In the modern world, there is no excuse for a company to be out of touch with their customers. This is why you should start and maintain a company blog. Reaching out to the public through social media is easy, free and makes good marketing sense, as it brings your clients closer to your business.
Starting a Dialogue
One purpose of your company's blog should be to start an exchange with your customers. This is an opportunity for you to find out what they are thinking, what they believe your business is doing well and where you might be able to improve. It is a casual way to glean information from your customers as opposed to clunky surveys.
You will want to set a friendly tone while still maintaining professionalism, and closely moderate the comments to keep your blog free from inappropriate language and spam. Invite constructive comments and discussion of ideas.
Make your blog visually appealing. A long, text-heavy blog is not engaging to most readers. Use pictures, graphs and other items to break up the paragraphs (always being mindful of copyright, of course). Including pictures of your employees might be an option as well, though you will want to make sure you obtain permission before posting photographs.
Continuing the Conversation
To maintain a successful blog, you will need to update it regularly, perhaps daily, with interesting posts on a variety of topics. This is not a task that a single person should manage, as a collection of voices and input will keep the blog dynamic. Have several employees or outside freelance writers contribute to the blog, writing short posts about different aspects of your business, your industry as a whole or other relevant subjects.
Your company can use the blog for informal marketing inquiries. Your employees can write about their ideas for changes or improvements that would directly affect your customers and gain important feedback about how the changes would be received. You can then use the comments to refine your business to meet your clients' needs while improving your practices.
Overcoming the Doldrums
One risk of trying to maintain a prolonged dialogue is that of lapsing into apathy. You may get to the point where your blog feels unoriginal, pointless or tedious. You may simply run out of ideas. Here are some suggestions for staying out of the listlessness that a project like this might bring:
Have a regular type of post at least once a week. Hold a contest on Fridays or relate humorous stories on Wednesdays. Establishing a regular piece will ease the difficulty of finding new material to include, and it will lend a structure to your blog. Also, those who follow your blog will enjoy the regular columns, especially if there are incentives (such as giveaways) to reward their participation.
Branch out. Instead of having only a long series of blog posts about the next thing your company is doing, talk about different issues surrounding your business. Most of the blog can be a marketing opportunity for your company, but few customers will have the attention span to read several pages of sales materials. Include posts about a variety of topics, from industry trends to ethical questions to how-to guides related to the lifestyle your product or service promotes.
Gather ideas from your other social media sites. If you have a Facebook page or Twitter account, you might be able to fish for suggestions from your subscribers. With the rapid responses these sites often produce, you will likely have plenty of choices for new topics in a very short amount of time. Remember, your user's needs are the most important thing to create content about.
Occasional guest posts. Invite a colleague, perhaps from a business that complements yours, to write a post. You may be able to make this a regular feature of your blog, which will increase traffic to your site and may bring more customers to both of your companies.
A company blog is a great way for you to get in touch with your customers and keep your employees engaged in your business. The ideas generated by this type of forum can broaden your purpose, bringing your business to places you may not have otherwise considered. Keep the dialogue open, try out new ideas and watch your company grow.
Author Bio: Rick Delgado is a business coach and contributor to several business blogs.