Business of Metalforming


 

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More on Social Media: Blog Basics--Part 2

By: Michael Bleau

Monday, November 01, 2010
 
Last month we discussed how to start a blog. Now let’s dive deeper. Once you’re up and running you’ll need to focus on the several important and challenging tasks…who will write content, what they’ll write about and who will monitor and respond to comments.

Blog Assignment

Writing a blog doesn’t require Shakespearian skills, but concise, well-written blog sites tend to grow more quickly and command larger audiences. Keep in mind that this is a business blog, so how your company is perceived is paramount. Coordination with a marketing resource will ensure consistency within the boundaries of your corporate identity standards.

If you plan on having a single writer, then you can take the 20-min./day approach to keep content alive and fresh. Here the writer prepares a single post each day, which should take no longer than 20 min. to generate. Other options include assigning multiple writers to tackle a series of topics with scheduled posts by each throughout the week. This spreads the responsibility out and reduces the workload on any one individual. You also have the option to outsource the heavy lifting of writing and posting to a PR firm that can poll company insiders for topics. If you opt for outside assistance, it’s best to have a knowledgeable insider act as your point-person to review and approve content prior to posting by the outside firm.

Finding Your Voice

Decide the personality you want to convey with your blog; this should reflect the personality of your company, its culture and how you want the business entity perceived. You also need to consider the audience that you’re addressing. Consider the tone the blog takes—serious, technical or conversational. Decide on a narrative form: first person, second or third person view. Do you include industry jargon? Once decided, craft a short reference sheet that outlines the “rules” of the blog for your contributing writers, as well as a brief profile of the audience. This will ensure relevancy and consistency in your posts.

Themes and Topics…Content is King

Your blog can cover various topics that affect or interest your audience; you can claim a theme and own it. Write about what you know, what you do or are passionate about.

For example, if your company is known for a specialty or niche such as press monitoring, then you could create a persona around this topic and share daily tips on improving production environments through better press monitoring. Whenever possible, include visuals. Photos, charts and video always add value when telling a story.

Frequency

Two posts per week is a good minimum for starters, but multiple, daily posts is a better way to build an audience, as they’ll have more variety to choose from each day. But don’t force it—you’re better off posting good content then simply posting to create some noise.

Also, it’s important to note that posts need not be long; in fact, shorter, succinct posts are easy for readers to consume. Assume that your readers are busy and have other informational resources. Keeping posts condensed is just as easy on your writers as it is for your readers. If a topic demands more detailed coverage, then break it into segments or continue to post smaller stories while building towards a larger post.

Promote Your Blog

Once you start, build up a few weeks worth of posts, then promote your blog. A few quick, easy ways to do so include:

• Add a link to your company’s website.

• Issue a press release announcing the blog—target traditional media outlets and bloggers who write about blogging.

• Send an e-mail communication using your customer mailing list.

• Include a written reference (not the link) in your print materials, including advertisements.

• Inform callers about your blog using your on-hold messaging recording.

• Have employees include a link in their e-mail signature line.

Also, use your blog to promote your company through downloads of white papers, webinar schedules, event participation schedules, product information and offerings, newsletters, etc. Offer RSS feeds and e-mail subscribe options. And, within or at the end of your posts, offer links to trade organizations, articles or other resources that offer more information about the topic of each post.

Feedback and Monitoring Third-Party Blogs

Keep tabs on what’s going on with your brand. Monitor the blogosphere to contribute to blogs that affect your business or industry and to comment or respond to mentions of your company on other blogs. Monitoring third-party blogs allows you to quickly respond to  posts about your company.

When it comes to your site, allowing readers to comment on your posts keeps the conversation fluid and offers readers the opportunity to provide feedback.

Summing it All Up

As manufacturers serving the metalforming community, you have the unique opportunity to leap ahead of the curve. A recent Fortune magazine study found that of the Fortune Global 100, only one-third have corporate blogs. Thus, if the big, mass consumer brands are slow to adopt, then it’s a safe bet that our industry has a great deal of unclaimed territory. So when it comes to blogging and other social-media outlets, you have a tremendous opportunity to get out front and become a modern media pioneer. MF

 


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