FOUR. The ability to attach a personality to an opinion. Yes, it's something "brands" have been doing for a while - but blogging provides such an instant medium, where the personality of the blogger, the text, the images, the surrounding blog design, the comments and the comments on every Digg and Reddit submission can add layers to the brand/personality of the communication. With or without the control of the original owner - social media has an uncanny knack of instantly, if not always accurately, representing the broader personalities, likes and dislikes of their originators and readers.
FIVE. The immediacey of feedback and Customer Evangelism. Aston Martin recently profited from an example of quick reactions and customer evangelism. BMW continues to lead the foray into marketing via social media. Stork even gave it a try - but fell short.
I guess the question is - what would a marketing director give to have an instant channel where complaints / compliments with products / services could be aired and responded to - in public view? Transparency, at last!
SIX. Driving Traffic to Communities, quickly. A mildly popular blog might deliver you 30,000 visits a month - that's a pretty captive audience if you ask me. What other community based marketing device gives you that kind of immediately accessible, interactive audience - without ad breaks? And you're pretty much guaranteed that, besides some accidental traffic - the audience is there because they enjoy / trust / believe the information and opinion being published.
Blogs may very well be the next big thing in community building and community management - if - the communities, blog publishers and blog tools can find a way of not cluttering their platforms with spam / unjustified opinions.
Perhaps it's hoping for too much?