A Blog About Blogging: Companies and Org’s Doin’ It Right

As users and lovers of social media, we often get caught up in all of the tools out there–Twitter, Facebook, or as of this week, Google+. But this month’s SMC-DC event was all about the often complex art of blogging. We were honored to be joined by Maggie McGary, Online Community and Social Media Manager at ASHAAmy Ganderson, Associate Director, Digital Marketing at The Nature ConservancySimon Owens, Director of PR at JESS3 and Alejandra Owens, Social Communications/Blog Managing Editor at AARP.
So here I go, attempting to implement some of their great tips…
  1. Create dynamic content. Blogs need to keep people’s attention and serve as a resource for lots of information in not a lot of space. The best way to do this is by including links, pictures, videos, whatever–whenever possible. Along with this, create dynamic content that’s the right fit for each of the outlets you share the blog post through. Or in other (Alejandra’s) words, “auto-feeds are just bad.” Don’t put on your Facebook the same blog teaser you put in a tweet–different audiences connect with different styled language, and when/if those audiences overlap, they’ll think it’s annoying that all your content is cookie-cutter.
  2. Lay some ground rules. Developed a  social media and blogging guidelines for your company. It will not only help later on down the line in terms of logistics, avoiding people saying things they shouldn’t, etc.–but will also help you to figure out what your goal is exactly with the blog and keep you in line with achieving it. If you need inspiration, check out AARP’s social media guidelines.
  3. Keep people coming back by offering them ‘themed’ content. So for example, at Cool Green Science at The Nature Conservancy, they have one post that goes out each morning with the top five must-read articles in environmentalism. They also have a Nature Photo of the Week. These kinds of themes not only make it easier to focus on putting out enough content, they also give people something to look forward to next time if they found that post valuable.
  4. Learn from some of the great’s–but also maintain your own unique voice. Along with the blogs by the panelists themselves, some others mentioned include: Ebay Ink , the OKCupid blog OKTrends, and Treehugger.
  5. Prepare for disappointment by keeping expectations low. Sometimes you can plan and plan, but the end product just isn’t what you were expecting. Expect that it may happen and never expect lots of views to your blog in its infancy. Even if your company possesses enough of a reputation to bring more eyes to your blog doesn’t mean they will stay to hang around and read it if it’s not very good…yet.
Like most things in life, the panelists seemed to always come back to the idea that blogging is about finding a balance. For instance, you’ve got to balance SEO-friendliness with unique, original content. Having blog posts that include the words people would use to find it is important–but you can’t always live on Google Insights, constantly making sure your blog post is SEO-friendly. You have to make sure it’s people-friendly too, and that it’s reflective of the author and interesting enough for the reader. As Simon points out, well-written content is the best SEO you can have, because the better it is, the more it will be shared and the more views it will get, making it rise higher in the search ranking jungle out there. And it is a jungle out there.
What company, nonprofit or agency blogs out there do you think are doin’ it right?

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