With so many people and organizations getting on the blogging bus, it seems that blogging must be very important. But why? Deciding on a strategy helps clarify the underlying purpose of the blog itself, and helps give focus to the writing. Here are some of the reasons that we've come across - do any sound familiar?
You've always wanted to keep a personal diary, and blog software is an easy way for you to do it. (Unless you have celebrity status, there can be virtually no business purpose for spending time on a blog for this reason.)
- The CEO has decided that they should blog in order to connect "directly" with customers and prospects. It does take some time to build a following, and to be effective it needs to be part of an overall strategy to expose/brand the CEO. (Otherwise it is just an exercise of ego.)
- To communicate with a specific stakeholder group using a channel they prefer. Over time, people's preferences have changed, from postal mail newsletters, to email, to live events, to teleseminars/webinars. There is a growing group of people who appreciate the interactivity that a blog can provide.
- To provide updates about your organization. If this is your intent, your blog would include repurposed press releases, product announcements, and that's about it. (This is just a warmed-over "broadcast" marketing strategy from 1973: many corporate blogs are no more than this.)
- To cement your reputation as an expert in your field, or to do so at the corporate level. Blogging for this purpose requires two things: constantly sharing value with your audience, and actively engaging in conversations with them.
- To become a source for innovative original thought and commentary. This might suggest writing a blog that provides insights on news, issues, and trends. It would encourage opinions and reader interaction.
- To become the go-to source for updates in your field. A blog with this strategy would aggregate up-to-date news items, and link to the original sources for more details. In effect, you would take on an "editor" role, aggregating relevant content for your audience. (There may or may not be interactivity.)
- To foster discussions for new product development. This type of blog would allow you to solicit new ideas, and test-drive new concepts. One of the risks of this strategy would be the signal that it gives competitors.
Of course, your blog's intent can be a combination of these ideas. And there are dozens of other possible reasons - the key is to choose the reasons that are right for you. If the reasons aren't compelling, then stop blogging altogether.
This week's action plan: If you are already blogging, look back over the last six months, and objectively ask yourself what a reader would "say" your intent appeared to be. If there is a difference between what you intend and what you've actually written, then make some changes going forward. If you don't yet have a blog, choose your intention before anything else.
Randall Craig is an expert on Social Media Strategy and Social Media Policy; to find out how his workshops, webinars, and keynotes can help your team or add to your event, contact him through www.RandallCraig.com, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Publication Date: Dec 21, 2010
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