Blogging can help each core fragment of what makes up a successful and viable company. In the following, we will investigate how blogs can help your business by looking at the value of blogs across different value-adding areas.
A successful business can be described by the following characteristics:
Certainly, the business does also need good marketing, great customer relations, an awesome sales force, decent customer support, and a number of other factors. But if you have ideas, a product worth selling, a solid team behind it, and potential customers, the rest will follow naturally.
The value of blogs can be found in every of these four characteristics. Let’s look at each of them in more detail.
The Value of Blogs in 4 Value-Adding Areas
- Creating great ideas
Every company has valuable ideas waiting to come to the surface. The problem with bringing those ideas to the surface is threefold: giving ideas space to develop, helping ideas get improved, and implementing the best ideas. Often it takes only one person to come up with a great idea, but it may take 100 or more people to support and implement that idea. If the idea loses support, the company will need another great idea to keep going. These are the challenges of New Product Development.
While great ideas can increase a business’s costs and people power, but they can also increase a business’s revenue and marketing power. This is why large companies employ researchers who spend their time looking for new ideas.
The challenge for companies that invest in ideas is often that the best ideas don’t get to the top, don’t get reviewed, or don’t even get considered. This idea barrier could be a major obstacle to your company’s success.
At this point, the value of blogs comes in: A truly open and internally viewable idea blog, or even individual employee blogs that allow people to share new ideas for peer review, should allow the best ideas to rise to the surface for selection and review.
- Creating great products
The next challenge for business is to decide which great ideas will be turned into products. After all, what does it help to come up with the greatest idea in the world if your business cannot actually sell it? Smart companies therefore hire people who are able to turn a great idea into a great product. These people, called product specialists or product managers, know customers, know the market, and know how to deliver new products on time and on budget. However, in order to do their jobs well, product specialists need to talk directly to customers. This is where focus groups, customer demo days, and other customer-listening techniques come into play.
However, usually a small sample of customers is relied upon to draw conclusions for the entire market. But relying on a small sample to reflect what the entire world desires is risky at best, and foolhardy at worst. The usual justification is that you cannot ask everyone or more than a small sample due to costs and time constraints. But if you can’t ask everyone in the world, you’re unlikely to be able to deliver what everyone truly desires.
With blogging, you can ask—if not the entire world, then at least your entire blog readership, who are probably connected to other blogs from all over the planet. Once you have insight into what a large community of readers wants, you can begin delivering it.
- Increasing visibility
Marketing is all about visibility – that is, making the right people aware of the right product at the right time. We often say that marketing is about customers. The hard reality, though, is that often marketing is not about individual customers, but instead about creating a global message to which individual customers will respond.
New methods of effective marketing include creating “viral” campaigns, customer-centric events, and otherwise helping customers to spread the word through incentive programs and contests. Visibility is also sought through media reports, event sponsorship and interactive websites.
However, these visibility campaigns lack effectiveness on the one-to-one level. Companies assume that millions of people will be contacted, but only a small percentage of these people will respond. This method of marketing certainly has its upside, but it does not do anything to create relationships with customers, create positive experiences, or create customer evangelists.
The value of blogs helps at this point: Blogs let your readers decide how and when to interact with you. Not only do they give customers control over the relationship, but they encourage customers to continue to engage with you over time, thus providing a multitude of experiences they can subsequently share with friends and associates. Blogs encourage customers to become participants and participants to become evangelists. Finally, they encourage everyone to come together as a community.
- Building a great team
One of the most crucial requirements for the success of a business are great teams of people. Great teams will think up great ideas, build visibility, and spot defects in products, which they will then correct. A great team can fix just about any problem, given the right resources, and is happy to take on just about any challenge.
Unfortunately, great teams can be difficult to create and keep motivated. Anyone who’s built successful teams knows that more often than not some particular “X Factor” will make or break the team: often the ability to find common ground and common interests can be a make-or-break issue. A team comprising colleagues with common interests, backgrounds, or passions will be able to rely on those commonalities, even in the most adverse circumstances.
The challenge is to find employees who fit together. Here, blogs come in: People in your company can find others with similar interests by searching topics that other internal bloggers have considered. Creating ad-hoc connections based on content that is created and owned by internal bloggers is a great way to keep your teams motivated and in touch with people with similar passions across your organization. Just think about the efficiencies that could be gained for the whole company if these experts had an easy way to exchange and archive ideas.