And then there are the unspoken reasons: I’m too scared. What if people think I’m an idiot? Will it look good internally? Will it make my boss happy? Is it good for my career? I don’t want to stick my neck too far over the parapet….
In Asia Pacific, blogging has not hit the heady heights seen in the rest of the world, but it will. In fact, professionals who take the plunge now will stand far above those who hang back, waiting to see if this social tool will “take off.” It’s taking off, and in other parts of the world, when many thought the fad was over, they were caught unawares when it became recognised as one of the most important social media tools available. The people caught unawares scrambled to get a blog out, facing a saturated market where it was considerably more difficult to get their voice heard. Asia is not saturated yet, but it’s coming, it really is.
As an author of three blogs (yes, I can’t believe it either) I am regularly asked “how do you get started?” With that said, I hear mostly excuses from executives in large companies and small business owners about why they can’t and why it isn’t a priority for them right now. My impression is the majority of professionals know they should be blogging in some form, but there is also a large number of professionals who just don’t see its relevance – yet. I know those slow to move are missing massive opportunities and down the track; it’s going to hurt their business. There are a lot of reasons why people don’t start blogging, but I wanted to share a few reasons on why you should blog.
What is a blog?
It’s a journal. A stream of thoughts on a particular topic or subject. It’s your individual expertise on an issue or field. It’s a type of flexible and easily adaptable Website, with posts arranged in chronological order, from the most recent at the top and older entries at the bottom. Blogs can be written by one person, or by a group of people, or in a company’s name. Blogging is a content delivery mechanism, and what you share on your blog can be endless – but getting what you share right is the most important aspect of succeeding. One thing for sure, blogging in Asia Pacific gives professionals working in large MNCs a great opportunity to share their local content on the Web, as a blog can be independent from the global Website, which means you have control over what goes online – that alone makes it incredibly worthwhile. More background on what a blog is can be found here, hereand here.
- The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing report by HubSpot suggested blogging is more important to businesses than ever – “More and more businesses are blogging: Businesses are now in the minority if they do not blog. From 2009 to 2011 the percentage of businesses with a blog grew from 48% to 65%. Businesses are increasingly aware their blog is highly valuable: 85% of businesses rated their company blogs as “useful,” “important” or “critical;” a whopping 27% rated their company blog as “critical” to their business.” There is a 2012 report, which I haven’t read yet and blogging is highlighted as one of the most rapidly expanding marketing channels – I’ll get back to you on that when I have time to read it
- Again, according to eMarketer – 38% of U.S. companies blog for marketing purposes, a number expected to grow to 43% in 2012
- Moving away from stats, other simpler reasons include SEO – even if no one ever reads your blog, it will elevate your SEO rankings
- It’s a communication tool – with customers, partners or employees – and it’s a platform for sharing knowledge and expertise
- It’s a powerful source for influencing consumers and establishing thought leadership. It’s an opportunity to share your knowledge, expertise and opinions and blogging is a very effective channel to market for this
- It attracts more traffic to your Website
- It’s a great way to reach new customers
- It’s an opportunity to put coherent thoughts together to present an idea or a concept
- Blogs are easier to distribute than most marketing literature, have a level of authenticity that most marketing does not have, and they live longer in the public domain
- Blogs are particularly effective in Asia where many executives of global companies have no ability to influence the corporate Website. For smaller companies, it’s a chance to get your voice heard alongside the big competition
- It’s a tool to build credibility for individuals and companies
- It gets you into your prospects awareness much earlier in the sales cycle, and as prospects are coming to companies later and later, this is VERY important
- If you’ve got something great to say on ANY topic, blogging is one of the easiest ways to get your message out there, beyond your immediate audience. If the blog is terrific, people will share it – not just your Mum and Dad
- Blogging facilitates communication with your target audience in a way that no other marketing tool enables. You can build relationships and gather excellent feedback through blog conversations and comments
- Blogging is a long form of communication on the Web, as opposed to the 140 character type of communication many companies are focused on right now. Through a blog you can communicate details most social platforms do not allow – let’s face it, you have the space to explain things
- You don’t even need to write – videos and photos are great blogging fodder too – depending on the business you are in
As an example of corporate blogging, here’s Google’s Company Blog and the Facebook Blog. Here’s also Mark Schaefer’s top 10 corporate blogs in the world, and his advice is key – avoid the three killer Ps – pronouncements, promotions and product announcements. Unsurprisingly, IT companies are leading the charge in blog land, but in Asia, even IT executives are not getting in on the opportunity, leaving it to their US or headquarter counterparts. What a missed opportunity! That is what we need to do now – focus on building Asian executives profiles and expertise through blogs.
I know that blogging has real value for business because I’ve experienced it myself. The problem is the whole social media/social business conversation is confusing everyone, so blogging is often moved to the background, for later consideration, when it should be a core part of a social strategy.
I believe this: while you are not focusing on it, your competition is. While you sit there wondering if it’s a fad, your competition has understood its strategic importance and has embraced it as a marketing asset for their company. While you wait to see if it’s something you should be investing in, your competition is moving forward, building a community and a following, gaining credibility and a voice. If you wait too much longer, your sector could be saturated and getting your voice heard then… well that will be very hard indeed.
As Seth Godin, the author, blogger and social media commentator said:
“The word blog is irrelevant. What’s important is that it is now common, and will soon be expected that every intelligent person (and quite a few unintelligent ones) will have a media platform where they share what they care about with the world.”
So have I convinced you it’s time to get a blog going? I’ll talk more about the how in my next installment, because according to the blogging rules, I’ve already far exceeded the length allowable in a blog, as I usually do, but that’s a whole other issue worth discussing.
In the meantime, any thoughts?
Cheers (and I really hope this helps and maybe clarifies the ‘why’ a bit more!)
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Andrea is an award winning B2B communications professional with more than 23 years’ experience from around the globe, including 12 years exclusively in Asia Pacific. Focused principally in the ICT industry, Andrea has grown with the industry, and she has a proven talent to communicate with customers, prospects, stakeholders and influencers in a way that deeply resonates and gets results.
In her current role at Novus Asia, Andrea relishes sharing her passion for content marketing and its’ ability to fundamentally transform how businesses market to their customers. To be at the heart of this revolution in Asia, where every day she partners with inspired business leaders on their journey into a new era of business storytelling, is what drives her to achieve greater success. Additionally, Andrea understands that to succeed in content, professionals must be motivated and trained to build their personal brands to truly harness the amazing content being created for brands today.
Andrea was an early-adopter of blogging, authoring five very different blogs today, she’s a social media evangelist (a Top 100 Social Seller on LinkedIn in Singapore) and has had the great privilege to work around the world - EMEA, the US, ANZ and Asia.
Andrea’s core skill-set is communication excellence - she listens to and understands her customers, and is considered by many a positive disruptor in her field. She is constantly seeking to motivate colleagues, coaching and mentoring them to be more effective with their personal digital branding, as well as defining and executing communication strategies, content strategy, content creation, senior executive digital coaching, messaging and positioning, as well as a world-class business writer and story teller.
While Andrea’s career has been principally focused on ICT, she has also gained experience in other major industries, including defence, aerospace, government, travel & tourism, HR, environment, professional services, health, marketing services, financial services, and even the brewing industry. Andrea has been: Analyst Relations Lead for Microsoft Asia; Managing Director, SAJE, her own communications, content marketing & messaging agency; Director, Marketing Services for IDC Asia Pacific, Singaapore; Group Communications Manager for Baycorp Advantage, Sydney; Marketing Communications Consultant, ClearForest, NYC; Account Director with Text 100 International, Boston & London; a PR Consultant for various firms, London; Communications Co-ordinator, AeroSpace Technologies of Australia (now Boeing); and a Musician in the Australian Army, followed by PR representative for the Australian Defence Force PR Unit.
Andrea left Australia in 1995 to pursue her deep love of travel and archaeology, and she has a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University, majoring in music and archaeology.
You can follow Andrea on Twitter @AndreaTEdwards, her professional communications blog can be found at www.communicatingasiapacific.com, where she writes about global trends in content, content marketing, communications, social media and social business, translating global trends for Asian relevancy. And of course, you can find her on LinkedIn andreaedwardsasia.