The visual and functional difference between a blog and a web site is becoming less and less noticeable and even when it is apparent, the reader does not seem to care all that much.
A blog offers many benefits over and above using it as an opportunity to expand your digital footprint. Having a web site and a blog is like having two tickets for the lottery draw - a bigger chance of winning the jackpot.
Create your own voice online
Your blog is your place where you can express yourself or your brand online in your own words. It may also be the place where the media checks in to read what the latest developments in your business may be. When fighting bad publicity, your blog becomes the place to set the record straight or to provide the latest news. Post photographs, videos or downloadable files to add interest to your blog.
Influence what is being said
The job of a press release can now largely achieved through your blog. You have control over the messages, information and timing of your blog posts. Use these to shape the information that is out there about your brand.
Establish yourself as an expert
By selecting a niche topic to blog about, you have the opportunity to establish yourself as an expert. The same can be achieved by commenting on blog posts of other bloggers on your niche topic (e.g. Dining in St. John's). You never know when you'll be called upon for your services once you become known.
Publish without delay
Blogging sites such as Blogger, Workpress and Typepad offer free blogs that is intuitive and easy to use. Your blog post is live on the web as soon as you press "Publish Post". When your message is time sensitive, your blog will be available immediately.
Faster search engine results
Blog content changes more regularly than web site content and recognizing this, search engines have altered their algorithms to give preference to blog content in some cases. By blogging on a topic you may harness the power of Google to get results even before changes to your web site can be made.
Your blog can be a powerful tool for doing market research. Blog posts allow for comments and these comments can be an indicator of what your consumer public is thinking about your brand.
Start a conversation
Blog writing is generally more casual than web site content. By writing in such a way that the reader feels compelled to comment, you can start a conversation (comment to their comment) that can be the beginning of an online business relationship.
Build your brand
All the above activities contribute to building your brand. This is the opportunity to establish your brand identity unfiltered by media or advertising but by communicating directly with your consumer. In stead of one way communication like in advertising, your blog has potential for a lively brand conversation.
Things go wrong. Customers get unhappy. When this is expressed online it can be bad for business. When you become aware of any bad publicity, your blog can help to set the record straight.
Your blog fans can now sign up to follow your blog, By encouraging your customers to sign up to become followers of your blog, you create a direct communication line between you and your customer and you can now tailor your blog content to your followers.
Integrate across social media
The current wave of social media is all about integrating between platforms. As you can see with Digital Daisy's blog, there is an app that allows integration of my Facebook Page with this blog, a Linkedin poll and more. In the same way I am able to share the link to this blog in my online profile on various sites. My blog posts can feed directly to my Facebook page or Plaxo profile etc. Such integration vastly increases the exposure and impact of your blog.
This list is by no means definitive. Please add your own benefits or examples in the comments box.