This is part of my unofficial “Technology can be your friend” series of posts that helps get your feet wet with all of these buzzwords you’ve heard about – in this case, blogs.
Blog is a shorten form of the phrase “Web Log” – think about a personal journal or diary that you publish for the world to see. For organizations, the goal is to discuss topics that are relevant to what you do.
The Value of a Blog
Similar to my post on Twitter, the idea that people might be interested in what you have to say might seem narcissistic. But there are a lot of reasons to have a blog.
Like Mr. Rogers said, it’s good to share
I’d be willing to bet that you’ve gotten some good advice from people that has helped you improve the effectiveness of your organization. Maybe it was about:
- Improving your accounting process
- Selecting effective vendors
- Hiring and training
- Being great at reaching your target audience and connecting to patrons (shameless plug for Community Cultivator)
Also, you’re probably better at running your organization now than you were a year ago, based simply on experience. Now imagine that all of those lessons were written down somewhere, in a blog for instance. Sharing this knowledge helps other organizations better serve their patrons, can help connect you to people that are interested in similar topics and helps Cultivate Communities.
If your organization is a business, you might be concerned that revealing this information will give away your competitive advantage. I challenge you to find a blog written by someone else in your industry and I am willing to bet that they are generally well respected, more successful than average, and have more passionate patrons. Having the “sharing” mindset comes with its own rewards, but there are more practical reasons to blog ….
Add a face to your Organization
Let’s say you are a “foodie” looking for a great restaurant. Tons of restaurants have a website that have an address, phone number, pictures and maybe a menu, but if you found one with chef-written blog posts about the care that goes into selecting produce, partnerships with local farmers, and special recipes… that makes an impression.
What about a band website? A band bio is great. Posting music is great. Blog posts from the lead guitarist talking about her influences, new bands she is listening to, concerts she’s attended, and the new directions she is taking her music personalizes it.
Blogs put a face on your organizations and put a personal touch that is attractive to patrons. In my previous interview with Janice Provost of Parigi, she mentioned a patron that chose to visit Parigi because Janice’s blog was so passionate about food. Organizations that blog distinguish themselves from the crowd.
A blog helps to build a reputation for you and your organization – in a similar way that news articles and interviews can. It helps to illustrate that you know what you are talking about and building this reputation can, in fact, lead to more promotions. If a reporter is looking for a source for a story and you have a well-written blog about the topic, that helps put your name at the top of the list.
It’s a fact, search engines love blogs. A focused topic with content that is being updated on a regular basis can quickly shoot to the top of search results when people are looking for very specific information relevant to your organization. In reaching your target audience, every little bit helps.
The idea of writing on a regular basis about your organization and its industry can be daunting. Coming up with topics gets easier with time, but a great way to get ideas is to see what others in your industry are blogging about. Go to WordPress.com or Blogger.com and search for blogs in related areas. Not only will this give you some topic ideas, but you might find some great insights that help you with your organization.
Here are some examples for various organizations to get your juices flowing.
- Choosing menu items
- Using locally grown produce
- The latest tools you are working with
- The latest music you are listening to
- Your philosophy about what you deliver to your audience
- Issues that are affecting your school
- Recap of previous meetings
- Discussion of various committees and volunteers you need
- Professional Group
- Discussion of Industry news
- Recap of meetings
- Highlighting individuals or other organizations in your industry
You can go to a blog site like WordPress.com or Blogger.com and set up an account in about 3 minutes. With a few posts under your belt, you might want to start doing all kinds of things like creating a email campaign, adding RSS feeds, and implementing Google Analytics to track your traffic … but those are topics for a different post.
Also keep in mind that your first posts don’t have to be perfect. Just give it a shot and see where it goes.