Friday, September 16, 2005

Guest Blogger Friday - Rich Ottum

Today we are honored with another fantastic "Guest Blogger Friday". Our contributor is Rich Ottum, the founder and general manager of eStrategyOne in Columbus, Ohio. Thanks Rich.

Does Your Business Need a Blog?
by Rich Ottum

I’m often asked by clients and prospects whether or not their business should blog. While there is no universal answer, there are guidelines to consider. In general, blogs make more sense for business-to-consumer companies. But whether or not you are a B2C company, you should evaluate a number of factors including your brand equity, your target audience, and your internal resources to reach a decision regarding your blogging commitment.

If your company is associated with a well-known consumer brand, you might be surprised to learn you are probably already the subject of a blog or certainly mentioned in blog postings for various reasons. Searching the blogosphere for mentions of your brand is your first step in evaluating the corporate blog imperative. If consumers are posting comments about your brand, products, or customer service, you need to join the conversation. Ideally, you would launch a brand or product blog to give customers a sounding board. Remember, it is not your job to set customers straight with a corporate blog. Rather, it is your job to listen and learn!

Take a cue from your target audience. Consumers often depend upon word-of-mouth referrals from friends in their selection of products and service. If your target customers are likely to share their experiences with your product, a business blog can provide a credible platform for communication. How well does your company field customer service complaints? If you are unsure, a disgruntled blogger who considers your company unresponsive might tarnish your brand online. Consider also, if your prospects are likely to seek information about your products from a Search Engine. By maintaining active blog content, you will actually increase your page rank with Search Engines. For an example of a blog that maximizes brand and the consumer experience visit Weber Nation.

Ultimately, the decision to launch a business blog depends upon your ability to commit internal resources. Technology is a low-barrier to entry in this instance. While you can install software and host your own blog, you can also easily use a low-cost hosted service with no technology commitment. You will need a staff member dedicated to the task of blogging on a regular basis, daily postings are preferred. As such, you need someone who is capable in representing your brand and products in a glib manner. The same person must be a good listener with the ability to engage both your brand champions and your brand detractors. Finally, your company blogger must have the ear of management to share consumer-generated comments, complaints, or issues with executives as required.

Before you begin the business blog evaluation task, eStrategyOne recommends you seek help from an experienced business blogging consultant. For more information on business blogging, download the free eStrategyOne Business Blogging Primer, and read another article entitled 10 Steps to Marketing with Business Weblogs.

About eStrategy One

eStrategyOne was founded in 1990 by Rich Ottum. The company conceives and executes online marketing solutions to increase website performance and profitability. Services include E-Business and E-commerce Strategy, Business Blog Consulting, Online Advertising and Promotion, Website Analysis and Optimization.

Thanks to Rich Ottum for making this another successful "Guest Blogger Friday".

Have A Great Day

Thom Singer

No comments: