Let me rephrase that question. What makes a blog such a unique publishing format? How does it differ from a typical website or message board application? It all comes down to a combination of technology and style.
From a technical standpoint a blog is really just an easy-to-use content management system. There are certainly other options on that front, though most not as robust as a blog in terms of the features it offers, such as archiving by date and category, or reverse chronology posting that is timestamped.
Technically speaking, a blog could be used for any kind of information updates, whether it be press releases, product updates, news, or more personal commentary. I mean, let´s face it, the application doesn´t care what kind of content is put into its form fields.
In my estimation the thing that differentiates a blog from any other form of content publishing is the style in which a blog post is written. Blogs beg to be written in an informal, punchy, and shall we say “authentic” voice, what Doc Searls calls an “email to everyone.” Blogs need to reflect the passions, bias, thoughts and judgments of the writer. They need to have heart as well as substance.
But, even that does not fully convey the power of blogs. We have to go back to the technology side to complete the picture. Blogging technology provides an ability to do something no other content management medium does, at least not as well – stimulate conversation.
Comment and trackback components available on most blogging platforms enable others to respond to the post and link to it from their blogs in such a way that the link is referenced on your site. One can literally track the progression of a thought (a meme) from its source across the web. Add to that the ability to syndicate content through RSS, and you have an all-in-one tool to promote your business.
If you simply need a content management system to keep your website updated, I recommend blog technology. It does a great job! However, if you really want to tap into the “power of the blog” begin to talk about your passion as related to your business. See its potential as a marketing and PR tool that can engage customers and prospects in a way no other online format can.
There is a reason blogging is taking the online world by storm. Maybe you should investigate its potential to help your small business grow.