I googled the term “using blogs as marketing tools” today and lo and behold, what were the first two returns? A link to some blog posts of my very own and an Allbusiness.com Ask the Experts article by Greg Sterling, Internet and media analyst for market research firm The Kelsey Group.
(I know, I know, you thought we Allbusiness bloggers were the experts. But, there is an entire section of this website called Ask the Experts.)
In the article Greg remarks, “The efficacy of blogging as a marketing vehicle is unproven.” He’s right. They are. Note, however, that he didn’t say blogs won’t be proven to be viable marketing channels, just that they have yet to be. And how will they ever be if we don’t use them for that purpose?
Greg makes several good points worth taking away. Here are some excerpts:
Depending on your business, starting a blog could be a low-cost method of boosting your profile with potential customers and the media and even helping your Web site’s ranking in “organic” search results. It could also be a time-consuming effort that yields relatively little benefit to your bottom line. It all depends on the commitment you’re willing to make to your blog and its content.
Blogs that are merely transparent marketing vehicles and carry only ad copy or promotional messages are probably destined to fail.
You should really see your blog as a way to make people aware of your products and services rather than as a source of direct sales.
I think blogs have REALLY yet to prove themselves as direct response sales mechamisms, so his last point is well taken. That’s not to suggest you shouldn’t try using them for that purpose, just that’s not all you should do. Greg suggests that blogs that carry only promotional or ad copy will ultimately fail.
There’s more to this blogging thing than meets the eye. Let me suggest you read my Blogging Strategy section to learn more about how to use your blog for marketing and business communications purposes.