To Blog or Not to Blog
One of the first questions we get from clients who are considering building a new website or updating their current one is: “Should we have a blog?” And almost immediately, we come back at them with a smile and a well-timed, “Should you?”
We’re not really that glib. But the question does sort of answer itself. If you don’t really know the reasons for having a blog, chances are good that you won’t be using the blog in ways that can helpful to your organization. And if you’re not using it well, you’ve just created an online space where – rather than seeing how capable and informed and expert your company is – readers may instead see apathy, lack of purpose, or outdated material. So, what are some of the good reasons for establishing and maintaining a blog?
- You have lots of good content to share and a plan for sharing it. If this isn’t the case, stop now; your blogging efforts will be for naught. You’ve got to have something to say and you’ve got to have a plan for getting it written out and on the blog. If you’re not going to write – at the very least – one quality blog per month, don’t set on up. Even better, post every other week or weekly. And have a internal plan for how this happens. Is the blog responsibility of one person in the organization? Will you have multiple writers? Calendar this out and get it set in stone. In terms of what to write about, the possibilities are endless if you start brainstorming: new product descriptions, case studies about projects, jobs, or initiatives your organization tackled, staff profiles, shared articles from other places about industry trends or developments, and much more.
- You’re seeking to boost your search rankings. More content on your website means more pages that can be indexed and trolled by the search engines. So it can always help to be adding fresh, new content to your website via a blog. As you do so, you’ll also be wanting to write blog posts that are rich with key words that you’re guessing folks will type into a search engine. It also can help to have your blog cross promoted or referenced on other blogs around similar topics, so look to partner with other bloggers who can give you a boost.
- You want your audience to engage and dialogue with you. Perhaps you want some feedback and interaction with the readers of your website – whether through comments on blog articles, surveys, short quizzes, or some other means. In this case, a moderated blog can be a good thing. Readers can respond to what you’ve written and to one another’s comments. Most blog platforms will also allow you to moderate comments, approving them before they’re posted, so that nothing unseemly appears on the blog and so that WWIII doesn’t break out for some reason.
- You want to convey subject expertise or mastery of your trade. Regular blog articles are a great way to showcase some of the work you’re doing or some of the innovations you’re making in your company. A blog can also be a place to share what you’re reading from other writers, a way to demonstrate that you’re “keeping up” on the latest thought patterns or trends in your industry. With the rate of change skyrocketing in almost every market and sphere, the more you can evidence that you are aware and thinking through the ramifications for your business and organization, the more potential clients or members can believe that you’ll have the same mindfulness around your interactions with them.
The reasons for starting and maintaining a blog are many – and we could easily write 500 more words on further arguments for keeping one. But the bottom line is this: have a reason and have a plan. Otherwise, spend your time and energy on a marketing effort better suited to the goals you need to accomplish.