Increasing blogging effectiveness: Step 5

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2009/08/13 · 14 comments 5,002 views

in checklists

Previously in this series we published:
1) Lessons 1 – 4: Starting your blogging off on the right foot (2009-06-03)
2) Lessons 5 – 7: Setting the stage – ready – go (2009-06-03)
3) Lessons 8 – 11: Whatever domain, home you choose – beware (2009-07-08)
4) Lessons 12 – 13: Getting the basic SEO issues right (2009-07-08)

Today we release the last two installments of these tips and lessons. The sixth, and last, post can be read here:
6) Lessons 18 – 20: Improving blogging effectiveness

In this fifth post, the focus is on commitment, authenticity and managing cultural differences carefully.

Lesson 14: Commit to regularly posting during mid-week
Having several writers makes it easier, but a politician is better off writing their own posts to assure an authentic voice (see Lesson 16 below).

Case study 2: Blogging politicians – how do they measure up?

The saying “out of sight, out of mind,” applies here. Hence, irregular posting makes it more difficult for your readers to remember that a blog provides good information. In the fast-changing blogosphere, an irregular posting schedule like Aviva’s does not seem a good strategy.

Finally, more people are on the Internet during the week than on weekends, so posting regularly during the week (e.g., Tue – Th) is most effective for reaching business and potential subscribers.

Lesson 15: Depth and breadth vs. crowdsourcing
Outsourcing is en vogue – some say it helps bring down the head count, looks good on the books and saves money. To succeed with outsourcing blogging means that you must secure the services of  ‘experts’ and ‘volunteers’ that understand your business, as this example illustrates:

Case study: eBookers or how to skip the ropes

But will these experts be as motivated as your staff, providing value for money to your current and potential customers? Can one assure consistent quality as well as making the company more personable? Will you trust others to be your voice on the web and if you do, is this a viable strategy?

Surely outsourcing blogging content fails to give the company an authentic voice (see Lesson 16 below). As importantly, to assure depth and breadth means checking up and making sure that those posts not meeting these criteria are either improved or simply not published – a time-consuming and, therefore, costly option. In today’s competitive environment, learning from and relating to customers is an opportunity that cannot be missed.

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Lesson 16: Authentic voice makes a big difference
An effective blog represents corporate policy, strategy and viewpoints. Hence, people need to be authentic.

Therefore, while having text vetted by the legal crew as well as the PR folks makes it all a bit more sanitized, it also removes much of what may raise interest readers. This does not mean that legal issues do not matter but it needs to be personable to get and keep people interested.

Of course, unless your CEO has the passion, desire, time and dedication to commit to frequently blogging and curate the comments, this should be avoided at all costs. That being said, there are countless examples of brilliant CEO blogs from people who love to write and share their insights. A great example is Jonathan Schwartz’s – CEO of Sun, now Oracle – blog. But either do it right or don’t go there.

Lesson 17: Culture, language and medium – editors should apply
Whatever the language of a blog, many of its readers will have a different first language. In turn, one should consider this when writing for a global social media audience.

P.S. – Not every CEO will come across successfully on video => CEO webcasts on YouTube – will it turn them into megalomaniacs?.

Takeaways

    Authentic voice is key – outsourcing blog posting is not an option.
    Commitment matters – regular AND relevant posts and response to comments keeps your readers interested.
    Slang or humor are out – people whose first language is not the one used on a corporate blog will otherwise be lost.
    Act locally, think globally – while you are on vacation many of your faraway readers are working, so assure posting during holidays. It is worth the effort.

I will keep it brief, love to dialogue more in the comments. What is your take? Please share.

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