I was asked last week to write a piece for Blogthenticity. Since they write a lot about business blogging and I really don't, I gave them a post with my opinions about it. Many of you may disagree, but I don't think blogging will serve as a source of competitive advantage. But companies still need to do it. Go read it to see why.
UPDATE: Well my post, along with many others, was taken down, so I'll post it below. Check out the comments, as Laurence Haughton is making some interesting counter points.
Everyone is talking about businesses and blogs. Call me a skeptic, but I don't think that blogging can ever be a company's competitive advantage.
It's like a website. You have to have one because everyone else does. It may make a small difference if yours is better than everyone else's, but for non-web-based products, no one makes purchasing decisions based on your website. I drive a Nissan Frontier. I've never even been to Nissan's website.
So why blog at all? Why waste the time and effort? Well, I view blogging the way I view planning. Companies need a strategic plan, but it really doesn't matter whether or not they follow it. Markets and competitors can go in totally unexpected directions and when that happens you sometimes have to drop your plan completely in order to compete and survive. So why plan? Because it forces you to think about the future. By doing so, it better prepares you for that day when you need to chuck your plan out the window.
So why is blogging important for a business? It forces you to clarify your ideas. You can't write clearly if you don't think clearly. And believe me, many executives don't think clearly. It is actually easier to rise to the executive level if you throw in a little jibberish now and then. But you can't put jibberish on your blog or someone will call "bullshit." That's the nature of blogging. You can't hide. Your thoughts are out in the open for all to see. Your customers, competitors, co-workers, they all know what you think. But as difficult as that is sometimes, in the long run it's good for you. It forces you to be honest. It forces you to face reality. It forces you to live up to your obligations. And those are three traits that will help make your company successful.