Blogs Are an Incomplete Customer Communications Tool – How Would You Make Them Better?

Blogs are interesting tools of business and business communications. There are a lot of useful things you can do with a blog. Interestingly, they’re lacking in the one benefit most touted – customer communication. Only the blogger can open the conversation, the reader can only respond.

That’s poor communication.

Readers are without doubt the most valuable part of a blog. Without the reader, the blog is nothing more than a stream of conscious pouring into an empty room. The blogger and reader need each other, otherwise his dialogue and exchange of ideas never takes place.

The reader is the one that really makes the blog.

How ironic then that it is only the reader that can’t start a conversation. Only the blogger can open a topic for discussion. The blogger decides what and when something will be discussed. That isn’t the nature of communication, that’s not how we’d communicate were we together at a party, conference, or business gathering.

Sure, a reader can always send the author an email or contact them in other ways to initiate a post or topic for discussion, but that’s not the issue. The issue is how do you make it an integrated process? For example, anyone in your neighborhood can stop at your house and say hello, but how do you make them feel welcome to do so and part of your home?

On my own blog, I started a feature called Your Turn to Speak. The concept and process is simple, a reader submits a post for publishing on my blog by filling-out a short form. The reader can now start the conversation and the rest of us can follow. While the reader could always send me an email or call me to open a topic, no one ever did so until I invited them and gave a process. It’s a new feature and too early to tell if it increases conversation. There may be a better, simpler, and more intuitive way to integrate the reader…we’ll see.

Do you believe blogs are lacking in providing two-way communication? If so, how would you better integrate the reader? What are some creative ways you can think of to better integrate the reader into the blogging experience?