A recent study conducted by Burson-Marsteller revealed that ONLY 15% of Fortune 500 companies communicate with consumers via blogs. This number was quite lower than I expected, at least as far as Fortune 500 companies go. It is not surprising to me however with regards to businesses in general. While any business that has an online presence should be blogging, a large majority of them are not.
Here are some common excuses they come up with along with reasons why those excuses are invalid.
1. We Cannot Afford To Install a Blog
Seeing that WordPress is completely free, this is not a valid excuse. Sure you may have to pay a designer to adapt your site’s “look and feel” to the WordPress platform but in all reality, if you do not have any budget for this, there are literally thousands of pre-designed templates you can use. Furthermore, if you or someone within your organization has the very basic level of design skills, you can very easily customize headers, footers, cascading style sheets and the like.
Don’t like WordPress? Movable Type also has a free version of its blogging software.
So if costs are your excuse for not adding a blog to your site – you have no excuse unless FREE is still too expensive for you.
2. We Have Nothing To Say
Do you sell a product or service? If the answer is yes, do you have sales copy on your site to promote those products or services? Then you have something tosay. Even e-commerce sites can come up with a variety of topics for blog posts.
Here are a few examples:
- Cover news in your specific industry. Add your own commentary to make your content unique.
- Write opinionated posts related to news and events surrounding your industry.
- Announce new products and/or special offers.
- Write in-depth product reviews.
- Highlight customer testimonies and praise.
- Do a Q&A style of post to deal with most common inquiries from clients.
- Publish company news – the more personal, the better.
I could go on had I all day to reflect on it. I think you can see that no matter what kind of business you are in, there is something you can write about on a company blog.
3. We Have No One To Write For Us
Okay, I can understand this one. You may have a small company in which you have just a handful of employees – none of which has any writing skills whatsoever. Does that mean you just curl up and completely avoid the blogosphere?
How about when your computers need repair, or the air conditioning goes out in your office, or the copy machine breaks, or a myriad number of other things? Do you just ignore the problem or rather, do you call on a specialist? I would venture to say that most would refer to a specialist unless you are one of those die-hard do-it-yourselfers.
So, if you do not have any writing talent within your company – outsource. There are literally thousands of freelance writers available to write on a continual basis for your blog. Their pay scale varies from incredibly cheap to very pricey. Obviously the higher quality of writing you want, the more you are going to pay for it. However, even with a small to moderate budget, you can easily find a company or individual who will crank out posts for your blog.
4. We Are Afraid!
This is a common complaint I hear. Companies are afraid that their customers will talk about them or even worse – to them. This is why many companies do not have blogs and many that do, do not allow comments. The problem with this excuse is that your customers are already talking about you. So why not get involved in the conversation?
An active blog with a open comment system will allow you to transition from a one-way conversation to more of an open dialogue. In today’s Internet age, customers want to be able to communicate with the companies they choose to do business with. They may offer up praises, make suggestions on how to improve products and/or services, request additional information or even criticize you.
The main idea is that a blog with open comments will allow them to interact with you and visa versa. This is becoming increasingly important in a world where online reputation management is becoming more crucial to monitor and manage.
If you don’t allow them to talk on a blog you control. they may talk on another venue in which you have no control and sometimes are not even able to respond.
Well, those are the most common excuses I have come across as we push our clients to enter the world of blogging. I’m sure there are others and would love to hear feedback from folks who have either wrestled with corporate blogging or have had to deal with reluctant clients. Stories of success as well as failure are all invited!