyers, discount information for existing customers or just random ramblings too read for enjoyment, everyone with a garnered interest appreciates being kept informed.  Companies that open their doors and share experiences via blogging are more often than not repaid with customer loyalty.

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Blogs are also a great tool for building and strengthening business relationships.  Not only do blogs allow customers an insight, but also encourage them to participate in blogging by leaving comments and feedback regarding specific products or services.  Many blog administrators find it helpful to enable the comment feature on blogs to allow visitors to post comments and replies.  This is especially helpful when soliciting customer feedback.  Although most feedback is extremely positive or negative, each individual feedback response is vital for continuous improvements of product quality or services
Blogs also help to generate traffic to a particular website.  An increase in blog activity is typically a good indicator of increased traffic; thus more traffic means an increase in potential sells.  While it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone visiting a blog will make a purchase; however, blogs are a great marketing tool to fish for new sale leads.

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Disadvantages of Blogging
The greatest drawback of blogging is the time it requires.  Depending on how often a blog is updated dictates how much effort is involved with maintenance.  If a blog is only updated once a month, bi-weekly, or weekly, the time required isn’t too demanding; however, for those requiring everyday entries, the task may become daunting.  It’s important to post scheduled blogging entries; old and out-of-date entries are a sure way to tarnish one’s reputation.
For blogs requiring daily entries, often the task of posting entries is outsourced to a third party.  While smaller companies may not have the resources to hire someone responsible for blogging, larger ventures find that having someone to handle the blog a worthwhile investment.

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Spam is another disadvantage of hosting a blog.  While it’s not nearly as much of a nuisance as it was just a few years before, robots and malicious users continue to thrive on posting spam and other annoying posts.  The good news is that blog administrators have more control over blogs, especially when it comes to thwarting spam attacks.
The decision whether or not to blog depends on the size of the company and available resources.  Even though most blog web hosting packages include a free blog, the amount of time and effort required to maintain a functional blog is often too much of a strain on smaller ventures.  Mid to large-scale companies with a sizeable customer base, however, reap the most benefits from blogging.