The purpose of blogging

Over the past week or so I have been asking people what they think the purpose of a blog is, I have asked business owners, business executives, MBA students and even other marketing professionals and what I have found is wide variety of opinions.  Some think it is to give technical information and support on a company’s product, some think it is a way to introduce new products and services, others think it is strictly for giving industry specific information on a variety of topics related to each company’s core product or service, and many are under the impression that the purpose of a blog is to give sales information, that it’s just another sales tool.  I am not sure if any one of these is right or wrong in accordance to how the business world at large feels but I do have my own opinion and whether or not the majority agrees with me or not is yet to be seen.

I believe that the purpose of a blog should be to inform, not to sell.  I personally am turned off when I am on a company’s website and click on the link to go to their blog and it is full of sale pitches and information aimed at getting me to whip out my visa.  Don’t get me wrong a company needs to sell, that is their primary purpose and a necessity in order for them to survive, but why do it on your blog, isn’t that what your website’s for?  I see little purpose of sending me from your website with sales information to your blog with more of the same sales information; why not just let me stay on your site with the sales information to start with?  It’s like owning a hardware store on two corners of the same intersection both selling the same products, what purpose would there be in sending someone across the street where the same exact products are being sold.

So what do I think a blog should be used for?  I think it should be used for giving your customers, your prospective customers and the world in general information about various topics in the industry that your company specializes in. For example, if you own a website that sells custom parts for antique automobiles, your blog could be used to write articles about various cars, the performance matrix of those cars, the history behind them and more.  Maybe there is an interesting story about the founder of one of the manufacturers that you think your readers might be interested in hearing about, or maybe one of your staff writes an article about the cross country performance of one these antique cars, or maybe you are privy to information about a glitch in the performance in a cars engine under certain circumstances, there are many things that can be written about the industry that you are in.

But why you ask, what is the point?  The point is to show customers and potential customers that you are an expert in your field and as someone who is always giving good information you become a reliable and trusted source which in itself is marketing that no amount of money can buy.  It all about brand building and exposing your company to the world and showing that you are willing to give something without anything being offered in return.

Another good reason is a blog will help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which brings more visitors to your site and creates more links on your page which help raise your standing with Google. According to Vanessa Summers Companies, LLC a blog is one of the least expensive and smartest ways to build the content of your site quickly and those publishing at least three blogs a week will result in Google rewarding them for adding valuable content on a regular basis (financialguru.entrepreneur.com).

So my opinion is that your blog should be for providing content rich information on a variety of topics that relate to your industry and not for direct selling.  Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having a link on your blog leading back to your website, after all you are in business to make money, but your blog yourself shouldn’t be used for selling, that’s what you have a website for.  A perfect example of a great blog is Renttoday.us a Southern California property management company who seems to have perfected the art of blogging.  You can check out their blog at renttoday.us/blog.

Coming soon a series of articles on Digital Marketing and the small business.