If you need a quick, simple elevator pitch for why your company should have a blog, don't miss the post Corporate Blogs: How's Your Elevator Pitch These Days? from Conversation Agent, which includes elevator pitches from popular social media pros.
If you'd like a longer explanation for why blogs matter at SAS, stick around. I have a list! The obvious answers are in our stated goals for the blogging program: establishing SAS employees as trusted advisers, raising awareness about SAS products, improving SEO, influencing industry thought leaders and providing customer support. But my top personal arguments are more fundamental and behavioral. Here are the top 6 reasons why I think corporate blogs matter:
- Google is a news source. Where do you get your news? A lot of us still receive daily papers. Others subscribe to weekly news magazines, listen to NPR, read Yahoo News or watch CNN. Some people even get their news from Facebook. These are all passive news sources that feed news to you.Think instead about what you do when you first hear about a breaking news event, or when you discover a new industry term that you want to learn more about. In those cases, you're more likely to open a search engine before turning on the TV or flipping through ComputerWorld magazine to learn more.Why? Because you know you're likely to find what you're looking for near the top of the search results, and you know that you'll get a good balance of articles from various sources. That's what your customers and prospects are doing too. If they go searching for "high-performance risk" they may find articles from Intelligent Enterprise and Computerworld. But they might also find a blog post from SAS right along with those traditional media results. Fill in your own keywords for the same results. Blogs are SEO beasts. If you make the effort to provide useful content that's optimized for search, your customers might be more likely to find information they're looking for on your blog - not in a FORTUNE magazine article.
- People interact with people. This is the obvious reason, right? But it doesn't mean it's the easiest. People don't want to hear from a nameless, faceless, corporate voice. They don't buy products from a brand. And they don't play golf with SAS Business Analytics. No, they want to know what Jim Davis thinks, what Chris Hemedinger is reading today and how Jim Cox describes topic discovery. The trick, of course, is learning to write like Jim, Chris and Jim - and sounding like yourself, not a nameless, faceless corporate voice.
- Fresh content draws in repeat visitors. If you visit the Web site of your favorite restaurant to get directions, you might scan the menu quickly and print out a map. But you're not likely to return to that site until the next time you're planning to meet someone there again for dinner.What if, when you went to the site to get directions, you noticed they had a featured recipe of the day? You'd be more likely to come back, right? Especially if you're a foodie or a budding cook. The same is true for blogs. If your blog is updated regularly with fresh, interesting content, even first-time visitors will notice, and consider bookmarking the page or subscribing to your RSS feed.
- Readers like to feel in control. On a very basic level, a blog is a content management system. Posts are shown in reverse chronological order, but readers can also reshuffle the content to show only posts on a certain topic, only posts by a certain author, or only posts in a certain date range. Blogs make it very easy for readers to sort through many years worth of content and find the archived pieces that are most relevant to them.
- We all have knowledge to share. We are all experts at something. You answer phone calls, make decisions, build things, write long e-mails. In the process, you learn things and gain more knowledge than you even realize. When you have a blog, it forces you to look at your days differently and think about what you've learned or read or communicated this week that you should share more widely.Plus, the act of writing is an important part of the learning process. I'm learning about what I know right now as I type this list. What might you learn about the knowledge in your brain if you wrote a blog list today? And how might our customers benefit if you shared that knowledge? The more readers of a blog come to trust and rely on an author's insights, the more likely they are to approach that author to learn about the company's products or services.
- Blogs can lighten your work load. I can hear the groaning already from anyone who's made it this far into the post. "Wait a minute" you're thinking. "Haven't I heard you say that blogging takes commitment? That it's not just about writing? It's also about listening and engaging and commenting and promoting your content?" That's true. And it does take time.But when you do it right, it fits into your regular schedule, and it supports your existing work load. For instance, the next time someone asks me why blogging matters, I can send them right here to this post. The next time someone asks Chris Hemedinger about installing Enterprise Guide on Windows 7, he can send them here. He doesn't have to type a new email about it or make a phone call. All the information is right there. In fact, I've heard Chris and other corporate bloggers say blogging isn't an extra task for them. Instead, with experience, they find ways for it to fit into their daily job tasks, and helps them do their jobs better.
What are your reasons for blogging? How have you convinced your leaders that it's a worthwhile business activity?