Often clients assume I am always going to recommend blogging but that is simply not the case. I am not going to push blogs as the magic bullet solution because as you know, blogging does not suit every company or individual.
In most cases the decision is down to:
- Will a blog provide significant benefit compared to other tactics? – There are a number of ways a company can market, build an audience, attract search visibility without blogging. While for some companies a blog will be ideal, this is not always the case.
- Does the benefit outweigh the cost? – There are costs to blogging, from having the initial blog set up through to the staff time or paid cost in having it maintained.
- Can you as a company create a worthwhile blog? – Not all companies have people on staff or the budget for good, consistent writing. Also you need to know there are enough article ideas to see you through long term.
Now all that said, the risk of “getting it wrong” is small in most cases. People do worry though if there is a greater risk doing a blog badly compared to doing nothing at all.Let’s take a look at ways a blog could conceivably damage your brand:
- Saying something damaging – This is the worst thing you can do through your blog, and it could well be much more damaging than saying something bad in person because as you know, internet news travels at light speed, provides its own evidence, and is hard to erase. If you have staff members with controversial views or who tend to run off their mouth then keep them away from the blog. Do not let anything go live without being checked for legalities, accuracy, intellectual property and good sense. My advice would be to avoid any form of snark or dark humor in a company blog. This is kind of the internet equivalent of letting the company big-mouth talk to the press. Just don’t.
- Not responding to an issue – Not posting can be as damaging. If there is an issue building and you have a blog but do not address it then it looks like you are being evasive.
- Over-prioritizing the blog – A blog is one thread in a multi-tactic strategy. Relying on your blog alone, to the expense of other marketing tactics, would be a mistake. Take me for example, I am a blog and marketing consultant but even I have to get out from my own blog, market myself and network.
- Using the blog as distraction from work – Sometimes people get caught up with the thrill of blogging or just would rather tinker with a blog than get on with their real job. Blogging is fun, much more fun than many chores you might have in a business, so be careful that hours are not wastefully spent “blogging” rather than being productive.
- Starting then abandoning a popular blog – This is not quite as damaging as people believe, but still can be a mistake when you have a lot of people who have subscribed only to find the posts dry up. Raising and dashing expectations is not the best business move. For this reason it is best to start a blog in “stealth mode” to see if it is possible for you to maintain a blog long term. Also do not think you have to post multiple times a day or even week. Once a week might be sufficient providing what you post is valuable. Far better to set expectations low and exceed them than the other way round.
As you can see, there are risks, but knowing risks before hand allows you to mitigate against them. I have in the past recommended companies go with an “articles” section and an email list over a blog when I didn’t feel they could keep up a blog. There are always options and ways around these issues.
Can you think of any other ways a company could harm their brand with bad blogging?