This is always one of the first topics of conversation when we meet with a potential client. It starts with “should I have a blog?” and then leads to “my main competitor has one so I feel like I need to.”
Now, usually, we smile because we are very excited about the opportunity to blog. After all, our firm specifically believes in the power of content. However, blogging can be tricky. Our response to the question typically goes something like this “what do you want to blog about?” Some leaders have thought about the “why” but others have not. Usually, we receive a response similar to “I don’t know yet but I feel like I need to have one. Everyone else has one.”
This is where we sit up a little higher in our chairs. Blogging has become a very popular marketing tool and one, that if used properly, can bode well for a brand. On the flip side, it can actually damage your brand if you aren’t utilizing the tool in the way it’s intended to be used. Here’s what we mean:
With most marketing tools, a strategy must come first. Many of our initial conversations with curious bloggers-to-be begin with an interrogation from us on their goals. A blog is a communication tool that requires a great deal of dedication and focus. Writing takes time. Not to mention, writing is much harder than what it was five years ago. People do not want to spend more than five minutes on one article or blog post. Often times, articles even have a timestamp by the title to tell you how long it’ll take a viewer to read it. And while the demand for information is at an all-time-high, bloggers need to be aware that what you say and how you say it are quickly important to capturing an audience.
So, when we discuss whether or not a brand should have a blog, here are the things we like to ask first to validate whether it’s a good use of time and resources:
- What is your goal in having a blog?
- Name 3-5 content pillars (content topics) your blog could be focused around. Do you have enough content to keep your blog regular and consistent or should this content be reflected in, perhaps, an email newsletter?
- Review your 3-5 content pillars. Is your content unique and differentiated enough to your audience (members, prospective members, sponsors, partners, etc.)?
- Who would write your blog posts?
- What tone of voice would you write your blog posts in? Is that tone of voice compelling enough to sustain a lengthy period of time?
- How frequently will you publish blog posts? (This answer may heavily depend on your answer to Question 1).
By answering these questions, you have either set up a great skeleton-strategy to begin implementing a blog OR you have decided that blogging may not be right for your association at this time. (And that’s ok). Content is king in today’s wealthy world of internet info-gathering, however, blogging isn’t the singular solution for everyone.