Today, it’s hard to believe there wasn’t a time when blogging wasn’t widespread and among the de rigueur marketing tools for multinationals and startups alike. But, as with most of today’s seemingly must-do marketing techniques, blogging shouldn’t be entered into blindly. Your organization’s capacity for executing a successful blog depends on one thing — you. The major obligation of blogging is time, and for that investment to be worth it, an organization needs solid strategy and tactics driving how it uses this potentially powerful engagement tool. I’m not suggesting that you must make it your life’s purpose or forget about it altogether. Rather, it’s one of those things that, like the adage goes, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
One of the trickiest things about blogging is that results don’t come naturally. Everything from frequency to language can impact how well a blog can work for you. To determine if the time investment is right for you and your organization, start by considering the benefits.
- Is a chance to highlight your unique assets as an organization
- Positions your organization as an industry leader: It adds legitimacy to your organization and shows you’re committed to and interested in what’s going on around you.
- Engages your audience directly by opening a dialogue with comments on the actual blog page or through social media
- Is a fantastic SEO opportunity: Basically, a lot of people are online every day searching for a lot of different topics; including the right key words in your blog can get them directed to your website.
- Humanizes your brand by showing your thoughtful, insightful or helpful side as you write about your organization’s people, culture and vision
- Allows for a less corporate voice, helping readers feel a more personal connection with your organization
- Increases the value of your website: Google searches favor more content, so the more you have on your website, the better; blog content helps with this.
- Creates opportunities for sharing on social media or with other organizations in your industry: Blogs open the dialogue for you to comment on others’ posts (and link back to your blog) and for them to comment on yours.
- Allows you to reach a new audience, especially when you post content of general interest that still fits in with your industry
- Keeps your website current: You want people to keep coming back to the site; blogs accomplish this by offering readers fresh content.
- Lets you set it and forget it: Once you post, the blog continues to work for you without you having to touch it again.
- Is a reputation-builder: Be the first to break industry news and you’ll become a trusted source for your audience.
- Has a personal nature that creates trust:You’re not trying to sell someone; you’re just exchanging information
Clearly, blogs offer some real advantages to organizations if you have the time and dedication. Here are some quick tips to start the ball rolling in the right direction.
RESPONSIBILITY AND PROCESS
Blog creation and upkeep generally falls to someone in the marketing department, but making it the responsibility of only one person can limit your blog’s voice, variety of topics and legitimacy. Ask around the organization to see if anyone has an interest in writing or make it a team effort so everyone participates. Blogs written by different authors generally are more engaging.
Next, set a process that works for your organization, like developing a blog content calendar or getting everyone to suggest topics at a weekly meeting.
Vendors, clients, partners and others in your industry will make up your readership, but — most importantly — search engines will see your blog. You don’t need to be an SEO expert, but to get the most out of your time investment, it’s worth it to understand some basics of search engines.
Your website is where a lot of your target audience gets information about you, but updating the entire website isn’t always easy. Keeping an updated blog, though, is one way to keep it current. Start by identifying some keywords to include in the blog itself, the headline and any back-end descriptions.
When we talk about blog content, we’re generally focusing on words. However, don’t forget that the look of your blog is also important for audience engagement. Your blog section opens up a whole new world of graphic design and photo options to support and enhance your content. Video is good, too.
Just as including graphics is important, how your text is formatted is also important for engaging readers and SEO. Look to use as many paragraphs, bullets, headers, etc., as possible.
TOPICS ON HAND
- Discuss recent trends or a reaction to a news article related to your industry
- Recap a recent conference or meeting
- Introduce a new member of your team or a new vendor partnership
- Give updates on your organization: What are you doing that’s new?
- Go behind the scenes: Most of us want to know who we’re working with; showing the personality of your organization through your blog is a great way to connect with your audience.