I run into a lot of over planning in my job. This is a big problem in a majority of companies because “over planning” sets up roadblocks to their ability to get something done. Take a blog for instance. There are a bunch of companies who think that this is a necessary thing on their website (especially web 2.0 companies) but in planning for this they rarely think of the most basic idea behind it. Who will write it? and Do they have something to say?
The over planning part comes in when they mistakenly believe that their blog will be an instant hit and everybody will want to read it. So, starting from this wrong premise they start thinking about bandwidth and hosting rather than articles, tone and readership. I have seen this happen over and over. A company puts up a blog and puts up a couple of posts and then forgets all about it. It becomes another marketing dead-end rather than a great extension of their companies voice.
Here are a couple of basic tenets for company blogs. These apply to small and large scale blogs and companies.
OK, maybe this is a bit simplistic but it gets across the point. If you do not have content and it is not updated frequently, what is the point of the blog? Why not just have a company news section? Maybe it’s not as hip, but it just might be something that is more manageable in your organization, and it is better to have something that gets some “love” in your organization than to have something that is cool but nobody uses.
All kidding aside here is what I think would be a good starting point for companies who want to have a successful company blog.
- Find people in your organization who like to talk about your industry and your products and your business in general. This does not have to be the CEO or president. It doesn’t even have to be the VP of marketing. Get multiple people to make it easier to get lots of content. But if you don’t have someone with something to say, your blog will most likely be a ghost town of old posts and no comments.
- DO NOT start off worrying about the design. You can change the design all the time. You can add sections and search and all sort of neat goodies, but don’t even think about it right now. People might even read your content without, GASP!!! coming to your site!!! Yeah, its called RSS and you should be so lucky to have people subscribe.
- Cut all the red tape involved with them posting. Do not make walls of approvals, security and legalese in front of each post. Make sure that the people writing it have easy, secure access all the time. You can even set it up so that they can email their posts to the site.
- Link to and promote things you like in your industry and outside your industry. This could even be your competitors!! This seems like a crazy idea, but it works. Do not become another company press release blog that only talks about YOUR company and YOUR products. If people wanted to hear about that they would read the rest of your website. What people want to read are insights, knowledge, tone. They want to know that you are thoughtful and that you see parallels outside your industry that are interesting and worth noting. This is how you can create a blog about, propeller design, and attract a huge audience of not just your industry but the larger web community as a whole.
- And in case you didn’t read the first bulleted list. Post , post, post, post, post
Once you have all this in place and you have a growing readership then you can start worrying about things like bandwidth and traffic and you know what? You should be so lucky to have those problems. But DO NOT plan on these problems. DO NOT make your initial plans around problems that you do not have.