I always tell people that the single best thing you can do for your online business is to blog. I’m not sure if they believe me, but even the ones that do are very hesitant to actually go ahead and blog. Some think that blogging is unprofessional or childish or somehow related to the world of a teen pouring her heart out about [name of some young pop star here].

It’s the word…. “blog”. It sounds horrible and has all of these negative connotations. It’s a contraction of “weblog” but it doesn’t really mean that anymore.

A blog is COMPLETELY different than a weblog (Well, it can be). That is, a weblog is a subset of a blog, but a blog can be about any topic under the sun.

A blog can also be professional. Big companies are blogging now, and having great success with them. Of course that success isn’t measured directly in dollars in cents. That’s why it’s sometimes hard for the mucky mucks to justify the ROI on things like blogging and social marketing.

But if you think about it differently you can turn it all around. A blog is merely a way to manage content, a content management system. If the word blog was instead “webCMS” or something more professional-sounding, we might not have such a problem with it.

Well, actually we probably still would have problems getting companies to do it. Firms would still have to yell and scream and drag them towards doing what’s best for their own business.

But how can we flip it around and make it a nicer sell to these companies? They should be doing it, we know it’s the best thing they can do, but how can we convince them without them parroting “no ROI, no ROI” back at us?

Well, we can tell them that blogging is merely the act of putting content on the Web. People these days expect companies to put content out there. Those that don’t will be left in the dust of the Internet age.

A blog can be engaging. It’s not the days of a single, static web page as your “About Us” link. It’s a whole blog of the CEO telling what his company is about. It’s everyone company-wide pitching in and telling their part of the story. Part of it is making your business human and not just being some headless, vague entity floating in the ether. People need to relate to you and blogging helps that.

A blog can make a site un-dead. Not undead as in a zombie, but actually alive, continually updated. This makes it something that people will actually come back to visit every once in a while.

Perhaps the biggest selling point is the SEO goodness a blog can bring. Google has repeatedly said that they want to give good rankings to sites with fresh, relevant content for specific keywords.

Now, Google isn’t perfect, not even close, but as it stands now a blog with good content that is updated daily will do pretty well, pretty quickly in Google. And if you really target certain niches of keywords, you can kick ass. Plus, Google’s algorithm will get better and better at determining which sites suck (i.e. which are old and stodgy and don’t have a blog and/or which ones are spammy/black hat SEO’d) and which ones legitimately rock it.

Good luck convincing your company or clients to blog. If you accomplish it, I’d love to hear different takes on how you did it.