Following on from my last post where I talked about a range of strategic reasons why an organisation might have a blog, in this post I am going to look at the hidden benefits of publishing a blog.
Listen up – this applies to you.
You see, what you might not appreciate is that publishing a b2b blog can benefit both you and your business in other, perhaps more subtle, ways. Ways you are definitely going to like.
So here are 10 hidden benefits of writing a blog:
1. It forces you to keep up to date
In order to create a blog that's relevant and timely, you need to follow the latest developments in your industry, the direction the market is going and what your organisation's latest developments are. You'll be the organisation's "Cutting Edge Expert" in no time.
2. It makes you think about your business, your industry, your products and services and your customers
A blog post needs to provide something relevant and useful to customers – and in order to do that, you need to understand your customer so you can identify what is relevant and useful to them. It therefore becomes essential to think about your customer's needs. Get inside their head – what makes 'em tick? What floats their boat?
Writing blog posts week after after week means that you will also have to think about your industry, your products and services – if for no other reason than to come up with topics for posts. I can pretty much guarantee you will become an expert in these areas.
You may even find yourself coming up with ways to improve the product or expand the service – resulting in tangible business benefits that affect the bottom line. Innovation bonus anyone?
3. You can get feedback and insights
A healthy, well-read b2b blog will have comments and followers who will let you know what they like about your posts and what they don't like. You can also ask specific questions in your blog posts about products, the industry or your organisation's performance and get useful insights from readers. A real cheap way to do some guerrilla research.
4. It improves your writing and communication skills
Practice makes perfect – as your old teacher used to say. And whilst your writing might not reach perfection, it will definitely improve the more you write. Plus your ability to communicate through the written word will improve too. After all, best-selling author JK Rowling started life as a blogger.*
(*possibly... maybe... Okay, so I haven't checked this one)
Being able to articulate ideas and concepts in writing will also help you with other channels of communication too.
5. It improves your research skills
A well written post will often require research and whilst this may just be a quick google to check your facts, it could be an in depth investigation into a new market, a new product category, or a new technique.
In any event, the ability to quickly and accurately research facts and stories will become second nature to the practising blogger and will stand you in good stead in other areas of your daily job.
6. It can improve your thinking
A blog requires a structure: a beginning, a middle and an end. You have to come up with an idea, develop it and then arrange your thoughts on the topic in a logical order. You have to present a cohesive argument and lay out your points so that others can follow your thinking.
Doing this will improve your creative processes, your ability to order the facts about a subject and your overall business thinking.
7. It can inspire you
Discovering new things about your topic areas, uncovering great customer stories, witnessing revelations about the industry – all these things can inspire you personally. You may find yourself getting excited about your profession again as you write about the latest developments.
8. It creates a pool of knowledge for all your employees
A blog not only informs and entertains prospects, clients and other external readers, it also performs the same functions for your own internal audience. Your organisation can benefit from the knowledge and insights you share in your blog. It can help keep them up to date with the latest issues the industry faces and the current state of the game. It can form a library of knowledge and a guide to the latest developments.
9. It conveys the organisation’s culture and direction to employees as well as customers
A good blog will inevitably communicate the organisation's culture, philosophy, business approach and direction to all its readers. This can help with internal communication too – helping to keep all employees on the same page.
10. It helps build your personal brand and, ultimately, may lead to a better position.
Shhh! Keep this one quiet! Writing a blog will get you noticed. And, if you do it well – noticed for all the right reasons. You will become a mini-brand, you'll develop authority and your thoughts will be valued.
All of which will do you no harm at all when that yearly evaluation comes around, or when the headhunters come looking.
So, not only can creating a blog benefit your organisation, it can also benefit you – helping to develop essential skills and expertise that will raise your game, improve your worth to your organisation and further your career.
(image by Mish Sukharev)