This is an old article (2004) but I thought it interesting ….. from John Cass, PR Communications
“Customer Engagement vs. Blogging
Using the word “blogging” or “blog” can get you into hot water, well really a lack of understanding. I’ve been thinking about the value of blogging for the last few months. I’ve really been attempting to understand what the value of blogging is to a company.
I think I’ve demonstrated to myself there is some value from blogging. The biggest benefit is customer engagement, but can you go to the bank with more customer engagement? I think you can.
It’s up to Internet marketers to build the next form of website. We have to use our imagination to combine the lessons learnt from blogging to build websites that really engage customers. How can you start from scratch? Imagine if you don’t have any of the existing models for web design how would you build a website today that really engaged customers?
You might build some of the following into your site:
* The leading site for content on your industry.
* Allow your customers to ask questions and respond to content.
* Update frequently.
* Let them keep in touch through RSS or e-mail.
The reason for the scolding water from the use of the word “blog” comes from the perception that blogs are run by teenagers, or out of work journalists. The focus is on who is blogging, rather than how and why blogs are successful. I personally don’t care who runs a website or a “blog”. My interest from a PR & Marketing perspective is to understand how blogs and other new forms of website are enabling companies to communicate their message clearly, efficiently and to a broader audience.
I will say that companies such as Microsoft and Macromedia are using blogs and hybrid blog-websites as a way to communicate with their audience in different ways. Such websites are speeding the flow of communications, partly because the perception of the source of information is different from a normal corporate website. It’s a subtle difference but by including a human in the process of promoting corporate information instead of a dry website, it does appear to change an audience’s perception. (This is from discussions with corporate bloggers and website managers.)
We actually may be seeing nothing new. Newspapers for many generations have understood the value of presenting news through columnists. Maybe by allowing people to reveal themselves on a website with a real voice for corporations is the 21st century equivalent of a columnist for newspapers?”