Everyone seems to be riding the blog wave; from the teen looking for more than a MySpace page to online icons like Slashdot and BoingBoing. Even corporations are getting in the act. And for good reason. A company can get a lot out of adding a blog to their website. It can raise awareness about the business and give another avenue to connect with a customer base. It is also a great place for making announcements, discussing industry news, and offering insight on trends.
The first step in starting a company blog is the blog proposal. This needs to lay out a plan and achievable goals. The thing is that blogging can be a tricky thing to pin down in these terms. Like advertising, you may be able to get the number of how many people saw it, but you may not be able to access if this brought in customers that you would not have otherwise had. This makes having stated objectives even more essential; it is the groundwork for success in this kind of campaign.
One goal that I’ve found to be attainable is a search engine related one. Blogging about a specific topic will bring in visitors on that term, so blogging can increase traffic to your site and raise targeted keywords in the search engines. This is measurable and easily accomplished with frequent posting. There are also goals that are a little less tangible, yet equally valuable, such as participating in the online discussion about your industry, thus positioning yourself as a leader in the field. Also, for products where customers are not as likely to be brand devoted, using a blog to create a community can help to garner a sense of loyalty.
The bottom line is that you need to have a plan before you start. The blogs I’ve worked on where the company is blogging because they feel they should or their competitors are don’t usually last or gain momentum. If there are no goals there is no way to measure progress or validate efforts, thus eroding commitment to the project in the long term. However, when reasonable objectives are laid out and there is a clear sense of what will be achieved through blogging, this helps set the course and steers the blog in a positive direction. So who are you talking to, what are you telling them, and why? If you can answer that, you’re ready to blog.