Blogs are becoming the "topic" of the day, all over the web, it seems. Jane cannot open any newsletter, magazine, ezine, or even regular email, without a question or comment on blogging present in the content.
We are delighted to see our favorite form of communication getting the attention it deserves, but... the true purpose of web-logging is getting lost in the rhetoric bouncing around the net.
Yes, a blog can attract new clients and prospects. Yes, a blog can add personality to a company, personality that may be lacking at the website level or within the marketing structure, if it exists to merely announce products and services, or support sales. And, yes, a blog can provide the most up-to-date information available -- company information, local news, world news, business news, whathaveyou -- but the most important part of blogging is in the community your blog builds with others.
Community -- it's not a foreign word. Think of it...the web was designed to bring people closer together no matter where in the world they reside; you, sitting at your keyboard in Colorado or China, and me, sitting at my keyboard in NY or Great Britain; we can connect, talk, share ideas and thoughts, in real-time, over an Internet connection that is invisible in its ubiquitousness.
In the early days of the Internet, the primary meeting place for more than two people at a time was The Well. Translated, WELL stands for: Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link and is still in existence today. From their "About Us" page:
"The WELL is a cluster of electronic villages on the Net, inhabited by people from from all over the world.
Familiarity with one another and a high degree of expressive freedom has resulted in sometimes startling contrasts in atmosphere from Conference to Conference. Each has a distinctly different sense of place and style, and loyal participants. The Books Conference might be a particularly cool coffee house, the Generation X Conference something between a trendy club and a pie fight, and the Legal Conference an informed but contentious seminar."
The site is a registered part of Salon now, but in its heyday, it was the bomb! Or, the cat's meow. Or, whatever description suits your generation. It has retained much of its originality and the pull of like minds eager to meet in one particular place to post their thoughts openly and honestly. That it continue to survive supports the true purpose of the web, and, Jane thinks, of blogging: to build communities.
Jane believes business blogging is a positive step in the right direction. Especially for small businesses. Building a business blog lends a certain credibility to your business. It's too hard to be 'false' or 'insincere' in a blog. The blogging community will call you out and cut you down, without hesitation or remorse.
In a business blog, the company has more opportunity to PULL new clients in, to appear in front of new prospects, and to market themselves as human beings first, products and services second. They do this by writing relevant prose, announcing updates to products and services, and by allowing different members of the company to post notes on their job, their thoughts, their outlook on the industry.
Done correctly, a business blog becomes a WELL of its own, drawing customers, clients, vendors, suppliers, prospects, partners, and curious web-surfers into its net. The community it builds can create a meeting place for people to exchange thoughts and ideas on a regular basis, adding value to everything the company stands for. Thoughtful posts, attention to detail, and added customer service are just three ways a small business blog can benefit any company doing business in today's crazy world of competing technologies.
Try it. You have an immediate connection right here...Jane wants to hear from you. And remember, Jane likes to share good things with her friends. Community begins at Lip-sticking. Believe it.
What's not to like about that?