Snark

‘Blog’ Is a Four-Letter Word. Here’s the Antidote.

By February 26, 2016Snark
Are blogs the big con of marketing content?

In a burst of caffeine-infused ambition, you propose a blog strategy to the marketing powers that be. After all, search engines have to have something to optimize. Certainly, your company corridors and break rooms are overrun with experts – self-appointed and real – with opinions to share. How hard could it be to produce a weekly blog?

Pretty hard, as it turns out. Blogs are an easy sell because everyone understands what they are and how they work. (If you still have to explain it to someone, tell them a good blog post is like a letter to the editor: short, clear, to the point, and timely.)

But are they effective? Not always: Blogs were considered “very effective” by 32% of marketers surveyed a couple of years ago by MarketingSherpa, the content marketing research firm. Another 52% of respondents reported their blogs were “somewhat effective” and 16% believed their blogs were largely or definitely ineffective.

Now why is that? First, you need to have a relevant, engaging blog.

Then you have to keep it fresh. Even the most interesting blogs turn into a slog after the first few posts. If you’re using a traditional editorial calendar, as most people do, you’ve set up a schedule that calls for new posts to be published on a regular basis, say, every Thursday.

You quickly run through your first round of contributors. Then novelty wears off. They have better things to do than be your blog donkey. What is the next post going to be about? Where are all those water-cooler experts when you need them?

If it’s Thursday, you have to have a new post up. You’ll take anything. And your blog content turns into a con: You repurpose old content, borrow from the annual report, link to industry publications, and gin up weak points of view because it’s Thursday.

Here’s how to stop the fail cycle: Dump the “because it’s Thursday” mentality.

Instead of defaulting to a calendar-driven blog calendar, plan your content around when you have something to say. You have new product launches, seasonal and industry sales cycles, upcoming conferences where your company is presenting or exhibiting. Identify points in your calendar when you know readers want to hear from your company and concentrate blog posts before, during and after those dates.

In between, nobody is looking to your company for insights, ideas or comments. You don’t have much to say. So don’t pretend you do.

This is an easy fix that you can adopt midstream, especially with an impending calendar date that makes the case. Give it a shot and let us know how the date-driven strategy changes your blog from slog to slay.

Author Joanne Cleaver

Joanne Cleaver is a seasoned writer who specializes in content marketing and coverage of the business, travel, and women's issues fields. Her work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age and Inc. Magazine.

More posts by Joanne Cleaver

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