As noted earlier, “Social Media Monitoring” is the ONE THING every company ought to be doing in Social Media. “Setting a Social Media Policy” is #2. What’s the next biggest priority?
This answer is probably more controversial now than it was in the past, when blogging was all the rage (pre-Twitter, pre-Facebook). After all, success stories like @ComcastCares and @Zappos might suggest that an active Twitter presence is a short-form, high-speed, perfectly valid alternative to blogging. And Facebook certainly has its allure…
Blogging is, after all, a slow & muddy slog. It is hard to dream up enough content to keep the blog going; it is hard to gain readers; it is hard to get readers to leave even a paltry number of decent comments; it is hard to filter out the spam; it is embarassing to see numerous posts with “Comments: (0)” at the bottom; it is hard to read other relevant blogs and leave clever comments that might (MIGHT) drive the blogger and/or their readers to check out your stuff.
Yea. Blogging is effin’ hard.
But here’s why it’s worth doing:
Blogging gives your company a voice. In good times and especially in bad times, your blog will be a place where you can talk about what’s going on at the company, in reader-friendly language that folks might actually read.
Starting a blog DURING a crisis is a crappy way to start a blog. But starting a blog when times are good can marshall a field force of brand ambassadors to rally to your aid when that inevitable crisis hits!
In this same vein, blogs are a better place to direct people than your corporate website.
Whoa! Slow down, hombre, let me explain, no need to get all hot; I KNOW you want to send visitors straight on to the website … but using your tweets (for example) to direct people to the corporate blog gives these interested new visitors a way to engage with the content and/or the people and/or the company in a way that is far more human and interesting and fun.
No need to convert them right away. Let ‘em sniff out the environment and talk to your star blogger for a li’l bit. Let those visitors add some value to you! They often want to! And when they are allowed to add that value, they are incented to direct their own friends to go check it out, so there’s a substantial tangent benefit. So, make it easy and you can take it easy. Before long they’ll click over to the expensive corporate website, I promise.
Blogging enforces respectfulness. To be a successful blogger, you simply must read and respond (in comments and in fresh posts that riff on peers’ work) to your fellow industry bloggers. The process inspires true admiration for their work, and ultimately helps the corporate blogger craft a style that is attuned to their larger audience.
Blogging is timeless. Remember up above when I tipped my hat to Twitter and Facebook? Yea, well, they’re quite cool but so was Friendster, MySpace, etc. (Hell, AOL was cool once – I am talking SUPER COOL. You kids might not remember it, but AOL was once so monstro that they acquired TIME-WARNER!)
Blogging, however, is not, actually, cool. Blogging is useful, utilitarian, homespun, and not going anywhere, figuratively or literally. What if you’d bet your entire marcomm strategy on MySpace a few years ago? Bet you’d be feeling pretty silly. But your corporate blog? Ol’ Reliable. It’s YOURS.
Blogging enforces content creation. Of all the things that have gnawed at me these past weeks, abandoning PR-Squared was among the worst feelings. Not because I saw my AdAge ranking plummet (though that sucked); not because the blog is a primary newbiz driver for SHIFT (though that’s important); but because I felt an obligation to my readers. I know there’s no lack of cool stuff to read while I’m gone, but I’ve worked hard for SIX YEARS to keep ya’ll coming back here.
Any good blogger will feel the same way. And you want that, cuz CONTENT drives BUZZ drives TRAFFIC drives ENGAGEMENT drives CUSTOMER ACQUISITION.
Which reminds me: did I mention that blogging is good for SEO?
Before signing off, I should address this question: “Do we give the blog a standalone URL or do we attach it to the corporate website?” I get that one a lot. The path I chose (a URL completely distinct from www.shiftcomm.com) was not chosen strategically; 6 years ago when I started blogging, nobody knew if it was gonna last.
Nowadays I advise clients to make the blog front-and-center on the HOMEPAGE of the corporate site. NOT at “companyname.com/blog,” i.e., don’t bury it! If you make it stand out so prominently, you’ll be that much more motivated to make it shine. It’s totally fine, though, if you allow the interaction (comments, etc.) to happen at companyname.com/blog; I am simply advocating that the content be highlighted right upfront. Any SEO experts disagree? Please educate me if I am misguided. This approach has worked well for me.
Oh, and if your CEO wants to blog? That’s fine, so long as you make them read this post, first. You can thank me later.
Next time: “If You Only Do *Four Things in Social Media …” Can you guess what I’ll recommend? Do you disagree with how I’ve been prioritizing this series? Let me know in the comments!
Posted on: June 29, 2010 at 12:52 pm By Todd Defren