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Why advertising, marketing and PR pros should blog

Blogs are a cheap, convenient and enjoyable form of PR and marketing that should be part of every business plan in 2005, per Bob Cargill, senior creative director of Yellowfin Direct Marketing, in a great article for law marketing professionals at Brand Republic.

Cargill gives 10 reasons why “you would have to be either misinformed or just plain obstinate to not at least consider adding a blog to your business plan.”

  1. Blogs are authoritative. We’re not talking about those cathartic, diary-like blogs kept by moody, meandering teenagers. We’re talking about the most sophisticated among the blogosphere, the ones owned and operated by today’s savviest business people. Written by the heaviest hitters in their fields, these blogs go a long way toward formalizing their authors’ knowledge, insight and overall sphere of influence. Ideally, your blog will provide readers with plenty of fresh, premium content they can’t find anywhere else. …[I]f your commentaries are consistently on the mark, your blog may soon become a frequently visited destination and raise your industry profile to unprecedented, new heights.
  2. Blogs are valuable. A blog is tailor-made for storing and managing your intellectual capital. It’s a centralized repository for experience and expertise, an incredibly easy way to disseminate key, timely information to an audience of readers who are already interested in what you have to offer.
  3. Blogs are interactive. In many cases, marketing is a monologue, a well-choreographed sales pitch to an audience of passive prospects. But one of the key attributes of a blog is that it allows readers to provide honest, public feedback that is posted below the author’s spiel. It involves your audience. By granting the opportunity to respond almost instantly to any and all posts, a blogger is building a mutually beneficial relationship with his or her constituency. As the level of confidence grows between a blog and its readers, so does the potential for lucrative, new business activity.
  4. Blogs are humanising. A blog may be dependent on cold, web-based technology for hosting and distribution, but its success depends on the ability of its author to come across as honest, credible and down-to-earth. The idea is to break through the corporate-speak and to put a fresh, trustworthy face on your organisation. Like a good newspaper column or editorial, most blogs are written in one strong, opinionated voice and don’t shy away from controversy and difficult subjects. Some of the best business blogs in existence are some of the most candid.
  5. Blogs are inexpensive. In most cases, the only cost to the author of a blog is the value of the time and talent required to create and maintain it. It doesn’t matter which service and tools you use to publish yours, however — the financial barriers to entry are so few and far between, you almost can’t afford not to establish a presence in the blogosphere.
  6. Blogs are immediate. A blog makes it possible for the everyday communications professional to distribute newsworthy, thematic content to a large, like-minded audience — without many, if any, layers of approval — almost instantaneously.
  7. Blogs are infectious. Like any good viral marketing campaign, the content of the best blogs is passed from reader to reader, extending the author’s reach — and influence — exponentially. Bloggers are notorious for linking to other blogs that they recommend and respect. And other related sources of news, information and opinion — even offline, traditional publications — won’t hesitate to pick up an interesting post and republish it. So, in effect, a blog gives you the power of a syndicated columnist. What’s more, search engines such as Google are all over blogs, especially when they’re updated regularly. Blogging results in more top placements than you ever could have imagined for you and your organisation.
  8. Blogs are empowering. Today’s consumers and business prospects are desensitised to the sales pitch. They’ve seen and heard it all. Such rampant scepticism reared its ugly head in a recent Gallup survey, which ranked people in advertising very low for their honesty and ethics. However, because a blog is such an open, grassroots medium, unadorned and unplugged, its trust factor is high from the get-go. The format alone is engaging and empowering. With RSS (Really Simple Syndication), the audience decides what they want and when they want it. They have the upper hand. And by giving recipients the authority to post their own comments, it’s easy for the public — and fellow bloggers — to hold advertising, marketing and PR pros accountable for their claims. Think quid pro quo.
  9. Blogs are enjoyable. Most blogs are quick and easy to absorb, and a refreshing change of pace from typical marketing riffs and age-old corporate-speak. Bloggers aren’t just writers, they’re also publishers, opinion-leaders, risk-takers and entrepreneurs. They’re people who are inclined to live by the mantra of carpe diem. They’re passionate about their craft and evangelical about their content. And in many cases, their readers are just as fanatical.
  10. Blogs are popular. As recently as five years ago, there really weren’t that many blogs in existence, but today the blogosphere is growing so rapidly that it’s only a matter of time before this revolutionary, new medium reaches the tipping point. If you use press releases, newsletters and bylined articles to promote your products and people, blogs are the next better thing — now.

If you are looking for a list of reasons for beginning a blog publishing campaign to give the decision makers in your law firm, Cargill gives you a heck of a nice top 10.

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