Losing the Will to Blog
Last entry October 09, 2012.
Blog flotsam litters the navigation bars of many company webpages. Like the broken monument in the famous Percy Shelley poem they cry out:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings
Look on my works, ye
Mighty, and despair!”
But these blog posts are reduced to nothing but ruins. This is exactly what the CMO feared. Not only was the will to blog lost over time, the old blog posts stand rotting in irrelevance–a testament to a corporate marketing failure.
Why does this happen?
1. The blog was just a “check box” to begin with…
The blog started because the competition had one. The edict came down to build it and after deciding on a platform, the new site was rolled out. The only problem was there was no one to keep it going. There was no one identified to write it and determine what the content should look like over time.
2. There was no strategy…
Everyone wanted to produce content, but the type of content had never been discussed. The marketing messages were blindly regurgitated into long-form blogs and posted, but what was the blog trying to accomplish? Was it a place to establish thought leadership? Was it a way to attract new talent or new customers? Was there a call to action? Without any idea of what the blog was, where it was going or why it was established to begin with, it was a ghost town in the making from the very start.
3. The blog didn’t evolve…
Once all the major topics had been covered by clever blog posts, there was nothing left to say. Like the best cities on earth, great blogs are in a constant state of flux. The best of the past is preserved while the rest is torn down to make way for the new. When this doesn’t occur, the intellectual space experiences the equivalent of corporate writer’s block. The ideas choke, fall flat and eventually cease.
How can it be prevented?
1. Define the strategy.
Decide what your blog is about and stick with it. Just because it is hard to find something new to say about your industry doesn’t mean you should give up. Stick with the plan.
2. Don’t do it alone.
Elicit help from writers and content sources from your company, your customers and from the general public in order to fulfill your mission.
3. Listen and evolve.
If you aren’t listening for feedback or getting any, your blog may be on the way to the scrapheap. Feedback is a gift, but you need to unpack it in order to benefit by it. What do your customers want to hear? What blog posts are better received than others? Could any of your vocal supporters be tapped for cross-blogging or a guest post? If you are not looking toward the future, the end may be near.
4. Engage your employees.
Do employees read the blog? Do they find it engaging? If not, why not? Your employees can be your biggest advocates and can give your blog wings. Figure out how to plug them in.
All great things come to an end. Eventually your blog will run its course. But it doesn’t have to happen after a few posts and a year or so of activity. The promise of creating great content that will drive interest and credibility in your company is real. But it requires a bit more than the proverbial many monkeys on many typewriters trying to achieve Shakespeare.
The power of engaging content will only increase as mainstream media continues to breakdown and the lines are blurred between mainstream media and generic ‘content’ shared via social networks. The possibilities are endless but you need to be smart about it. Otherwise, you may be constructing a future abandoned city, destined to be engulfed by the winds and sand—a reminder of a failed attempt.