January 13, 2014
Both personal and corporate blogs are becoming more and more popular. Many associations have added blogs to their websites to frequently post content. Is your association considering starting one?
Here are a few reasons why your group might want to set up a blog:
- Be a thought leader- Like white papers and industry publications you already produce, blog posts offer your members and potential members content about your industry, which is a great value. Blog posts are typically short and easy to digest, so your readers will get the information they’re interested in quickly and succinctly.
- Increase traffic to your website- Adding new content regularly will increase your ranking in search engines. If you want potential members to find your website and join your group, blogging can help!
- Increase your interaction with members – There is no strict rule for how often you should add new posts, but in my opinion, effective blogs deliver new content no less than once per week. If you’re able to produce content that frequently (it’s tough!), then your members know that they can always expect to find something new on your website. That’ll get them to visit your page more often, hopefully increasing their engagement with the organization as a whole.
- Put a face on your organization- By nature, blogs are more casual and have more personality than other corporate publications. Your organization’s brand voice can be heard through this medium and readers can easily connect to the author, especially when you include author pictures and bios.
- Engage volunteers – A great strategy for starting an association blog is to tap into your members as writers. As members of the industry, they have insight into trends and know what other members are interested in reading about. The writers will receive an opportunity to build their personal brand and will feel good about contributing to the organization. That’s a win-win.
The above are all great reasons for starting a blog, but there are plenty of things to consider before jumping in and adding that “Blog” page on your website’s main menu.
Things to consider:
- Do you have enough to write about? When you imagine the types of posts you’ll be publishing in the future, do a million ideas pop into your head, or are you already struggling with ways to develop new content? Some industries may be too technical or not have enough newsworthy stories to cover on a weekly blog. Maybe some of the content you’re thinking of would be better suited for your existing e-newsletter or printed publications. Maybe your group should stick to microblogging (Twitter) because it requires less editorial effort.
- Do you have enough writers? It’s important to determine if you have enough potential volunteers to write enough posts to keep the blog going. Be critical here – you might have plenty of volunteers at the beginning, but are they reliable? They could be very enthusiastic about the idea of being a contributor, but when the deadline comes, will you have a post in hand?
- How about editors? Maybe you’ll receive posts from your writers (hopefully on time!) but they might not be in the best shape, especially if writing isn’t part of your volunteers’ day jobs. You will need a reliable editor who can turn a rough draft into something that can be publishable on your blog. If you think that editor will be you, understand that it’s a serious time commitment!
If you answered “No” to most of those questions, reconsider whether your organization is ready to start a blog. Not every group can or should start one, so don’t invest your time and resources without being sure a blog is a good fit for you.
But if you are ready to start blogging, one last piece of advice, which actually comes from a non-association related blogger who is a favorite of mine. Molly Ford, blogger at Smart, Pretty & Awkward, recommends that anyone starting a blog implement a Three Month Rule. That is: start blogging for three months without telling anyone. You’ll see if you can keep up with blogging without losing momentum or running out of things to say. It’s great practice that will pay off once you’re ready to launch on your website.