In TCWriter’s response to Ahmed’s post about what role Performancing Exchange might play, the idea of corporate blogging comes up. Obviously, companies are in business to make a profit, and it’s the wise business person that knows that happy customers make repeat customers. Those of you involved in technical or scientific fields may not have realized an opportunity for you to make your customers happy: publish a blog. (The advice below applies to non-technical companies; you just have to extrapolate to your industry.)
Exactly what would your company’s blog be about? Well, besides being about the industry you’re in, and general ongoing news and events, how about specific tips on using yourproducts?
As a long-time technical writer (interwoven with my experience as a programmer/ consultant/ webmaster), I found that some of the juiciest, valuable tips on using a particular product are often buried deep in a manual somewhere. Why not blog about these tips? Not necessarily everyday, but at least once a week.
Consider your product documentation from a customer’s viewpoint. Often, there are far too many manuals and their bulk is intimidating. From a business perspective, this reluctance to read probably means handling more support calls early on, for each new customer. While you’re not necessarily trying to replace this service, having a tips blog might reduce support calls as well as endear you to end users who may prefer to find things for themselves.
A good example of such a “tip” blog is the Google’s official Adsense blog. A lot of that same info is published elsewhere on Google website properties, but for the most part, it’s kind of buried because you’d have to search for it with appropriate terms.
A blog like this one, which is updated regularly, makes info easily accessible. A blog also make that info fresh with new examples, something a printed manual will not do. (That’s because, even if it’s published online and upated regularly, most end users are not going to hunt for changes. An RSS/ Atom web feed with update notices may help, but a blog is more personal and fresh.)
I’ll be bold enough to state that if a company does nothing more on their blog than publish fresh tips, they’ll have a readership if they already have customers. (Don’t forget to publish your blog URL, in addition to the main URL, on business cards, company newsletters, brochures, manuals, etc.) If you’re also writing about your industry general, you may find that you also get readers who are not yet customers. And isn’t that what your whole purpose for being online is?
P.S. Jonathan Kranz writes about turning techno-babble into commanding copy at Marketing Profs. (Older articles tend to get archived and you have to be a subscriber. So if you are a company decision-maker or a technoblogger read this article before it disappears.)