Blogs are quickly making their way into mainstream consumer companies. Once the domain of high tech businesses and political websites, blogs are now commonplace on the web. Some consumer products companies that are using blogs to communicate with their customers include GM, Stonyfield Farms, and Ice.com.
One recent estimate suggests that 80,000 blogs are created every day. Blogs can be used for many reasons including announcing new products or sales, creating an ongoing conversation with customers, posting the thoughts of the company’s CEO, or even creating buzz with controversial postings. While businesses can use blogs as a way to enhance their brand, they need to do so carefully. Even though blogs can be created in less than 5 minutes, a great deal of thought needs to be given to them, more than might seem necessary at first glance. My company’s experience with creating a blog can hopefully serve others well.
With all the talk recently about blogs, we wanted to position our flower company, Beyond Blossoms (), as on the cutting edge – as more than just another place to buy flowers. We wanted to start a blog to serve as a place to provide unusual and interesting information about all things floral, from flower gardening tips to art exhibits featuring flowers, to fun facts about flowers. It would be a way to interact with customers and hopefully provide content they find informative, useful, and even funny.
We initially thought that getting the blog up and running would be easy, but it quickly became apparent that there were many issues to be thought out. Some of these included whether or not to encase the blog within our existing website or create a separate domain to house it, who would write the flower blog, and what to talk about. Additionally, the company wrestled with what blog platform to use such as Blogger, pMachine, Typepad, or WordPress. Ultimately, we decided to bring in a consultant to assist us in the design and development of the blog, blogging expert Paul Chaney, from internet marketing firm Radiant Marketing Group (). Besides designing the blog to fit in with the existing template of the business using WordPress, Paul also helped generate awareness by publicizing the flower blog on various blog search engines such as Technorati and creating a press release to announce it. He also contacted webmasters of other blogs who share similar themes to ours to include a link to us in their blogroll.
GM and Ice.com both write blogs which have garnered media attention and a ton of buzz. GM has generated a cult like following for Vice Chairman Bob Lutz’s weekly controversial observations about the auto industry (). Ice.com has 3 blogs, 2 of which are not hosted on the main website itself. Each blog is consistent and clear in its purpose. The company can accomplish various goals in different settings – showing Ice.com’s recent press coverage, a tongue in cheek look at celebrity jewelry, and tips from a jewelry expert (, , and )
However blogs are utilized, a little extra thought behind it can enhance a brand. Through continually posting new content, customers leaving comments, and the viral nature of blogs, visiting your website can become a "must-see" daily activity for your customers.