Monday, February 25, 2013

Don't Be Blah, Blog Well

Sure, anyone can blog. And if you're in business, you should. But you don't want to just do it. (Sorry, Nike.) You want to do it well.

A good blog is like a good friend. It calls from time to time, with news, a joke, a timely reminder. Occasionally sends a picture of someone you knew in high school or asks, "what did you think of that Glee episode with all the Whitney Houston songs?" A really good friend (or blog) will sometimes even pop by with a job tip for you.

The thing is, if your friend doesn't call, doesn't answer your emails, or just sort of forgets about you, you'll probably move on.

So will your customers, if your company blog becomes a piece of internet history, or just plain irrelevant. Don't let that happen to your blog.

What should your blog say? Who should say it? and What's the point? 

You should ask these questions before you start blogging. There's more than one right answer to each question, but you have to make sure you have answers, and that your answers make sense for you and your strategic business plan.

What should your blog say?
Well, honestly, only you can answer that. Make sure it's relevant TO YOUR READERS. That's the best advice I can give you. Bonus tip: pay attention to how I formatted that. I very, very rarely type using all caps, and even rarer still are they bold, italicized, and underlined. Hint, hint.

More good advice falls under the heading, "Don't write BS."

Who should say it?
Anyone can blog. But if your company president/CEO wants to put his/her face on the blog, you gotta ask: how often will it be updated? Maybe you should consider a ghost blogger to help keep things fresh. 

What's the point? 
The point of blogging is baiting, at least in the commercial world. Take Marcia Yudkin's advice so your bait doesn't swim away and land on somebody else's hook. Make sure your strategy includes an easy way for your prospect to get something helpful from you (for free - infographics are nice, for example) as long as that something is clearly copyrighted (by you!) and then, follow-up. Check regularly to make sure your bait (white papers, tips and trends articles, whatever you're offering for the price of an email address/contact name) isn't trolling for customers behind someone else's ship.

Last summer, the Social Media Examiner published a fairly detailed look at how to bring more eyeballs to your blog.  More to it than you thought? That's one of the primary reasons why savvy companies hire professionals to manage their blogs

Blogs are so easy to create, it's ridiculous. I wonder how many poor, unwanted blogs are out there, abandoned in the ether? Too many. And worse - at least, I think it's worse - are that many great blogs are horribly neglected. You know, you get all excited reading a few good entries and then...the dust starts to build up. Pretty soon it's just another moldy blog. Please, don't be that guy.

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