If your company doesn’t have a blog yet, you might be wondering if you’re missing out on the latest and greatest business generator, or whether you’re just smarter than the average bear and avoiding a pitfall. (Click on “Blog” and there’s nothing there = pitfall.) There’s a plethora of free content out there in the world these days; your blog needs to stand up to the competition. Sloppy and irrelevant have no place in the blogosphere, so think before you give that 22 year old intern the job.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself about your company before throwing up a blog like all the other cool kids: we’ll call it the who, what, why, when and where of joining the blogosphere.
1 – Who: Know your audience. If you want to put up a blog, the first thing you need to ask yourself is, “who will want to read this blog?” If you know the answer, you’re on the right track. If you’re already stuck, you may want to back up and ruminate over this before adding a “Blog” dropdown to your website’s menu.
2 - What: What do I uniquely have to share? If you’ve determined your audience and you feel comfortable knowing they are out there, just waiting for you with bated breath, you’ll need to know what you’re going to deliver. Remember, your blog is unique to your company. Your blog is telling stories from your company’s point of view, so you’ll need to determine what your voice is and be consistent. Most of all, be true. Don’t try to pretend to be something you or your company are not. Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability, to ask questions of your readers, to reach out to your community. It will help your voice seem earnest and likeable if you actually are earnest and likeable!
3 – Why: Why bother? Now that you know who your audience is, and what you want to say, you’ll need to ask yourself the big question. Why do I need to add ‘writing content for my blog’ to an already long to-do list. Is it because you want to drum up new business by saying something relavent about your product? Is it a way to keep your customers assessed of new things available through your business? Is it a place for them to learn more about your product? Or is it a way for them to get to know you and your staff in a more personal way? If your business is B2B, why do you need to educate other businesses about your brand? Be very clear here. Your blog is your brand identity – it will speak to who you are and what your business culture is just as loudly – or maybe more so – as your website. So, don’t put that dropdown spot in your menu if you don’t know why you’re dropping it there. Which brings us to . . .
4 – When – How often should I blog? Ask yourself a few simple questions to come to this answer. Do you have the sort of product or brand that is constantly changing; it’s elastic and flexible and there’s something new and exciting in your industry almost every day. If so, you should blog once a week. Keep your readers hooked on the latest and greatest by dropping something exciting and fun into that blog box in a consistent manner. It will keep your audience coming back. On the flipside, if you have a business that’s generally stable, with little change, blog once a month about something relevant to your readers; something that will get them thinking about you and how you can help them solve a problem or feel better about a situation. Just remember: your blog is your way to have a conversational voice with hundreds of customers at once; so don’t leave them hanging. Give them something for which to to keep coming back. If you can’t blog at least once a month, then don’t bother.
5- Where – Where will this be seen? Years ago, getting people to comment on your blog was the goal. If you said something thought provoking, or asked a question, it could hook your readers into feeling compelled to join the conversation. Today, it’s more about sharing. Your goal is to write things that are interesting enough that people feel motivated to share with their social networks. And feel free to add hyperlinks that send people to other blogs and sites, as well. Remember, to share is where it’s at these days.
Final advice? Check out other blogs for ideas. Cruise the competition. Stay inspired. And to thine own self (company; channel; brand) be true.