Blogging - why set one up?

We don’t normally get asked about blogging however we have had three enquiries recently where clients have asked us about setting one up for them. If you have ever wondered about doing a blog we suggest you first consider WHY? Also could you also achieve your objectives by other means? We outline our experience and advice in this post.
We don’t regularly get asked about blogging. However we have had several enquiries recently where clients have asked to set one up for them. If you have ever wondered about doing a blog we suggest you consider WHY first? Perhaps you also achieve your objectives by other means? Anyway we outline our experience and advice on Blogging in Part 1 of a two part post (if you have decided a Blog is really what you want – Part 2 looks at blogging platforms you might consider).

We don’t set up blogs regularly. Its not our bread and butter. This one you are reading we think does quite well and we also contribute to other blogs and forums. We get good feedback on posts we make on it – and sometimes this can come from surprising sources. Our business is course very much one where we leverage knowledge and expertise round web applications. The blog allows us to impart some aspects of knowledge to clients, partners and other interested visitors (e.g. we seem to get a fair bit of interest from agency recruiters).

Over the last couple of months we have had a run of both clients and contacts asking for advice on setting up blogs. We have even set up a couple of blogs for clients recently. So we thought it was well worth doing a post on blogging as we there seems to be quite a few people looking into it right now.

So why bother doing a blog?

This its where most people start: “lets get a blog on our website…”. Reviewing my own experience as the blog writer I found it quite revealing when we asked clients why they wanted a blog. We got a variety of answers of course but we noticed that mostly the answers were a bit unsure - somewhat hesitant. Answers to the why question included: “we want to engage with our clients”, “we want to tell our clients about our new developments”, “wont a blog help with search rankings”, “we can show thought leadership” etc etc. All are of course valid reasons however they can all be achieved without necessarily having a blog.

How many blogs are out there? Number of people blogging: By the end of 2011, NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs around the world. That is a lot of online comment to compete with…

Who will write up the blog?

Next thing we asked was who would do the blog? How much time would they be able to allocate to doing it? Will posts be weekly or monthly? In fact this was the question that really sorted out who was really keen.

Doing a blog is hard work. It takes time each month - or week if you are posting weekly. To illustrate what I mean; we tend to produce an average of between one and two postings each month on our blog. I write this blog but I also get contributions and many ideas from the people I work with. Also quite a few postings I start never get published. They end up, being neither interesting, topical, relevant or entertaining enough to publish. Most posts are created over a period of a week or so. They probably get reformed several times and sometimes they are a collaborative effort. All in it probably I estimate it averages three hours work per published post. This is a not insignificant amount of time. The actual typing is the easy bit. Consider all mucking about, checking research, facts and drafts before you can get half decent content. It can be all to easy to find you start a topic then find you cant make a worthwhile interesting post out of it. If you think I am doing it wrong of course, do say.

Our blogging experience – why we do it

From a business point of view we find that a blog can certainly engage with clients and prospects who are checking us out. It also helps keep clients informed on recruitment and technology issues which is core to what we do. It is for instance, nice to direct clients to a blog post when they raise particular questions or queries. It shows we have thought things through. It also helps us tell clients about new developments or let them know about new things we can offer them. And yes, it even helps with our search rankings for the main website. However that is not the reason for this blog (or the other blogs and forums I contribute to).

There is one other main reason: we do it for us. That is we do it because it helps us think and work round issues and formulate thoughts and opinion in matters of importance to us. What we advised our clients recently who asked our advice on blogging is this: don’t do a blog for the traditional reasons of trying to drive traffic etc. It is just not worth it. If however you come at it from the standpoint of treating blogging as something that has value for its own sake. If you find it helps you articulate and consider issues and ideas then you will be much more motivated to keep it going and you will get much more out of the process.

There is a Part 2 to this post on the types of blogging platforms that you might consider if you have been able to answer WHY BLOG and still want to do it.