Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Got a resolution to start a company blog or just be better at updating it? Here are a few tips to help you with your goal.
Tip #1: Write for your audiences.
The first thing to do is figure out who you want to target in your blog. Once you’ve narrowed down and listed each audience, ask questions like:
* What information might help them in their lives/work?
* What kind of expertise can we share with them that matches up with their needs?
* How much time do they have to read the blog? (The answer is probably not much—so think about that in terms of frequency and length of post.)
* What kind of information would they find unhelpful? (Two likely answers are overly product-pushing posts or posts that don’t relate to their needs.)
Tip #2: Define what goals you want your blog to achieve.
* Interact with current customers
* Gain new customers
* Increase sales
* Increase word-of-mouth
* Keep products top-of-mind
* Build brand image
* Increase brand loyalty and equity
Knowing your goals will help you determine your content strategy.
Tip #3: Define a personality for your blog, and write in that voice.
The rest of your site is likely all about making sales, so don’t go overboard in this area in your blog. You don’t want to come across as a mercenary salesperson hitting your audiences over the head with product after product push. Words that come to mind for a possible personality for the blog are:
If, through your blog, you help your audiences do their jobs better and feel knowledgeable, they will be more disposed to buying your products, in large part because they will trust you and like you. This doesn’t mean you can’t highlight products you think are wonderful for your audiences—it means do this softly and in the context of other helpful information. Don’t make every post product-related.
Tip #4: Engage your audiences when possible through interactivity.
Think about incentives and the ways in which you’d like your audiences to engage with your content (e.g., discounts, contests, promotions). It’s fine to have the bulk of posts concentrate on good content alone, but try to regularly include ways your audiences can participate (and “win” though doing so). Make sure to repeat such incentives or contests on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook (if you’re up and running on these potentially helpful sites).
Tip #5: Tie your blog to overall business strategy and the social actions you want to inspire.
Think about seasons and cycles when designing content. Think about the products you really want to highlight. If you want to gain fans and followers, design a contest with great prizes and make a condition of entering “liking” your company on FB or following on Twitter. If you want to inspire a commenting culture on the blog, make your audience comment on a post to enter the contest.
Tip #6: Write out a Blog Blueprint—including your thoughts on Tips #1-5.
Keep this handy when writing each and every post. It’ll keep you on track for content—you’ll be ahead of the game in ensuring you make your blog helpful and attractive to your target audiences.