Business blog guru Debbie Weil is writing a book on CEO and corporate blogs. In doing research for the book, which should be published sometime next year, she did a survey that revealed certain “fear factors” when it comes to blogging.
65% of her respondents cite “the time it would take to write” as their most important concern about starting and maintaining a corporate blog. 51% worry what to write about. 27% wonder who in their company should write the blog.
Those concerns are not relegated to corporate blogging. They apply across the board. Let’s address each of these one at a time by first stating the facts, then suggesting a plan of action to help allay those fears.
The Time Factor
Needless to say, it does take time to write a blog, especially one that’s going to be updated frequently. There is research to be done. Reading other blogs is almost a necessity, and there are many of them. Then, you’ve got to sit down at your keyboard and compose an entry. Sometimes that can take more time than you have to devote to it.
So, how do you negotiate the time factor? Decide on a posting schedule and quota. Determine whether you’re going to post daily, every other day, once per week, whatever, then set aside some time in your schedule to write.
One of the things I’ve found helpful is carving out a block of time and writing all my posts for the coming week within that block. Saturday mornings work pretty well for me.
Most blog software platforms enable you to future date your posts. That way, you don’t find yourself dealing with the “tyranny of the urgent,” knowing you need to write, but finding yourself in a time crunch.
The Content Factor
What do you write about? Though an occasional ephiphany will come, waiting for inspiration to strike is no fun. I recommend developing what those in the magazine industry call an editorial calendar. (Though I think the term “content calendar” is more apropos as it applies to blogging.)
Think of every conceivable topic you could possibly cover. I have one client, a fitness equipment manufacturer, who recently started a blog with the purpose of using it as a marketing tool to promote his products. The blog is targeted to reach current and prospective fitness center owners who might have an interest in their equipment as well as fitness-oriented consumers.
We sat down and came up with a list of about 15-20 topics (categories) covering everything from the company’s products, to health and fitness tips, to advice for those running a fitness business and on and on. Next, we scheduled when those topics were to be talked about. This gave the blogger a track to run on so that he wouldn’t be sitting at his computer in a fog as to what to write about.
I should also mention that the content of your blog will become more readily apparent once you answer two questions: What is the goal of your blog, and who is your target audience? I’ll go into more detail about this in a latter post, but suffice it to say your blog needs a mission, a reason to exist. It’s best if, on the front end, you make those determinations.
The Blogger Factor
Who should write the darn thing? If you’re a small business owner, the answer to that question may be obivous…you! And “you” may be the best person for the job. After all, who has more passion for the business or a greater depth of knowledge than you? Who can speak more articulately?
You might say, “But I’m not a writer.” No matter. Just say what’s on your mind and heart. Keep in mind, blogging is less about the proper use of the King’s english and more about what I call “shoot from the hip, straight from the heart” plain-talking.
One of the benefits of blogging is that it helps readers get to know you at a personal level. People like to do business with people they know, and blogging is certainly one way potential customers can get to know you. I can almost guarantee you that, over time, you’ll become a better writer.
Maybe you’ll be fortunate enough to have a business associate who can handle this task, your role being to feed him/her information to write about. I know one business owner who has a very creative, english major daughter who loves to write. She has been charged with maintaining and updating their small business website and found it to be a good fit.
I’m not attempting to soft-sell the fact that there are not some pain points in blogging. It does take time, you do have to figure out what you’re going to write about, and you do have to find someone to do the actual composition. What I am saying is there are ways to manage these difficulties so that they become less of a road block and more of a speed bump.
Ultimately, you’re going to have to decide if the benefits to maintaining a company blog are worth the effort. I contend that they are, else I wouldn’t be devoting my professional career to promoting this new form of marketing communications.
80% of the over 700 respondents to Debbie’s survey say blogs are NOT just a fad; 55% say blogs will become a “must-have” corporate marketing tool. Don’t let the blogging fear factors of time, conent, and blogger keep you from deploying what could prove to be a valuable tool.