If something’s changed about the way people see the internet in the last half-decade, it’s that “blog” has moved from being a buzzword one hears incessantly on CNN to a fact of life. It’s assumed that people of all ages are constantly writing about anything and everything using weblogs, from individuals to large companies that want a better public face and an easy way to interact with their consumers. In short, you, the aspiring business person, should have one. Here are just a few reasons why:

Blogs can help to reduce the distance between you and your consumers. By maintaining a blog and updating semi-regularly, you can make what would seem like a faceless entity come across as a down-to-earth, approachable, even friendly one. For example, a beer bar I like uses its blog to announce what beers it has on draft at any given point in time, letting me know right away if the trip out to visit it would be a worthwhile one or not. By keeping their comments section open, I can ask them if they know when they’ll be getting something I might be interested in trying, or what the events they’ll be putting on in the near future consist of. Given that I hate making phone calls when I don’t have to, this makes both my life and the bar’s existence just a little bit easier.

Second, a blog is an easy way to communicate in detail without being limited by the constraints of advertising space. Television, radio, or internet advertising is limited by design, as you pay money for a specific amount (in time or in pixels) in a place where you hope your potential customers are interested. Once you’ve gotten them that far, a blog allows you to do things that other advertising mediums simply can’t. You can write a lengthy explanation of a product or a process if you need to, address complaints and criticisms, and provide something far more lucid and less annoying than an advertisement, possibly winning over the wary and skeptical in the process.[ad#r]
For example, a record label that I like recently put on a major event that sold out within minutes and then attracted some criticism for its brief set times. By using a blog, the label staff was able to explain, very convincingly, all of the reasons that it structured its event the way it did, and most people came away satisfied with the answers they provided.

Finally, a blog is a great opportunity for cross-promotion. By working with friends or other likeminded companies, you can push each other’s products, run contests, and design events and posts to steer traffic to each other’s businesses. If your readers trust your opinion, by referencing others (or getting referenced in the same situation), you increase your chances of attracting business that may not necessarily have originally been headed in your direction in the first place.

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