Hi folks, yesterday’s IDI-sponsored Blogging Bootcamp was great fun and I think we all managed to learn a thing or two before it was done. Despite my best efforts, I survived the panel discussion with Pat Cleary from the National Association of Manufacturers (whose Shop Floor is a great example of an effective trade association blog), Milo Sybrant from Amnesty International and Eric Rabe from Verizon with dignity and reputation reasonably intact. Some quick takeaways now, which I’ll follow later with a more comprehensive piece on building blog traffic:
- Pat Cleary is one tough act to follow very funny and (one suspects) crafty to boot.
- Having an organization/institutional blog is no longer an exceptional thing blogs are becoming a normal part of communications practice.
- Before starting a blog, organizations should establish clear goals for it that are (as Cheryl Contee from IDI put it) SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-oriented.
- They should also have clear internal policies about what topics are to be covered, who gets to write, what the approval process is for articles, whether the blog accepts outside comments and trackbacks, and how to handle comments that might not be so welcome to the organization.
- Most successful blogs focus on a particular niche and a particular audience and stick with it (there’s a reason you don’t see me writing on this site about my other various dark obsessions besides online politics.)
- Bloggers should keep a close eye on sites like Technorati and Google’s blog search to see how their issues are being covered on other sites both before and after their blog launches.
- Blog traffic monitoring is vital. What are people reading? Where are they coming from? What articles are being linked-to and distributed?
- Finally, and more about this later, even if you build it, they may not come. Blog promotion is vital if you want to actually be read.