One of the things our clients often ask us is, should our Web site include a blog? Our answer? Maybe.
Many of our clients have been successful in their use of blogs, building readership, driving more visitors to their Web sites, and improving their SEO. As we wrote back in 2003, when we first wrote about the blogging trend in Can Business Ride the Weblog Wave?, blogs can be useful if you have a strong opinion about focused issues other people care about. We haven’t changed our mind about that.
But blogs simply aren’t right for every business. And we tend to recommend blogs in about half the cases – and discourage our clients from them in the other half.
Here are some reasons why you should consider a blog:
You have something to say. We’ve said it before: starting a blog means you have a strong opinion about focused issues people care about. Approaching a blog from a neutral point of view isn’t effective in building a loyal readership.
You’re an expert in your field. If you read enough blogs, you’ll find that not everyone who has something to say is an expert. If you are, you can bring a level of credibility to your opinions that a less qualified individual may lack.
You can write “with attitude.” Let’s face it, you may know your stuff cold and you may have lots to say. But the blogosphere requires a dash of pepper that traditional marketing materials – such as white papers and case studies – may lack. Before you embark on writing a blog yourself, make sure you study the ones in your field and can match them in spark and inventiveness.
This, by the way, is the downfall of a lot of corporate blogs. If you’re likely to find your creativity and writing confined by timid corporate guidelines, you’re better off spending your time doing something else.
You can spare the time – in a sustained way. If you’re writing a corporate blog, make sure you can fit it in with your other responsibilities. There is no “magic number” of times you should update a month, but clearly you need to add postings to your blog often enough to keep your readership interested.
One of the reasons we at IMA have never embarked on a blog (though we have often considered it) is because we’re so busy serving our clients, we feel we might not be able to keep on top of a blog properly. And like any other promise you make, starting a blog is a promise to your readers that you’ll come back. Make sure you can.
If you allow comments on your blog, you can establish a strategy to deal with people who don’t “play well.” Many of our clients are hesitant to allow comments on their corporate blogs, particularly if they have malicious competitors or are afraid of what harm dissatisfied customers might do. Some have even gone to the extent of disabling that function. That’s certainly one option. But if you do allow the give-and-take of comments to your blog, make sure you allot time to review them in a timely way. That way, if someone’s comments are inappropriate, you can deal with it sooner rather than later.
If the idea of starting a blog intrigues you, give us a call or send us email at email@example.com. We’ll be happy to enlarge upon the pro’s and con’s for your particular situation.