It seems that almost every businesses, every professional, and every organization is jumping on the blog bandwagon. But how do you know if blogging right for you? Creating and maintaining a blog may not be the best use of your time or expertise. Other marketing tools may be a better fit for your skill set and needs. Let’s weigh the options.
The Benefits of Having a Blog
Show Off. Let assume for a moment that you are able to write compelling content (articles, posts…call em what you will) that appeals to your particular audience. A blog is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and show off your personality .
Boost Your Search engine rankings. If you’re blogging about your field (doctor or lawyer) or industry (media or finance), you’ll make sure that your content is chock-full of the keywords that your target audience would perform a search on. The more relevant your content is to your field or industry, the better. Your blog gives you the ability to create as much relevant content as you want – the sky is the limit.
Build your Community. Your blog is a terrific way to get your customers and competitors to talk about you (and each other). This is assuming, of course, that your content is compelling enough to motivate a discussion. And, if your blog visitors like it enough, they will subscribe. This gives you a point of contact to build a strong relationship with them and keep your business or your name in in their minds.
Sounds good? Problem is… a blog isn’t for everyone!
There’s a catch: none of the great results listed above will happen unless you have the following three ingredients:
- Someone on your staff devoted to writing 2-3 articles per week
- Both the Time & the Motivation
- The ability to write content that is thought-provoking or useful
I want to also point out that not everyone “can stick to it” – be committed to the blog. Not everyone has the time. And, not everyone can write well.
Is Blog the Right Tool (for you to get the job done)?
The last thing we’d want to do is build a blog that you never use. You could choose from any the following marketing channels: ads in magazines, billboards, business cards, commercials, websites, direct mail, YouTube videos, radio spots, speaking engagements, tradeshows, and leaving flyers on people’s windshields. Choosing which of these is right for you depends on three factors:
- Your budget. A blog is dirt cheap compared to radio, TV, and direct mail. But it has a cost – the amount of hours that you spend writing and moderating, and that’s time you could be earning income or doing other business chores.
- Your target audience. Not everyone reads a blog. Ask yourself the question, “Does your target audience?” If the are 65 plus they’re probably not. Direct mail may be a better route for reaching them.
- Your skill set and personality. If you or members of your company are always chatting up customers, then going to an event might be a more effective marketing strategy. But if there is someone in your organization who loves to write … go for it. Remember, it’s always best to play to your strengths.
If you’ve asked yourself all these questions, and still think a blog is right for you and your organization, then review this four-point checklist.
- Who’s the Blog for? Is your blog going to be directed for your clients, other industry professionals, your board of directors? It’s best if you narrow your focus and don’t try to be all things to all people.
- What does your audience really care about? This is a little trickier, but you have to remember that the blog should be about what your audience finds interesting and useful, not what you do. One good way to start is to ask them—send a list of suggested topics to your audience and find out what they like. In our case, the reason we started writing these articles is that they come up all the time when we talk to clients, so we thought it would be nice if we had some more in-depth information to give out.
- Who will write it? (your or someone in your organization) Does the author (or authors) realistically have the time, motivation, and ability to generate content for a blog, at least a couple times a month? Here’s a test if you’re not sure. Challenge yourself to write blog entry once a week for 6 weeks. If you can’t do that, your blog is probably not going to work for you. (By the way, Ben and I have failed this test many times. That’s why we write articles instead—there’s less pressure to post content regularly).
- Who is going to do the work? If you post engaging, compelling or useful content on a regular basis (2-3 times per week), you will probably get traction – meaning comments and RSS subscriptions. You will need to assign someone (or be that someone) to make sure comments are appropriate and respond.
If you’ve reviewed this checklist and answered the questions, you are now ready to start thinking about building the blog.
- Will it be integrated into your website, or use a blogging service like WordPress?
- How will you ensure that your blog matches your brand identity?
- How will you let your current audience know about your blog?
Don’t feel like you have to have a blog because a competitor does. Your marketing strategy should be tailored to your needs, not someone else’s. However, if you’ve decided that you or a team member have the time, budget, and ability to be successful blogging, then go for it! Give us a call or contact us.