Blogging doesn’t have to be a “what do I want to write today?” exercise. It can be as formal or as informal as you’d like it to be, but should you have specific goals for how blogging influences the rest of your business communications and online relationship building, it might help to have a plan. One such way to think of your blogging is by considering each post a building block to something larger, instead of just loose pages of thought.
The moment my blog took off was the moment I settled on a series of topics that people knew would consistently be the focus of my work. Long before I accepted that I was any kind of marketer, I settled into the idea that I wanted to talk about how social media tools and online communities changed things. At times, I’d talk about podcasting. Other times, I’d talk about features of a social network and how they might help you interact. But I had a foundation.
It’s hard finding that blogging voice and to settle on a topic. One focusing element I have that I try to practice all the time is: “will this help other people?” Though my post about how not to market on Twitter is a brief rant, it’s also something PR professionals and marketers can absorb, consider, and build their plans around. The lessons that came out of that post were: PR is no longer divided by days, but by hours. Marketers learned that Twitter users probably won’t respond well to any formalized campaign if it feels robotic. See? Helpful.
Start by thinking of the foundation of what you want your blog to do? Is it a blog to talk about yourself? Might not really grow very big. Is it a blog to report news? Then speed and accuracy are of the essence. Is your blog built to assist in marketing the thinking around your product or service? What if you turn that to make it around your customer’s potential needs?
In 27 Blogging Secrets to Power Your Community, I wrote about starting with a catchy title. I wrote about using a photo per post. I laid out lots of what you might consider your colorful blocks. But in another way, at the content level, posts can be blocks that build on each other.
For instance, if you’re writing about nonprofit tech tools, perhaps you start with a series of 101 posts that build upon each other. Maybe from there, you drill down to specific tools and implications for specific types of nonprofit work. Make each post able to standalone, but then have the opportunity to hook them up together into a larger and more useful work.
The thing is, we all want to participate. We want to have our say, spin things our way, give our opinions, to make things look the way we want them to look. Why not make your blog posts just as user-friendly? Make your posts the starting points of other people’s posts. Make your posts a gathering place for others’ ideas, and then share those ideas in their own way.
When you go from talking/instructing to sharing and encouraging interactions, you get the full breadth of what social platforms like blogging encourage. If you can perform that one magic trick, you win. (Or you have a better shot at winning.)
Does this make sense? Can you do something with this? If you go back and look at your last 20 or 30 blog posts, is there any kind of building-block structure, or are you shooting in all directions?
Photo credit, woodleywonderworks
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