I have a new article up at Marketing Profs, "Ten Steps to Starting a Company Blog". It's a primer for companies and businesses that are considering a jump into the blogosphere, but aren't sure how to go about it.
It's a premium article(Marketing Profs membership required), but I wanted to summarize 3 main areas that I tried to stress in the piece:
1 - Understanding up-front that a blog is a LONG-TERM investment. You can't start one and drop it after a week if you don't think you are getting anything out of it. It's like a garden, it takes time to produce, and you have to work at it. I wanted to spell out what the requirements would be beforehand, so companies could decide for themselves if they are willing to make the commitment, because starting a blog and then letting it die due to inactivity is FAR worse than never blogging at all.
2 - Writing the blog from the READER'S point of view. Give the readers a reason to come check your blog out(Hint: They aren't waiting for a chance to hear you pimp your own products, really they aren't). Tailor your offerings so that you provide information that THEY want, and that will help THEM, and they'll be MUCH more likely to listen to the occasional post about your products. A perfect example of this is the blog MasiGuy. Tim Jackson is a brand manager for Masi bicycles, but note that his blog isn't about Masi products, it's about cycling. Sure he mentions Masi products from time to time, but the focus is on his love of cycling, and as a result, his blog appeals to fellow cycling enthusiasts, and as a result, he has exposed countless readers to Masi products, that otherwise would have likely never encountered the brand. Remember to keep your audience's wants and needs in mind when crafting your content.
3 - Have a comment policy in place before you start blogging. Comments are the lifeblood of a blog, and you need to take every step possible to make it as painless as possible for your community to give you feedback. I talk about the need to be careful in responding to negative or even antagonistic comments, as in almost every case, YOUR response will carry far more weight than the commenter. Also, make every effort to have comments show on your blog as quickly as possible. If you moderate comments, make sure you constantly have someone available to approve incoming comments. You cannot afford to wait 2-3 days over the weekend to let comments go through, that's one of the fastest ways to kill interest in your blog. Remember, it's all about the community!
Check it out if you have a chance. If your thinking about joining the blogosphere but aren't sure how to do it, this walks you through the process step-by-step.
Also, on a completely unrelated note, I wanted to thank Steve, SteveMax, Nancy, Dante, Jennifer, Uno Technology, Imaginacya, James, Ariel, and Sandi for adding The Viral Garden to their Technorati Favorites. If you'd like to add The Viral Garden to your Technorati Favorites, just click on the logo below, and I'll be happy to add your blog to my favorites, and also link to your blog here. Thanks!
The Viral Garden, Marketing, Marketing Profs, Blogging