Infusing Blogging Stimulants

On behalf of InitMarketing, I am currently helping a customer to provide more information about their Open Source product to their community via Weblogs.

My role is that of an external coach, who reviews blog post drafts, provides concrete and strategic advice – all of which only if the bloggers ask me for my services.

Given that bloggers are their own chief editor, it is important that they control their Weblog and that they can fully commit on what they do. Dictatorship won’t get you anywhere if you want to get your employees and partners to start blogging or to blog more or to blog more regularly. Bloggers also need to understand some of the strategic marketing communications background of blogging, because that will allow them to better attract readers.

Let me share with you some answers I provided to questions which have been asked by the customer’s bloggers during the process.

Won’t information be too scattered if we don’t blog at one place but in individual blogs on different domains?

That’s a valid concern. Here’s a marketing strategy backgrounder:

On the social software level (blogs, Wiki, etc.), the credos are:

  1. Let it happen! No matter how well crafted or condensed the information provided is, any information is better than none.2) Be personal! Credit where credits are due, e.g. a blog should be personal, a Wiki should indicate contributors, etc.
  2. Be personal! Credit where credits are due, e.g. a blog should be personal, a Wiki should indicate contributors, etc.

The social media marketing approach follows very closely the Open Source development mode, just like “release early, release often” it follows the idea of “communicate early, communicate often”. There are tools which help to provide an overview of various information resources, e.g. RSS aggregators help to show all latest posts from different blogs.

On the traditional marketing communications level, content can be re-use from blogs, Wikis, etc. to publish well crafted and designed collaterals which are in line with the main marketing message(s). Such collaterals would be the corporate website, newsletters, white papers, brochures, and so on. Traditional marketing communications is more centralized in that it is the sole responsibility of the marketing team.

How should a blog author react on a comment: By replying in a comment or by adding a new post answering the comment?

First: The fact that there are comments is great and indicates that your post is of high value.

Concerning the question:

It’s hard to say where to draw a line between a comment and a new blog post. I’d say it’s worth a new blog post

  1. if you feel like you want to write one (in the end, you are the chief editor of your blog)
  2. if the new blog post is actually about a new topic and does not merely address the topic of the comment from another perspective
  3. if you do have the time to write a new blog post

Should you write a new blog post, make sure you link to the comment. Additionally, you can reply to the comment of the other blog post and there point to the new blog post, so that it becomes clear that you answered the comment in a new blog post.

How often should we blog?

There should be at least one post per week each by two persons in your team to keep and grow readership. There will be days where it will be hard to meet that requirement. Hence, if you have an idea for a new blog post, make sure you leave some time in between posts. You could already write that post (because the ideas are already spinning in your head) but not publish it yet, instead keep it as a draft. Then publish the new blog post some days later.

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