Here at AHA, we have always strongly believed in the relevance and value of blogs. Even when it didn’t seem quite so “cool” anymore – our clients continued to see results from blogs. We monitor them closely to make sure that they provide return-on-investment; anyone who has ever had the responsibility to write a blog knows how much effort they take to produce on a consistent basis.
Writing a blog is like writing a newspaper or magazine column – it has to have an element of opinion in it, you need accurate stats and facts if you are going to cite them, the blog content has to be timely and interesting to your readers, and it should provoke thought and discussion. For many of our clients, a blog provides an excellent opportunity to share information and to open a conversation with their stakeholder group(s). But – and I know sometimes our clients get tired of hearing us say this – the blog has to be well-written and it needs to have relevant information that matters to the readers. If a blog is used just to put out marketing and sales information, it’s not going to gain traction. That’s not what people read blogs for.
We live in an incredible era. For the first time, there is an opportunity for people who are not paid by a print publication to have a voice. Media relations is still an important aspect of public relations; however – it is no longer the only option when it comes to sharing an organization’s story with stakeholders. Technology now provides the opportunity to write blog posts, to connect on Twitter and other social networking sites – to create awareness and enter the conversation about the topics that matter in your field of expertise.
Social Media Examiner recently ran an article on the results of Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influencer Report. This report shows that “blogs rank favorably with consumers for trust, popularity and even influence.” And that means something. If you don’t have a blog, I encourage you to consider starting one – but first, of course, sit down and plan it out. Approach it like you would any other communications tactic and define your objective, outline your topics and your target audience, ensure you know what to do if you are put under attack for an opinion or what to do should a blog post garner a great deal of positive attention, and understand how you will measure its success and what success means in this context.
Done right, a blog post is an excellent tool for strategic communications.