In the ever evolving world of online communications, it seems as if everyone has something to say. The challenge for professional services firms is to look, listen, learn and add to relevant conversations so that your voice is heard by relevant people.
It looks as though firms need to have more than just a website to get the message out about issues that could affect their clients’ lives and businesses.
Blogging is a powerful way to do this.
As well as a good way boost your Google rankings. Blogging is a great way to showcase thought leadership and utilise the creativity and knowledge of the experts that you work with. The great thing about blogging is that, if you have interesting and unique content, and pitch your blog to key influencers, there is a great chance that you can create a community around your blog topic and see some real results in both online exposure, and potential business development opportunities.
It goes without saying that before thinking about developing a blog you should have a strategy, the good saying “People don’t plan to fail, but people fail to plan” springs to mind. So here are a few things for you to think about if you want to get involved in successful blogging.
After attending a seminar held by the Social Media Academy on the topic of blogging I have found that there are few key things that firms/individuals should consider to really give your blog that extra oomph and making sure that your blog is not just a flash in the pan.
As with any social media platform, it’s never a good idea to get involved simply just to jump on the bandwagon; all the platforms aren’t for everyone, and that includes blogs! Before you think about getting involved define your goals and what you want to achieve from creating a blog. Here are a few things to think about:
- How do you want to be perceived?
- What do you want to promote, individuals or your business?
- What information do you want to communicate – blogging for fun, sharing industry led ideas…
Both your short and long term goals for blogging are pretty much dependant on the reason you start your blog in the first place. Think about the kind of things you would like to achieve in 6 months/ 1 year/ 3 years. Then you can design, create content and market blog in line with your goals
The look and feel of your blog should reflect what your audience will expect. For example if you are gearing your blog towards professionals, the design of your blog and content would be quite different than a blog targeted to Justin Beiber loving teenagers. Try to meet and exceed the expectations of your potential following to gain a bit of loyalty from your readers.
Treat you blog as your brand, not in a Stuart Baggs ‘The brand’ apprentice way, but your blog is a reflection of your image to your audience. The content and design of your blog should consistently communicate your image and message. A consistent blog will help to create a secure place for your readers to visit again and again; it’s also a great way to build trust between you blog and its readers.
If you don’t regularly update your blog, it will be perceived just as a static web page. This doesn’t mean you should add a blog post which has no use to its readers. The best way to get readers coming back to your blog is to always have something new and meaningful to say REGULARLY!
One of the greatest benefits of blogging is its social impact. So make sure that your blog welcomes two-way conversation. Ask your readers to comment on your posts, or to suggest topics for future posts. Remember to reply back to readers’ comments too. Doing this regularly shows that you value your readers and it will help to keep the conversation going. Involve your readers in the content of your blog to help make your posts current and in line with what your readers actually want to know about.
“If you build it, they will come” This doesn’t apply to blogs! To get your blog seen by the right people and online communities, you should try and look for like-minded bloggers and comment on their blogs. Get involved with social networking sites like Twitter and Linkedin too. As well as having a blog that has great content, you should work hard outside of your blog to promote it and build a community around it.
If anyone tells you they are an expert blogger, they’re lying!! This medium is changing all the time and there are always new techniques and applications to get to grips with, nobody can know everything about blogging.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other bloggers in your industry to get hints and tips on areas where you need a bit of advice.
So to wrap things up, if you bear these points in mind when planning or starting your blog it will put you in good stead to making if successful. Your blog is an extension of you and your brand and if you can build up a community of loyal readers, they’ll keep coming back to hear what you have to say. As with most social media platforms, add a bit of personality into your blog, think about if your brand would be more effective with a corporate tone, a youthful tone, or a Victor Meldrew ‘I don’t belieeeve it’ tone then stay consistent with it throughout your blog.
People don’t read blogs to get the news; they can read the News of the wor…. Err I mean the Times, Metro or Evening Standard for that. People read blogs to get views and opinions, don’t blog like a reporter, blog like you are having a conversation with each of your readers.
Let me know if you have any other points that should be considered when starting a blog as I’m sure there are plenty more than the ones I’ve mentioned, particularly for professional services firms, please do get in touch with your comments.