As established companies debate whether to blog or not, starting a new company might call for putting the blog before the horse.
In our completely biased opinion, all companies can benefit from blogging. OK, let’s qualify that a bit. If you have customers, especially consumers, and you have a need for public relations, then you’ll benefit from blogging. Individual strategies will vary, of course, but it’s too easy and cost effective not to blog.
The basic benefits of corporate blogging are that you can communicate directly with customers and gain immediate feedback; you can establish yourself as a credible expert (thought leader); and you can attract new customers while providing added value to existing ones. Every company is now also a media company, and a blog is the first acknowledgment of that reality.
Our friends at Puella clothing just started blogging about their brand with an eye to writing more about LA fashion in general (they’re still testing the medium). They’ve used online video and YouTube as a catalog alternative, and they have a Facebook page. The company has been in business for about four years, and since they sell to retailers, there’s been very little interaction with their actual customers. The blog has opened this channel. But what if you were starting a new company? What if you were still writing the business plan and had more than a year before you’d launch or go to market? Does it make sense to start blogging right away? We say yes.
Whether you’re starting an online retailer or a green catering service, launching your brand in the form of a blog makes a lot of sense. First, it costs little more than your time. Second, if you’re doing research and learning more about your market(s) anyway, that info can make for excellent blogging material. You don’t have to divulge what your company will do in any detail. You can simply blog in the abstract. For example, if you’re starting a green catering company, you could blog about organic foods and recipes. Third, it gives you a head-start on branding and reaching out to potential customers and strategic partners even before you have a product to sell. This builds momentum. If people already enjoy reading your organic recipes, they’ll be more inclined to use your catering service when it’s up and running (assuming they live in the same city).
A blog can also give you vital feedback about your ideas, assumptions, and market conditions. In the end, it may help you decide that a particular approach won’t fly, or you’ll make substantial adjustments to the plan accordingly. The way we see it, blogging at every stage of building and running a business is highly advantageous.
However, promoting your blog and attracting readers i.e. your future customers requires a more holistic social media strategy.