You want to stay in touch with customers, even provide a personal style of communications that builds trust and credibility for your organization. A web log is one way to turn a impersonal website into a relationship building tool.
Here are several relationship building examples using a web logs:
Highlight positive product review in trade media publications. Bring important news to your customers attention, scan trade publications and make sure they see everything written about your company. The third party references create credibility as they tend to be seen as implied endorsements.
Feature product related tips that help customers get more from their purchase. Help your customers achieve a return on investment with their purchase without cutting into your bottom line. Combine a web log with search tools and your website becomes a simple knowledge base. Letting customers search through these tips improves their experience with your product.
Provide executive commentary on current news or industry events. Your shareholders and the media may be interested in what you have to say about current events that influence your business. You'll want to pass the comments through legal and follow the corporate communications strategy, but you'll reach more people and stay visible.
Invite open discussion about uses for your product or services. Extend the reach of your marketing department with informative short articles about the solutions your company provides. Invite feedback from resellers and vendors, help them tune their sales skills to move more of what you offer.
Install web log tools with business partners and post comments to an Extranet. Most publishing software includes a news collection tool which allows you to exchange headlines with business partners. Create topical channels of information, exchange ideas and share information necessary to improve your value to customers. Web logs provide inherent linking characteristics that improve navigation. (I recommend "Radio Userland", but other tools are available.)
Post short announcements from the perspective of different user types. Engineers need different information than end-users, provide channels of technical information that serves the needs of one group actually written by peers in the industry. This could be as simple as pointing out an interesting trend then linking to it.
Channel information of value to customer automatically. If you are an information provider or provide research to customers, then web logs help deliver this information in a more automated manner. Use XML-RPC and SOAP to provide pull headlines for mobile devices, websites, and other information tools.
Can you think of more ways a business-to-business company can use web logs to build business relationships? If so, post your comments, and share the ideas with your team. You will be surprised how flexible new publishing tools can be today (and how low the costs are to implement.)