Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stengthen your core audience and Promote your blog

This post is the third in the series of entries about creating a blog. We looked at basic blog setup yesterday - now that you have a place to write with a cool name and all - the question is what do you do with it? What do you write? If you are a corporation, who writes? Who is the intended audience? What is the goal you want to achieve with the blog? Lots of questions!

Naturally, the most important thing to do is to come up with some clear goals for what you want to achieve with your blog - you could be looking to simply express yourself, in which case you may want to write about whatever interests you. Corporate bloggers on the other hand, have a different kind of maze to navigate - the motivations behind corporate blogging would normally point to who would be the natural choice to blog...Let's look at a few possible motivators -
  • Public Relations: Southwest Airlines has a blog for a similar purpose that serves as a bridge between Southwest's customers and the airline. The content is created by the airline's PR team and executives. It serves as a way for Southwest to gauge customers' mood over the airline and relate to them on a more personal level than news releases can ever allow. The airlines gets to write about their initiatives and get direct customer feedback in the form of comments.
  • Community-building: This is a little like PR in that this kind of blogging is supposed to humanize a corporation to the customers, but the end goal is to build a network of customers - a community that generates it's own content - instead of using the customers simply as a source of feedback. This kind of a community would definitely need to be kick-started by a few original bloggers who plant the seeds that the community then picks up on and continues.
  • Broadcast Knowledge: For companies that thrive on information - by being sources of information and by providing services to other companies, blogs can be great tools when you can get the company's thought leaders to write entries related to their areas of expertise. These articles when indexed and used as information outlets by others, create free advertisement for the company and touts it's employees as experts in the field.
Frequently updated blogs with interesting, insightful and/or funny commentary is key to holding audience attention and keep them coming back from more. Keep entries short and the information in them distilled. Don't insult the reader's intelligence and try to avoid taking extreme positions - controversy creates temporary spikes while people stop to watch the car wreck, but the traffic spikes do not translate into long-term traffic.

The beauty of blogging with comments enabled is the instant feedback-loop that will steer your future vision. Moderation of comments on the other hand, is very important since an overly negative set of comments can turn into a public relations nightmare real quick and can be a community-killer.

Most importantly, stay honest and learn to backup assertions - someone is bound to call you on erroneous assumptions!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the best example of getting blogs started I have seen to date. Keep it up!