I found this interesting business blogging article  which talks about the top 10 reasons your marketing strategy should include creating a vibrant blog.  Here's their list with some of my thoughts:
1.  Search Engine Marketing -- All your blog content can be crawled by Google and help you improve your positioning on organic search.  If you write blogs with titles that include keywords from your business that get linked to, you will quickly find yourself getting organic (not paid) traffic from Google, Yahoo, and MSN.
2.  Direct Communications -- Sometimes it is helpful for your target market to hear directly from the horses mouth (i.e. founders, execs, ceo, marketing leaders) as opposed to a message whose fidelity is diminished through translation through the sales force and sales channel.
3.  Brand Building -- If you write well and are strategic in using social media channels, you can get your brand in many more people's heads.  In addition, for your existing target, it is another channel for them to hear your messages (over and over again).
4.  Competitive differentiation -- It is likely that your direct competitors do not have a blog yet, so you can separate yourself from them by doing it now and building readership (rss subscribers).  Once there are a few well established blogs in a field, it is hard for newcomers to break in.  Blogs create branding/marketing barrier to entry for small businesses that can be far more difficult to overcome than technology barrier to entry (especially if you are in the software business).
5.  Relational Marketing -- I'm not sure what the authors meant by this one.  Do you?
6.  Exploit the Niches -- Blogging and the internet is all about connecting buyers of niche goods with sellers of niche goods.  The internet makes all niche markets more efficient.
7.  Media & PR -- I think I speak for many people when I say that my reliance on traditional media is waning.  I find myself far less frequently reading things like Fortune and Businessweek.  Those mainstream magazines might have one or two articles that are in my areas of interest, but on the internet there are blogs dedicated to subjects that are passions of mine and go deep on those topics. 
8.  Position You as an Expert -- Blogs position their writers and the companies they work for as experts in the industry.
9.  Reputation Management -- Business blogs are a proactive way for businesses to manage their reputation and speak directly to prospects, customers, partners, and the media.  It makes a business far more nimble, which can be critically important in times of crisis.
10.  Low cost -- In terms of dollars outlaid relative to other marketing initiatives (i.e. paid search campaigns, seminars, trade shows), blogs are almost free.  However, time is money, so there is a hidden cost associated with having your key employees spending time thinking about articles and answering comments.

Starting a blog is the easy part.  It takes patience and a bit of know-how to attract lots of new propsects to it.  For more information on that, have a look at this article on engineering blog readership.

Any other good reasons these folks missed?  Any horror stories of why a small business blog went horribly wrong?

-- Brian Halligan.

internet marketing kit


Originally published Dec 14, 2006 1:09:00 PM, updated March 21 2013