Content is king. But as Greek epic poems, American history, and several Game of Thrones storylines have taught us, questioning the rule of a monarch is often the best course of action. Now, it may seem odd that a company dedicated to creating content would steer people away from it, but it’s actually one of the first questions Original9 asks of new partners.
“Why do you need a blog?”
“And do you definitely want to call it a blog?”
Because truth be told, in the rush to add “storyteller” to their Linkedin profiles or to fill the “Blog” hub they built into the new website redesign, companies often fail to consider the blog as part of a larger, more cohesive strategy. To be successful, blogs need a clear direction, specific goals—and not mention a lot of work. If you don’t approach it with the aim of giving it its due attention, a blog can become a resource drain or, worse, a content ghost town.
But we’re here to tell you that it’s OK if you don’t feel a blog fits in with your company’s goals and ambitions. It’s a decision better made at the start than midway through – so to help you come to a decision, consider these common signs that a blog may not be the best fit for your company.
Your Definition of “Blog” Is Too Broad
Consider your blog like a restaurant. You want to be the place where the menu opts for quality over quantity, each carefully selected dish representing a clear point of view and distinct taste level. You do not want to be the place where the menu is 15 pages long and has everything from omelets to club sandwiches to lobster. If you see a blog as simply a “miscellaneous file” for curated content, the occasional original post, and infrequent musings, you are setting yourself up to fail.
The two primary elements needed for a successful blog are an editorial strategy – which can be as simple as deciding that you want only timely, reactive content as opposed to in-depth longreads – and consistency. You have to build expectations for what your audience can expect every week or two weeks or quarter. If you don’t have a strong feeling about the type of content you want to support or don’t feel you want (or can) devote resources needed to ensure consistent, timely posting, then a blog may not be for you.
You’re Not Sure Where Your Voice Is Needed
In a reality where even fast food brands are commenting on world events through social media, there is increased pressure on companies to have a POV on everything. But if you’re not sure which conversations you need to be in, and which places your brand voice will ring loudest, then maybe it’s best to sit it out.
Developing a brand voice means knowing who you are trying to reach and then speaking to them in a language that creates understanding and common ground. But what if, for example, you’re a B2B tech company serving the real estate space? You don’t have a consumer product, and your customer base is made up of property owners or contractors who come to your site for technical specs and the occasional customer service request. Spending time developing an editorial strategy is pointless if you know it’s not going to serve your audience. And if you apply that brand voice to random commentary on platforms your customer base isn’t on, it’s falling on the wrong ears. If a witty tweet is posted in the woods…
You’re Not Thinking Big Picture
True story: Several years ago I worked at a digital publisher whose content was irreverent and (meant to be) funny. And yet in the nav bar on the site, “Humor” had its own vertical. It always seemed odd that if everything we did was intended to be humorous, why did “Humor” have its own hub? In a way, this is similar to how companies still view content. This is over here, and everything else is over there. But to truly develop a perspective and an audience, content needs to be a part of your business plan on all levels.
Is thought-leadership driven by the C-suite? Are they actively guest-writing or contributing pieces to relevant outlets? Is there a distribution system in place? Does the company have an active social media presence? Do presentations or infographics or even internal documents all sound like they come from the same place? Content isn’t just one thing. At its most effective, it touches on all outward (and even inward) communication on behalf of the company or brand. A blog should be part of a system and an overarching philosophy, not a separate entity.
Blogs and content are a discipline, and if they are not a cohesive part of a larger strategy and vision, it’s OK to refocus your attention towards something else. Not every company needs a blog.