Given all the activities you’re already doing to get more exposure for your business, should you add blogging to your PR toolbox?
I think so.
Blogging has many benefits. For example, websites with blogs tend to get higher traffic than those without. Blogging showcases the author’s expertise and therefore establishes him or her as an authority in their field. Blogs are also highly shareable. A well-written blog post that readers pass along through tweets, likes, and +1s is an easy way to get your content in front of new audiences.
A lot of companies want PR for the following reasons: increased awareness and higher credibility.
Blogging will help you achieve both.
Blogging helps increase awareness of your company, product, or service, by attracting readers to your website. Your business blog will attract a new audience for you, either through the search engines or social networks.
Blogging also increases your credibility. Assuming you publish useful, relevant, and well-written blog posts, then your blog will display how well you know your market and your readers.
When a journalist is interested in your product, company, or one of your principals, they will turn to Google. Reading your blog would be one way they vet you. If they’re looking for a resource person to interview, your expert blog post would give them an indication of how suitable you are.
Blogging has other benefits specific to PR, such as:
A bigger audience
Earlier, we’ve already talked about how blogs help you find and be discovered by a bigger audience. Both search engines and social networks will help you get your content in front of more people.
Your company blog can also help you connect with media. Guess what journalists and editors read online? That’s right, blogs! When doing research, they will be relieved, at the very least, or even impressed to find a company that blogs. In other words, your blog is another way for media to learn more about you and your business or product.
Transparency and crisis communication
Blogs allow businesses to be transparent and to respond to audiences in real time. Blog posts can be published quickly, with no need to wait for approvals from the traditional gatekeepers of media, such as editors.
This means you can publish whatever you want on your business blog without getting “permission” from others. (That said, your internal processes for getting blog posts published are ideally simple and don’t require layers of approvals from the big bosses)
In times of PR crises, this can be invaluable. You don’t have to sit around waiting for reporters to get your side of the story. You don’t have to worry about journalists twisting your words or putting your story out of context. Go ahead and give your take on your blog.
Note: I’m not talking about publishing your press release as a blog post. You should have a separate section on your website for press releases and media mentions. Blog posts are a different thing altogether, but by all means, you can talk about the same topic covered in your press release.
Those who are interested will find your blog post. And it will remain there for posterity, a permanent record of your original statements.
Increased engagement and “relatability”
Your business blog puts a human face behind your company, product, or service. This is especially important if you’re in the technology field. By showing the human beings behind your business, your prospects and customers, and media practitioners can begin relating with you on a more personal level. You’re perceived as more approachable and relatable.
Your blog can also help with customer service. When customers run into problems with your product or service, they’re most likely to turn to your blog or website to find the solution. You want them to find it there, instead of airing their complaints on Twitter!
Also pay attention to questions and suggestions left by readers in the comments of your blog posts. These can indicate problems or potential annoyances you can address before they become a PR nightmare.
Business blogging is still in its infancy. Did you know, for example, that none of the Fortune 1000 CEOs or Chairpersons blog? Of the 4.1 million blogs existing today, only 5,000 are company blogs.
What this means for you is that it’s still a wide open arena. You have the opportunity to be one of the first, if not the first, in your industry to blog, and to establish your authority and readership — before your competitors do.
Ready to dive into blogging for PR?
In future posts, I’ll cover the other aspects of blogging specifically for PR.
In the meantime, if you have questions, share them with me. Let me know what’s keeping you from using a blog as a PR tool. It can be powerful, and I’d like you to succeed.