We’ve been delivering digital engagement for the Creative England’s Starter for 10 competition, which awarded £10,000 to 10 creative digital businesses in the South West. As part of our ongoing work, we’ve been asked to advise the winners on how to make best use of their ongoing blogs on the competition website. We’re sharing these brief tips here for anyone thinking of starting a blog, or looking to improve their engagement with their blog’s audience.
1: Why are you writing a blog
At the very outset you need to work out what you want to use your blog for. Is it to position you company? Grow your own personal me-brand? Develop awareness in a particular market? Having a strong purpose for you blog from the start will help drive your narrative and make the whole process a lot easier, and more effective.
2: Define your audience
More than anything else, understanding your audience will affect what content you produce and how you use it to talk to them.
Always write with the purpose and the audience in mind – and think about the platforms these audiences use so you can be pro-active in getting your blog – and your name – into their networks.
3: Tell a story
Every one likes a good story, right? Stories are a good way to hook people and keep them engaged. Fit the story to the audience and the purpose and people will join you on your journey.
4: A picture paints a thousands words
Want to blog about the cool changes you’ve just made to your interface? Great – but if I can’t see it, I’m not going to get too excited. Think visual – screenshots, reportage-style pictures of your team at work etc will greatly increase the power of your blog.
Video can be a hugely effective way of getting your message across. A screencapture video of your app in action, “live” footage of your product being used in the field – think of this blog, and the platforms it is reaching, as a channel for getting your promotional videos out to a key audience.
6: Length of blog
Keep it brief – 250-300 words is ideal. Any more than that and people could switch off. If you get to the higher end of that total, maybe break up the text with a sub-heading or two to keep it readable.
7: Cross market your blog
Social is all about networks. The SF10 blog is shared across a number of Creative England and other networks, but you will have networks of your own – your personal networks, business organisations, universities etc. Get your blog onto all these networks, on all your platforms and just watch how the traffic increases!
8: Encourage interactions
If people talk about you then they are helping to connect you with others in their network – so extending your reach. Talking can include RT, shares and comments. If your content is good, relevant and engaging that will help people to interact with you. Don’t just push your blog out and leave it hanging – invite interaction from people and networks you think might be interested in it, use people and networks you already have relationships with online to start conversations around it.
If you are spending the time to do all this, you need to make sure it is bringing benefits to your business. Think about the goals you have – why are you doing this blog – and how you can measure this. Is it just the number of interactions with your blog? Or do you want to drill it down to interactions among particular networks are audiences? Do you want the blog to drive people to your site? If you have clear goals and measures in place, it will not only help you see how effective your social media is, but also help shape strategy in order to meet those goals.
10: Perseverance – make the time
Forget marketing – social media is about building and owning relationships and this can lead to customers! This takes time and effort. Your blog should be seen as an opportunity to start conversations and relationships on important networks. These relationships take work, but done well they will be worth it.