I was contacted by a reporter with Inc.com the other day who was doing an article for their website about things a company needs to consider before starting to blog. After giving it some thought I came up with a top ten list of things an organization should think about. I’ll mention a few of them in this post, then list the remainder in two subsequent posts later this week.
First, you need to understand why you would want to use a blog. Don’t do it because it’s the latest internet trend (notice I didn’t say fad) or just because everyone else is doing it. Have some sense of your specific purpose. For example, are you using the blog as a marketing channel, or will it be more for company news and updates?
To aid in the understanding, you need to know the ways a blog can serve your organization. Check out my Seven Reasons to Blog series to learn more.
Once you’ve determined your blog’s purpose, a second thing to consider is its core message. What are you going to write about? What topics will be covered? What “tone” will you give the blog? Are you wanting it to be warm and humorous, or more straightforward and informational?
You approach will largely be determined by the audience you’re attempting to target. Obviously, when writing any blog your primary consideration needs to be your readers, at least the readers you hope to attract. They will have the most bearing on the nature of the content and the way it’s presented.
Third, determine who is going to write it. If there is a pain point in blogging, it’s this. Blogs, especially business blogs, take time and forethought. They need someone who understands how to write “blog-style.” Invariably, the blogger will inject their own personality, so it’s incumbent upon you to find a writer who understands what makes your company tick and can accurately reflect its persona.
Obviously, the best person for the job would be someone inside the company. However, that’s not always easy to find. So, a fourth thing to consider is if you have in-house talent you can afford to assign this task. It may only take a few hours of their time each week, but that’s time spent not fulfilling other responsibilities.
If you don’t have someone inside the organization who can handle this, then consider outsourcing the job hiring a freelance copywriter/blogger. One of the services offered by my company, Radiant Marketing Group, is matching highly-qualified bloggers with companies who need them.
You might even consider doing what Stonyfield Farms did and hire someone full-time to write your blog(s). Stonyfield is up to four blogs written by two people, one of which, Christine Halvorson, is a full-time employee. (BTW, Stonyfield is an excellent example of how a company can use a blog for marketing purposes.)
I have six other items in my top ten list I’ll post later in the week. I believe you’ll find each of these helpful in making the determination of whether your company is ready to take the leap into the blosophere.