We’ve probably all been asked this question. If Maggie Fox’s post yesterday which says that less than 5% of corporations currently blog – it’s a question that we’re likely to hear more often. But should every business blog? Maggie has questions and so do I.
The company that asked me is a regional player in its market. Its customers are ‘C’ level executives in small and medium sizes businesses and the company currently connects with them via an informative and successful emailed news letter.
They’re interested in blogging likely because they’ve read posts like Alec Saunders ‘Alexaholic shows the value of blogging”. which shows the blogging drives lots of traffic to his corporate site and his traffic is way higher than a similar company that uses Search engine Optimization but doesn’t blog.. This is good information as long as you remember that Alec is a prolific and well connected blogger who has been blogging almost since it started. On another post (you’ll have to search) he outlines that according to Google site index he has 40,000 pages and god knows how many incoming and out going links. Point is that if you don’t put the effort and time in that you may not get the same results.
Then theres the issue that you need to write about what you’re passionate about – as you’re probably already doing that if you’re sending a regular email newsletter – but unlike an email news letter there has to be personality – and you’ve got to be interested in discussion because blogging is about the comment stream as much as the posts.
Here’s what I suggested:
Before deciding blog you need to answer a number of questions about the purpose of the blog
- Audience characteristics
1. Does their audience use RSS readers? This sounds like an odd issue to start with – doesn’t everyone? You’d be surprised and it’s one thing to want your users to open and read an item that is on their desktop and another to expect them to proactively visit your blog on a regular basis. This has been made easier with the inclusion of reader capabilities on most browser platforms – but opening the feeds interface and checking for new content is still a decision the user must make to access your content.
2. What is the relationship between the company and its intended readers? Blogs are public platforms – emailed newsletters can be either public or exclusive. If the inclusion on the mail distribution list is exclusive then a public blog may mitigate any benefits that come from being part of an exclusive group. On the other hand if the list is open, as most are, blogs make it easier to have gradations of affiliation with the company.
- Company characteristics
1. How frequently does the company add material? Successful blogs require frequent updates so it you don’t update often will you get the full advantage of a blog?
2. Does the company have enough content for a blog and an interesting slant. Everyone has been on corporate blogs where the company talks about only it’s products – or things so closely tied to its products that reads like a brochure. Tell me bout the market, technologies, trends, and personalities in the industry
3. Is it a group or individual blog? It’s harder to get a voice in a group blog – but easier to keep content fresh – you decide. Just make sure the writing is good.
If you do decide to blog here’s some sage advice from Alec Saunders on how to get your blog noticed.