Let's be clear; most businesses want its blog to generate sales for the company. Either directly or indirectly. But some of the biggest benefits that can be achieved via a blog is to use it as a tool to reduce the cost of running your business. Here are three ways this can be done:
1 - Your blog as a customer service/support tool. Think about how much time and money and energy is spent on handling customer service issues. With a blog, you can handle most of these issues, giving customers the ability to find the answers for themselves, saving them time and energy as well. A win-win for everyone, as this always improves the customer's impression of your company, and makes them feel cool as well since they could solve the problem themselves! In the book Groundswell, the authors calculated this benefit alone as being worth $69K a year to a large blogging corporation.
2 - Organic SEO benefits. Everyone knows that blogging has big SEO advantages. But the organic SEO benefits from your company blog could be enough that you could scale back on the money you're paying that SEO firm, or even stop outsourcing your SEO efforts! That means you can take that portion of your marketing budget and move it to other areas!
3 - Free market research! One of the first things you'll hear about social media is that 'it's all about the conversation!!!' Ok I agree, there's so much more to it than that, and it's often hard to directly monetize 'the conversation'. But here's one area where customer feedback can pay off on your blog, and that's in the form of free research! Think about it, if you have a vibrant and active readership on your blog, then you can use your customers to get insights into new products you are developing, existing or possible marketing campaigns, or really anything! Click here for an example of this in action with the recent social media survey I conducted on MackCollier.com.
So keep these ways in mind when you are considering launching a company blog, or are trying to sell your boss on doing so. Don't just consider the potential revenue generated, but also the potential to lower the costs of running your business!