The rise of social media among consumers has meant that businesses are increasingly looking to the channel as a means of marketing their goods and services.

However, these same companies are also finding that it can be difficult to be successful in the social medium unless they have something unique to offer.

One relatively simple and effective way of leveraging the benefits of social media is setting up a company blog, something espoused by Google’s Matt Cutts in a USA Today interview earlier this year as one of the key ways of boosting search engine optimisation (SEO).

He explained that keeping a regularly updated online journal can be an ideal way of boosting rankings with quality links and interacting with both customers and associates, as well as getting useful, search engine-friendly text on a site.

More recently, Graham Charlton of E-consultancy also noted that a well-executed blog can bring significant advantages in terms of customer relationships and SEO.

He explained that an online journal can be a viable way of obtaining customer feedback and dealing with any issues, as well as improving relations with both investors and the media.

Keeping track of other industry blogs is also a good way of checking on the latest trends within the sector, Mr Charlton said.

Despite this, there are a number of downsides to keeping a blog, he warned, such as having the resources to be able to invest money and time in regularly updating it and measuring return on investment.

Businesses may also want to take note of recent comments by David Schatsky, president of JupiterResearch, who said that Web 2.0 as a whole is generally more useful for brand awareness purposes than for impacting on sales directly.

Nevertheless, a number of companies are already finding that blogs can offer real benefits and it may be worth experimenting with the medium to see if it can work for others.

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