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If you aren’t blogging already, someone has probably told you that you should. But is blogging truly for you and your organization?
Blogging can be an effective tool in keeping readers engaged, and help increase traffic to your web site in some cases. However, it’s not a magic bullet–successful blogging takes careful planning, quality content, and posting new material regularly on an ongoing basis. If you’re not willing or able to do those three things, blogging is a bad idea for you.
While there are many blogging tips–and we’ll add some in the future–here are the top three things to consider before you create a blog:
1. Careful planning includes setting your blog goals, who in your organization can create interesting content, and some of the mechanics such as installing blog software on your site (in general, avoid using a third-party site for your blog, even if it’s free) and using SEO-friendly URLs.
2. Quality content is key. Too many companies post nothing but “commercials” on their blog. Would you watch a TV show if it was 10 minutes of show, and 50 minutes of commercials? Of course not!
Quality content should include variety… you can answer questions, post things of general interest to your market, provide “how to” tips for customers, or even share a bit of fun or interesting information even if it doesn’t directly relate to your company. Years ago, I did a newsletter for my company that was extremely popular, and the typical issue included:
a. An article that was of general interest to our market, or a useful technical reference not easily found elsewhere.
b. Some Murphy’s Laws (I’ve collected those for 30+ years, including the true story of how Murphy’s Law came into being–and was a misquote).
c. Mental calisthenics that were brain teasers where we sometimes offered awards to the first person to fax us the correct answers, and didn’t share the answers until the next issue.
d. An interesting case history on the use of one of our products, or a tip on using a product.
3. Posting new material regularly over time. This takes a real commitment for the long term on the part of someone in your organization. It’s going to take time to come up with interesting content. Further, if you get questions or comments on your blog posts, you need to respond promptly.
This means someone in your organization needs to devote several hours a week to the blog to make sure new posts (one a week at minimum; more if possible) are added regularly. If you allow readers to comment, you should respond to those the same day if possible.
If you’re unwilling or unable to do these things, blogging is a bad idea for you.