Tuesday, November 28, 2006

10 Steps to Starting a Company Blog, new article up at Marketing Profs

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!

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J.D. said...

It says that I can't read your article, Mack, because I am not an annual premium member of Marketing Profs. Is this something new? When did this happen?

I enjoyed reading Marketing Profs, but not for $50 a year. I hate to say it, but when a blog starts charging a monthly fee, it sort of stops being a blog and starts being a magazine.

Any chance of getting the full article here? Because I was looking forward to reading it.

Mack Collier said...

Marketing Profs isn't a blog, it's a marketing website. Daily Fix is its blog, and that is of course still free.

Every week MP puts out several new articles, and one of those articles are available only to premium customers, and this week my article was the one that was picked as the premium article.

Ann can comment better, but Marketing Profs has a ton of stuff available, thousands of marketing articles, podcasts, virtual seminars, everything. If you are in the industry, it's money very well spent.

Can't repost the entire article here, because that wouldn't be fair to Marketing Profs, so that's why I tried to summarize the main points here for those that aren't subscribers. I'll edit the post to make it a bit clearer that it's a premium article.

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Jeez, you make me sound all smart and stuff. Now people are going to have expectations... no more slinking away with dumb luck.

Thank you for the generous compliments.

Ann Handley said...

Great job with your summary, Mack!

To answer you question, JD...Mack's correct: MarketingProfs is an online resource for marketers offering articles, virtual seminars, templates, how-to guides, and the like. The Daily Fix is the MarketingProfs blog. There's a lot of free content on the site -- including most of the articles and (of course) the blog itself. But each week we publish one of seven articles as a Premium article - this week, we shone the light on Mack's.

So yes, Premium members only can read Mack's article...but it's a relatively small price to pay for the rich resource of material. And again, most of it IS still free....!

Roger von Oech said...

Your points #2 and #3 almost make me want to pony up the money so that I can read the other seven tips on the premium site.

I have to keep reminding myself about #2 (even though I see it violated in other blogs as well).

Order Stemulite said...

In my opinion, setting up a blogging schedule should be up at the very top of the list. The worst thing that can happen for a company is to roll out its blog without having a firm schedule in place. Trying to throw together posts under pressure and getting others to chime in is very difficult considering others have their own responsibilities.