At some point, many people have slaved over a personal blog, filling it with gossip, musings, poetry, dreams and other elements of our day-to-day lives that we would wish to share with the world. However, when it comes to making sure your business and its products/services/brands are out there in the endless stream of digital information on the internet, a lot of people think the idea of an online diary is futile and a waste of time.
Allow me to assure you this is not the case.
A year ago, I wrote a commentary on a videogames developer in which I made many scathing remarks without crossing the line – simply pointing out contradictions and a failure to meet the company vision that had left me disenfranchised with their work. The quality of their products had fallen, and with every single one that was released, they became more and more commercial to the point where public opinion had absolutely zero impact on their vision, designs and re-visits to older franchises. They butchered their old brands to force them into new, uncomfortable shapes.
I did, however, make a mistake.
During this rant – and it did become a rant, as I had used this company’s products since my youth – I made an error when citing their location, having clearly not checked and assuming they had never moved offices. This was proved not to be the case. As the post, after being submitted to a news aggregate site, began to get hundreds of hits within the hour, and eventually, a fair few comments. One of them was the head of research and development at Microsoft, the company who now owned the developer I had blasted so vehemently. He pointed out my mistake, and we began speaking over email.
With one blog post, I’d gone from a relatively low-traffic source of commentary on journalism and the videogames industry to someone in contact with a very, very powerful individual in his field. Blogs are able to connect you with people in relatively incredible ways, and especially if you’re willing to take the plunge and have a few people discuss what you’re doing and what they think about your direction. Obviously, it’s desirable to have people within the company itself talk about these matters – otherwise, you might as well label them the press – but allow them some freedom. You’re allowed to comment on your industry and your competitors, and the brutal honesty of doing so to a potential audience will send shockwaves through critics who accuse big or small companies of never being bold enough to comment on their vision.
Social media is also a brilliant way of bringing these blog posts to people’s attention. Say you’ve just written about a new product range, and perhaps even blogged the entire process from inital design to production to sales, and your final post is ideally your biggest traffic hit. Go to Twitter, go to Facebook, and spread it around. Make use of TinyURL and their ability to let you offer people following you on social media networks to see what the people behind the scenes are up to. It’s enjoyable to read for the same reason we like watching the “behind the scenes” featurettes on DVDs after we’re done with the film itself. Blogging can make a company seem a lot more human, and conversational writing styles can exacerbate this further without making it seem like a forced smile at a press conference. Take to WordPress, embed the blog, design your own – and show everyone you’re more than just a logo; real people, with real thoughts, who want to discuss them with customers and industry contemporaries and learn from them as they learn from you. The traffic won’t hurt, either!