Blogs are not just for small business owners; large corporations also use blogs to attract new customers, resolve customer service issues, and spread the word about their products and services. Corporations also use blogging as an inexpensive public relations tool, reducing their marketing costs and building stronger relationships with potential customers and members of the media. These are just a few ways you could use your corporate blog as a public relations tool.
Before the Internet became a popular public relations tool, business owners and public relations professionals had to write press releases and submit them to journalists via postal mail or facsimile. This was an expensive, time-consuming process. Worse yet, a journalist is not obligated to follow up on your press release, so all that effort was sometimes wasted on sending out press releases that got few responses. Now it is possible to post press releases to your own website and submit them to press release distribution websites at no cost. This reduces your expenses and makes it more likely that other people will see the release. The trick to using this technique successfully is making your press release as news-worthy as possible. Don’t publish press releases just to have new content. Publish them only when you have something important to announce.
No matter how hard you try, you are likely to have an unhappy customer at some point. How you handle the issue determines whether the customer will stick with your company or leave you for a competitor. It also determines what the customer will tell her friends and family members about your company. If you resolve the issue, the customer is likely to recommend your company to others. If you try to blame the customer or ignore the problem, the customer is likely to tell friends and family members not to use your services or buy your products. You can use your blog to resolve customer complaints or assist customers who have are having difficulty using your product. Resolving service issues in such a public manner shows your readers that you care about customers and want to do what is best for them.
Contests and Promotions
Your blog is also a great tool for announcing contests and special promotions. You do not have to give away an expensive prize to make this kind of contest work; some companies are gaining massive traffic just by offering coupons for their products. You can also give away some of your most popular products. One of the keys to running successful contents is making the process very transparent. Explain exactly how you will determine the winner of the contest. List the eligibility and entry requirements in detail so that all readers understand what they need to do to enter. You could even ask the prize winner to take a picture of the prize; when you receive the photo, post it on your blog so readers can see that you followed through on your promise of giving away a free product.
One thing that sets blogs apart from other public relations tools is that they are very interactive. When you submit a press release to a newspaper, you don’t get a chance to interact with your potential customers. Now, customers can ask questions or express their opinions right in the comments section of a blog. Company representatives can respond to these comments, creating a conversation that can help engage other users. Some representatives are tempted to censor complaints, but this is the wrong approach. Instead of removing complaints, respond to them promptly and offer the customer a solution. When other people see that you are willing to work on issues with your products or services, they will feel more confident buying from you or recommending your company to others.
If you are a small business owner, you may not have a lot of experience with public relations. If so, don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of starting a blog and filling it with great content. A corporate blog consultant can get your blog set up quickly and teach you how to add new posts, videos, and photos.