A simple question. Marketing agencies like ours often assume that clients need and want blogs. We forget that they might not be comfortable creating content and might not even be sure they have content they want to share. So, when we have a client that stops and asks us a simple question like, “why should my business have a blog?” it’s a good time to stop and get back to some basics.

For starters, blogs are not another way to get your carefully crafted messages out to unsuspecting customers. That’s what ads, brochures and a lot of other communications materials can and should be doing for you. People want to see sales messages where they expect to be presented with them. And that seems only fair.

Blogs are where you can start conversations with your customers and your customers can start conversations with you. It’s a less formal and often less rigidly branded or business-like setting. For example, you could put up a picture and a short paragraph talking about a recent event you went to, and the things you learned about your industry at that event. Your colleagues, customers and competitors can join in by talking about what happened to them at the same event or even ask why you weren’t at a different better event. Or, you could talk about an innovation that’s changing one of your products. You might include graphs, photos or links to another site that’s working with your business. At least once a week you should post content. You could even, with his or her permission, post a letter, comments or a review from a customer. Whatever your business does, it has an audience that’s interested in it and that’s who your blog should aim to talk to.

BloggingBlogs can give your business some personality and they’re a great way of getting other members of your team or people from other parts of the business involved in something new – something that different groups and department can all use.

Blogs are evolving and many businesses are using them to support their Search Engine Optimisation efforts. They can also be linked to twitter and a range of other social sites. Over the next weeks, Marketing Zone will be offering regular tips on business blogs. Our goal will be to share some of our experiences, and find out what you think.