A Blog? I Can't Do That! Five Steps to Making a Case
May 18, 2011
After a series of meetings last week where we encountered a number of clients and end-users who insisted that there was no way that they could support a blog “We don't write that much” “We don't have that much to say.” So, we often counter with “How much press do you put out? How much news? How many press events? What about product releases?” The answer oftentimes is a lot. Before a client wants to immediately divide their content into their own categories why not collect it in a single place? Just because a blog exists doesn't mean you need to treat it as such. It doesn't necessarily need authors, tag clouds, categories or anything else. In the end, a blog is a stream of timely content. Simple. True to its name. A web-log. The advantage of course is that it exists in an easy to consume format organized by date.
Don't allow how you have categorized your content to dictate where it needs to live on your site. For example, let's say your company wins a major award from an industry magazine. It's a big deal. People are talking. You've got buzz. So, you write up a quick news article that thanks your staff, customers and partners for their support. You post your message to the site under “Press.” Guess who reads the “Press” page? Press people? Seriously, who likes press releases? Are your prospects going to seek out a press page? Maybe. Does “News” sound better? I think so.
A “Press Releases” page is a log of press releases organized by date. A “Recent News” page is a log of news organized by date. “Recent Events” is log of recent events organized by date. All sound familiar, right?
Think about your regular sources of content, those sources that produce content on a consistent basis. A typical business-to-business organization has multiple press releases, corporate news, an event or two, a new product launch, new case study, new key hire, web page, a whitepaper, several articles written and huge Christmas party bash with embarassing photos over the course of a year all of which are delivered in different formats from different sources within an organization.
Now, review the list above and notice that I haven't written “blog post” anywhere. Why? Because each of those pieces of news, event notifications, etc. can make up a post – the content could be repurposed and link out to the original source or it could be an original piece of content. The point of the single source of data is to show that your company is active, you're doing things, people are talking about you (internal and external) and as a visitor to your site I think to myself “I want to be involved in that activity.”
Making the Case
- Multiple Sources. Lots of different types of content can “live” in a blog.
- It's a what? Just because it's a blog – doesn't mean you need to call it that. Most of the best blog-based sites on the web – don't refer to themselves as blog.
- Be A Hub: Incorporating many different types of content into a single location doesn't mean you can't link out to other pages and original sources.
- Include blog-like features. Content categorization, comments, author profiles and more are all useful.
- Layout Is Important. Blog-like formatting is critical because content is ordered in an easy-to-follow format. I know as I scroll down the content is getting older. However, I can also quickly understand and make a judgement on activity level.