In the words of Canadian physician Nelson Jackson: “I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.”
Communication methods are changing, and changing fast.
When I first decided working in the media was my calling, I was 14 years old. There was no social media and blogging was somewhat unheard of.
A few years later, this quirky social site called MySpace was all the rage closely followed by Facebook.
By the time I started university in 2010, most of my learning outcomes required a blog of some description.
Although communication graduates, like myself, have been given the tools and knowledge to create, write and master blogs, there are amateurs out there taking the blogging world to a whole new level.
I recently attended the IABC lunch, themed Amateur vs Pro: Who Wins in the Content Creation Stakes where corporate blogging was deconstructed.
For many years, journalists and communication practitioners have been considered the ‘pros’ in the storytelling arena.
However, through the emergence of the social web and high-velocity take-up of online publishing technologies there has been a rise in multimedia content creation through amateurs.
Led in conversation by Trevor Young (PR Warrior), Nicole Avery (Planning with Kids) and Ed Charles (Tomato Media), the discussions centred around how to demystify blog use to corporate clients and the benefits blogs hold for organisations in content dissemination.
The speakers explained that blogs provide an effective and efficient platform to drive traffic through search engines and help in optimising social media use.
So how do you utilise blogs to benefit your clients?
- Know the brand
Understand what the brand is and what the key messages of each post need to be. So many blogs currently are all about the writer and their experiences. Using an editorial style that addresses what the reader wants to know and how your content will that help them achieve their goals is key to keeping and attracting readership and clicks.
- Does it meet a need?
There must be strategy behind the content. Find gaps in information and use the blog as the company’s voice in addressing the various information needs.
- Know your target audience
During the lunch, Trevor Young noted: “Everyone has an audience and everyone has their story to tell”
Gone are the days of target audiences being defined as a ‘middle-aged, corporate, Caucasian, male’ or ‘teenage, student, western suburbs, female’. Find a niche audience right from the start and create content that caters for that group – the more narrowly defined the audience is, the easier it is to create strong content and interest.
- Be reliable
Readers want easy to access, reliable information fast that is succinct and to the point.
With 1.2 billion monthly active social media users around the globe, being smart, willing and able to diversify content and execution is valuable in targeting specific audiences.
For example, creating a 30 second vine-style video can generate more interest than an 800 word post in some instances. Readers don’t necessarily want big chunks of copy and bloggers don’t always have the time to spend hours a day on long posts.
- Have discipline
In this time-poor world, social media can eat up the majority of our precious time. Forward planning and sticking to a posting plan can be a vital ingredient to corporate blogging success.
Utilising social media aids like Hootsuite and planning key topics up to 12 months ahead of release helps regulate posts and maximise interest. Also creating a tweet and Facebook calendar with statuses and links ready to go can help maintain clicks whilst minimising time wasted during the day.
At the end of the day, whether amateur or professional, I believe we can all learn from each other’s success and failures as bloggers. So keep the conversation alive, accept all feedback with an open mind and happy blogging!