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Corporate blogging has turned from a website filler into an integral tool for reinforcing a company's brand personality.

A social media channel that stagnated for a long time, corporate blogging is on the rebound, with about 44 per cent of companies now using blogs.

Corporate blogs can be a highly efficient way for brands to communicate with consumers.

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For example, Electronic Arts Inc. -- whose CEO, John Riccitiello, resigned this week -- recently experienced a product launch gone wrong, when its city-building simulation game, SimCity, failed to work properly for its users.

The game's maker used its  blog to respond to the crisis, apologize, offer a freebie, and post regular updates on system improvements.

While this demonstrates one purpose for corporate blogging, cleaning up a mess isn't its only use. Here are others:

Educating

Blogging is a direct way to inform consumers about company activity or teach them how to use a new product. Free from length or content restrictions, blogs can feature a wealth of information and still include images, videos and links for added value. They also present an opportunity to have a unique voice instead of sounding generic, standard or too brief.

Evernote, an app for note-taking and archiving, has a great company blog for providing valuable information to its audience. For instance, when it implemented a service-wide password reset, Evernote blogged about its decision and used this social platform to provide an explanation for users and offer tips for smooth execution. It also offered advice on how to ensure users' data remained secure everywhere else on the Web.

Providing added value

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Rather than just talking at them, it's important to offer valuable content to consumers. Blogs are a great way to show you care and can provide valuable insights that complement your products.

Whole Foods Market Inc. has an excellent blog that does just that. It frequently updates with recipes, tips and tricks, product information and endless how-to articles, ranging from how to shop organic to how to properly blanch vegetables. The company understands that customers don't just want to read about its food offerings , but how to integrate the foods into their lifestyles.

This not only establishes the company as one that offers quality products, but also shows consumers why these products are great and how they can benefit from them.

Communicating company culture

Blogging gives corporate leaders a platform from which to inspire, motivate and be completely transparent. They can use their corporate blog to communicate their company's values and establish or reinforce the genuine personality behind their brand.

Bill Marriott offers a prime example of how to do this effectively. Not only is he the  executive chairman and board chairman of Marriott International Inc., he's also the main contributor to the lodging company's blog. This personal involvement is a powerful reassurance to clients that this is a company that cares, builds trust and creates loyal customers.

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His blog, 'Marriot on the Move,' is used to build relationships with customers by providing company updates and acting as a resource for information on a variety of topics that appeal to a wide audience, including fitness, books and travel. By mixing company information with relevance and a genuine, personal touch, his blog helps to establish a caring community and in turn, a more appealing brand.

As always, quality trumps quantity

People want to share quality content. If you produce high-quality blog posts, more people will read them, which means more traffic will go to your site. Using a corporate blog to offer valuable content doesn't just boost your search engine optimization and drive traffic; it keeps customers there.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic. She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.

Join The Globe's Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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