Social media communities such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn foster discussions between individuals with similar interests who want to share opinions, meet new acquaintances and even learn something new. Brands also use these channels to connect with clients and prospective customers. Companies that want to reach their audience via social media, however, are often stymied by the amount of content that they can post: the current 140-character limit on Twitter is an example. Some messages need to be conveyed by more than just a few words, a link and a hashtag. Blogs fill this marketing niche and offer marketers an opportunity to deliver content in a direct and yet more detailed manner.
Coined in the 1990s, the word “blog” originated as a shortened version of the term “weblog.” Since then, other digital forums have come and gone and yet blogs have continued to proliferate the internet landscape. Blogs manage to hold the interest of an often fickle and time-challenged society where consumer attention spans are limited. Most important, blogs present marketers with valuable opportunities to gain face time with their desired audience and to convey the information they want their readers to consume: on their terms.
If you are new to blogging, begin by subscribing to different blogs that interest you personally and professionally. Although many companies post their blogs to their official websites, some individuals and brands prefer to blog on third-party sites, many of which are free: WordPress and Tumblr are two popular choices. Tumblr is particularly versatile and includes audio and video features to improve the quality and depth of the content you post.
Ready to launch your blog? Here are some best practices to contemplate:
- Be Relevant:
Topics should be concise and on-point: focus on a single topic in each post. Case studies, on a smaller scale, are often very suitable for blogs. Demonstrate a problem and illustrate how you (or your organization or event) solved it.
- Convey Content – Not Commercials:
Your blog should consistently accomplish at least one of two things: 1) deliver a solution to a problem or set the reader on the path to a solution and 2) evoke opinions or emotions from the reader. Visitors to your blog are not seeking sales pitches or advertisements. Determine which types of information your readers value and deliver helpful resources. Your social media channels – including Twitter polls – offer opportunities to collect this meaningful feedback.
More best practices will follow in our next post!