A strong online presence is important for businesses in today’s high-speed and competitive world. Blogs have already become a new are a new buzz marketing. Marketers are blogging for organizations, products, ideas and or for other organizational goals and achieving.
That has not started happening in Pakistan yet. An overwhelming majority of local consumers who do not (or cannot) use the Internet and even marketing professionals still ask what is Blog?
To understand blogging as a corporate communications tool, we must understand the nature of blogs. Here is a short definition, “Blogs – an abbreviation of ‘weblogs’ – are published on the web, typically as micro-sites standing by themselves but today also as parts of traditional web sites. They reflect the interests, thoughts and opinions of the person, sometimes persons, publishing the blog. Blogs are characterized by frequent updates, an informal tone and many links to other blogs and web sites.”
A business blog is a blog published by or with the support of an organization to reach that organization’s goals. In external communications the potential benefits include strengthened relationships with important target groups and the positioning of the publishing organization as industry experts. Internally blogs are generally referred to as tools for collaboration and knowledge management.
Blogs can drive visitors to existing web site and help find new customers and engage the ones organizations already have. Blogs are prevailing and cost-effective marketing tools. As far as businesses is concerned, there are clients and potential clients. A blog will create a dialogue between the business, present client base, and potential buyers. Communication has never been easier and user friendly.
Once an organization has a blog, it offers immediate and high impact interaction with its target audience. As more people have online access, they’ll want more than the standard online newsletter or typical PR response (we are so averse to existing PR stereotypes). Long gone are the days when companies simply fed information to their customers. Now everyone asks for a dialogue – a meaningful exchange of information. People also want to know that organizations are listening to them and paying heeds to what is being suggested, and blogs allow just that — responding quickly and openly.
From a business point of view there are several potential reasons to blog particularly in less connected country like Pakistan. But, as always, it depends on what businesses want. Blogs are no different from channels like video, print, audio, presentations and even word of mouth marketing. They all deliver results – but of varying kind. The kind you can expect from blogs is mainly about stronger relations with important target groups.
Who should blog for the businesses? Ideally, front line people who know the business in and out should blog about it. Marketing professionals can also use this powerful tool. Organization can hire professional writers to blog for them under company’s name or blog under their own. Depending upon the feedback and information provided by audience, an inside blogger can develop the ability to write in his or her own voice and create content for business blog. Outsider bloggers can view business with an objective eye and offer fresh marketing ideas and strategies.
Outsider blogger can study company’s marketing materials, reports, other collateral information, and meet key people in organization to learn about what organization does and how best to market the product through blogging.
In developed world, blogging is being taught in most business school as a part of business studies and or part of mass communication courses.
Bloggers can post material written in editorial style and voice, updating at least once a day, three-to-five days a week. The content may also include company news, events, and information about new products and services relevant to your business.
Earlier, online marketing and web sites never picked up in Pakistan because of obvious “digital divide that exists due to individual disparities in levels of income, education standards, psychological reasons, age, gender, rural urban divide, and quality of life or collective deprivations like lack of physical infrastructure.”
Pakistan corporate world should look at blogging as an opportunity to reach out but sadly, this has still not started to happen.