So yesterday morning I read in the San Jose Mercury News about a pigeon blog – a flock of pigeons, outfitted with designer cell phone backpacks, will collect pollution data and continually relay it to the pigeon blog site.
Wow. I think. (Although it is a cool art-in-a-social-activism-context thing.)
The point is that blogs are everywhere online and continue to multiply exponentially (some estimates put them at over 50 million by year’s end). They’re in every Internet nook and cranny representing every facet of personal and business life (and the art-in-a-social-activism context), written by CEOs, VPs and managers, marketers, working stiffs, scientists, educators, poets, priests, politicians, crazy people, anonymous sometimes crazy people, angst-ridden teenagers (and adults) – the list is endless.
But can blogs really help market your organization while providing some kind of valuable content to your readership? Yes, of course they can, and they do, and we’ll revisit our recommended blog guidelines from a previous post entitled Blogging for Apples.
However, let’s first let’s look at some of John Sumser’s recent comments on blogging (most of which we agree with). Last week John (of Interbiznet fame) wrote about blogs and blogging, particularly recruiting blogs and the mechanics and diversity therein.
John really hit on some points I felt are applicable to the broader HR and employee benefits supplier blogging space:
John’s blog comments are a great complement to our own recommendations. Here are our updated guidelines for a balanced business blog that are sure to increase your visibility and generate leads:
- Most folks in your target market probably don’t read the blogs very much (at least not yet), but those that do find them quite informative and valuable and can help evangelize your blog.
- Understanding the basic realities of RSS and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will help to the word out there about your blog and your organization.
- Always have a strong editorial presence at work. Whether you agree with the editor is less important than the fact that an editorial point of view is expressed.
- Blogs shouldn’t be lumped into one group and are generally a "first person" tool with ideas expressed in the voice of a single writer.
- Blogs are as similar as magazines. They vary based on point of view, motive for publishing, target audience, actual audience, depth of community involvement and content.
- Frequency of posting also is important and blogs are simply better when the material is fresh and regular.
Good luck! We’ll update our recommended short list of HR and HR-related blogs soon and post it (we’re now tracking all the major HR blogs for our HRmarketer members).
- Provide pertinent, helpful, and sometimes personable information to your target audience and know who they are and what they want (ours is the HR and employee benefit suppliers and our focus is marketing, PR and the HR marketplace.
- Don’t be obviously self-serving in every single post (but it’s okay to be occasionally self-serving – it’s a lead-generation tool for goodness sake and all about marketing PR).
- Give nods to other bloggers, industry experts, thought leaders, and other important blog and news postings that you consider pertinent to your readers.
- Have members of your management team write your posts, preferably the CEO or president (you may or may not choose to have a single voice in this regard, but it’s something that John recommends).
- You might even consider having different members of your team write different blogs for different audiences (check out Jobster Blog and The Lefkow Zone).
- And finally, give your opinions, take some risks, be brave, be honest, be a thought leader, and sound like you know what the heck you’re talking about.