Over the last couple of days I have spent quite a bit of time reviewing business blogs and compiling business blogging recommendations for several of our clients. Because many of our clients are local, a large portion of my time was spent reviewing the local business blog scene (including many of our competitors) and I quickly found that there are really only two types of blogs – cornerstone blogs and self-serving blogs. Cornerstone blogs are educational, useful blogs of quality with real and implied value in their posts. Self-serving blogs are marketing/seo driven blogs with little valuable content for users. Let’s take a look at both types below.

Cornerstone Blogs

For many businesses blogging has become the cornerstone of their web marketing efforts, a way to disseminate information and reach their target demographic/potential client base in a new way. It allows for dialogue with their clients, albeit still in a top down fashion. The business pushes content down and the masses respond. They could respond in many ways including comments, linkbacks or tweets and retweets. Many businesses use it as a test bed for customer service and/or marketing messages, but there is one overriding characteristic of these blogs. They all add value to the company’s brand image by being useful and providing quality information to their users.

At Westward Strategy we strive to add value every single time we post something. Sure, sometimes we post our own business successes, but more often than not we post the successes of our clients over our own successes. We do research and find supporting and/or opposing arguments to the topic we are writing on. We even publish articles that could be useful to anyone looking for search optimization or web design resources. And we do all of it with the readers/users of our site at the forefront of our minds. If you’re shopping around for a web design firm we hope you can use and/or educate yourself a little bit more with our “10 Questions You Should Ask a Prospective Web Design Company“. It does not matter if you choose to contact us about your project or not.

Now I know what you are saying…

“Chris, if a company uses a blog to publish quality content and that in turn garners more market share and value for the company, isn’t that self-serving?”

The answer – sure, in a way. The difference is cornerstone blogs focus on the customer first and the business second.

Self-serving Blogs

The other type of blog is the self-serving blog. The blog that gets added to an existing website and updated maybe once a month with posts that read something like this:

Reno Car Wash has the best reno car washes in Reno. We use only the best car wash soap and reno car wash equipment at Reno Car Wash. You should stop by Reno Car Wash and see our brand new car wash equipment and get a car wash from Reno Car Wash while you’re there!

Or even worse, they look like this with a bazillion links in them:

Reno Car Wash has the best reno car washes in Reno. We use only the best car wash soap and reno car wash equipment at Reno Car Wash. You should stop by Reno Car Wash and see our brand new car wash equipment and get a car wash from Reno Car Wash while you’re there!

Ok, that may be a little exaggerated, but trust me it’s not by much. It should be painfully obvious, like a frying pan to the skull cap, what the difference is between a cornerstone blog and self-serving blog. Sure the self-serving blog will manage to get information to the user that may be of some use, but really is that the way you talk to your customers? Is that the way you should talk to your customers? The answer to both is NO.

Self-serving blogs are like cheap furniture. They may have a nice wood veneer, but one scratch will reveal the shoddy construction and cheap materials underneath that thin cover. At that point it doesn’t matter what you put into the blog, you or your company will be seen in a not-so-friendly light.

So, the question is, why do you blog? Are you adding value for your clients, customers and website users? Are you helping educate them? Are you freely giving information and knowledge? Or are you posting for your own perceived benefit? Are you blogging to dominate the search results? (See SEO Myth: Blogging Means Top Rankings) Are you adding value or just creating white noise?

Why do you blog?

One Comment

  • Hi Chris,
    You have put in great efforts and written good post.The way you have projected your thought, is very constructive and understandable.Cornerstone blogs are people who have interest in blogging and how to use that skill for their business.They have the opinion of give and take. The self-serving blogs are just used to track the users of search engines, there is no intention of give and take.