To Blog or Not to Blog
With all the buzz about Social Media and blogs many companies feel the pressure to add a blog to their sites.
Hopefully my answers to the following questions will help you determine if you should add a blog to your site, and if so, how you should manage it successfully.
What is a BLOG?
According to the dictionary term on Google:
Blog – noun: A website on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis.
Verb: Add new materials to or regularly update a blog.
According to Wikipedia’s definition;
A blog (a portmanteau of the term web log) is a personal journal posted on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first. Blogs are usually the work of a single individual or occasionally of a small group, and often are themed on a single subject. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
In case you haven’t noticed, you are currently reading a blog ;-)
Should you add a blog to your site?
A blog should contain a series of on-going, relevant and up-to-date resourceful articles, aka “posts”, that would be useful and of interest to your target audience or others seeking to learn information on the subject matter discussed.
If you feel that you or your business has a lot of valuable and insightful information that you can impart to your industry, clients, target market or information seekers, then it is time for you to consider starting a blog.
If you have a blog, what and how often should you post?
If you get the same questions from clients repeatedly and you find yourself educating them and imparting knowledge that help them make wiser choices, then you may want to consider those topics for your blog.
A blog should be conversational in tone – easy to read and absorb. While making a blog slightly more casual or conversational in tone than the rest of your site, it should not be unnecessarily wordy. Keep it as concise as possible, but provide enough explanation and examples to get your message across effectively.
Before committing to a blog make sure that you have a list of at least 12 topics that you can easily write about during the course of the year.
You should contribute at least 1 blog entry per month at minimum. It is not unusual to contribute weekly or even daily.
Whatever your frequency level, stick to a schedule and don’t write just for the sake of writing, but rather for sharing content that will truly be useful, informative and insightful to those who care about the topic.
Ultimately, if the information is resourceful to those who read it, there is a good chance they’ll want to share that content with others too.
What if I don’t have the time and resources to commit to a blog, but I do have valuable information to share?
If you don’t have the time and can’t commit the resources to maintain an ongoing blog, you may want to consider researching other blogs that are already discussing and sharing information on the subjects and topics that are relevant to your business. Follow those blogs. Read them extensively and participate and share your insights with the rest of the participants. Make sure you are adding a new perspective, or elaborating on a point within the discussion. Don’t just blog to self-promote your business, but rather to SHARE new and useful information that the readers will appreciate. It is OK to link back to pages on your site for further details if you are truly adding value to the discussions.
What features or functions should your blog have?
One of the most common formats used for blogs is WordPress. Your web programmer can build your WordPress blog into your site and design and format it to reflect your overall brand image to synchronize with your website. WordPress is simple to learn, maintain and post your own blog entries.
You can also use a free Google-based blogging template, known as blogger.com or blogspot.com. It is customizable to a certain extent and easy to use; however it may have limitations on branding and designing it completely like the rest of your site, and it would be hosted under Google.
For all blogs, you want to make sure that most recent posts are always first and descend in order from most frequent to oldest.
You can enable your blog to allow comments, questions and discussions by readers. If doing so, be sure to follow comments and respond when necessary. Be prepared that all comments may not always be in your favour or in agreement with your views. An open discussion is still fine as long as you can handle responding. You can always turn off the open discussion feature if that is your preference.
Blogs can also be search engine optimized to include relevant key words that people may be searching for. If you are using key words in your post, link those key words to other relevant pages within your site. Don’t overdo it!
Feel free to reference images, graphs, other external web pages or online videos that further reinforce your message. When referencing any external content, make sure you add the appropriate links so that readers may dig deeper into the information they are seeking to learn.
At the end of the day, Social Media Marketing is all about sharing, so make it easy for readers to SHARE the knowledge with their friends and colleagues by including any Social Media links at the top and/or bottom of every blog post, enabling them to post your blog on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any other Social Media sites.
So what are you waiting for?… Start sharing this post with anybody you think may want to learn more about BLOGS.
Thanks for reading and hopefully… SHARING ;-)