In the world of business blogging, one of the main purposes of blogging is to earn revenue — either by blogging “traffic bait” that brings tons of traffic to your site so they’ll click on the advertisements, or by blogging content that converts your target market into buyers of your product or service.
Those are the reasons that most businesses blog but those aren’t the only reasons that a business can blog. People ask me why I blog (since neither of the two reasons above apply to my blog — there are no advertisements and it’s hard to hire me).
So here are 10 reasons why a business might blog even if it has nothing to do with earning revenue:
- Your business blog as a collection point: Businesses produce a ton of information and perform many different activities. And some businesses would benefit from using their blog as a collection point. Include links to articles or guest blogs you’ve written; portfolio work; testimonials; various activities that you are participating in. In this way, your blog becomes a sort-of knowledgebase of all your work and activities.
- Your business blog as a positioning and thought leadership: In a sea of sameness, businesses that are experts will rise above. You can use your blog to help differentiate yourself and demonstrate your expertise in the market. Blog regularly about what is going on in your industry, and establish your thought leadership by introducing new ideas, systems, structures, and advocacy on your blog.
- Your business blog helps to keep prospects, clients, vendors, and employees informed: Some businesses struggle with communicating the right information to people and keeping them informed. Your blog can do this by keeping a specific audience up-to-date about such things as up-time, wait times, recalls, FAQs, and other pieces of information that they might find useful. Depending on the amount of material you need to cover, you might end up doing a blog for each audience (i.e. prospects, clients, vendors, employees) or doing one blog with the ability to select the right information depending on the audience (i.e. through the use of categories or tags).
- Your business blog is a thought laboratory: This is a big one for me! Your blog is a place to put ideas out there. To try them on for size; to express your thinking. For me, my blog is a place to add half-formed ideas and to start writing about them and, in doing so, to fully bake the idea into something more tangible.
- Your business blog is a place to test ideas: This is related to the above point but I’ve included it separately because you may or may not take it this far. (You could just put the ideas on your blog as you think about them, or you could take it a step further and put your ideas on your blog as a place to get feedback). As you build ideas and add them to your blog, you can test them, perhaps basing it on comments, page views, or some other measuring mechanism. With this feedback, you can build out your ideas further. There is a freelance site that did this somewhat famously. I think it was FreelanceSwitch (although I’m not 100% sure). Anyway, the guy had posted some thoughts and advice about freelancing on his own personal blog and it became popular and widely shared. So that was enough validation to start up his site, which has grown pretty successfully ever since.
- Your business blog can be a place where you express your opinions: Before being co-opted by businesses, blogs were journals or diaries where people could share their thoughts and feelings, and rant about whatever they wanted. You can take that same idea and apply it to your business, ranting about problems in your industry or whatever. Copywriter John Carlton has a blog he calls “The Rant”, which is (mostly) what it claims to be.
- Your business blog can be a social connection: For entrepreneurs who work at home and don’t always get out to connect with others, there is the need for social connection. I use Facebook and Twitter (which are types of blogs, I guess) but you could also use your own blog for that… provided you have an audience of people who actively participate on it.
- Your business blog can be your business lifestream: Lifestreams are blogs that collect together everything someone does or posts online. So it’s a collection point (like what I’ve listed in one of the earlier points) but your blog can also talk about what you’re up to, who you are talking to, etc. So if you do a lot of on-site calls to client’s homes or workplaces, you can post about what you’re doing at the time. In a way, it becomes a sort-of portfolio about your business activities.
- Your business blog can offer human resource promotion: Not all blogs need to be written to people who are connected to your business (customers or employees, for example). Your blog can also be used for human resource purposes, to get people interested in your company and to tell them why the should work for you.
- Your business blog can offer additional information: I realize the words “additional information” is kind of a catch-all term but I think this is one of the biggest opportunities for business blogs who want to use their blog for non-revenue-earning purposes. You can use your blog for stuff like product information and how-to guides, collections of innovative uses for your products or services, ideas or hacks from clients, FAQs, workarounds, etc.
The list above provides several reasons to blog that don’t directly contribute to revenue. (True, they might have an indirect impact, the most obvious one being that positioning yourself as a thought-leader can mean more people will hire you). And yet, each one is an excellent use of your blog for purposes beyond the most basic revenue-earning goal.