Editor’s Note: I recently attended WordCamp Richmond, which was all about blogging using WordPress. I learned a lot, felt overwhelmed at times and was inspired to write several blogs. This is the first one. Part 2 will focus on blog comments and Part 3 will talk about communities and blogging.
When colleagues learn I have a blog, they often say to me, “I need to start one.” My next question to them is why?
Don’t get me wrong, a blog is a great communications tool. However, if you don’t have a communications plan or a purpose for writing the blog, your blog is going to go into cyberspace and nothing will happen.
So why should you have a blog? During a recent WordCamp in Richmond, Va., Bradley Robb, a digital producer with INM United offered four reasons to blog, including:
- Building Community
- Establishing authority: “If you’re the one with the mic people obviously assume you know what you are talking about,” he notes.
- Building fresh content
- Engaging directly with clients, customers or peers
Once you’ve decided that a blog is an appropriate communications tool for you or your client, you will want to establish an editorial calendar. I post on Wednesdays and Sundays so my calendar has all the Wednesdays and Sundays listed. I then go through and note possible topics. For example, I knew I would be attending WordCamp Richmond so I marked the dates closest to the camp as topics related to the camp.
In September I always note that I will have three to four posts around the National Federation of Press Women conference. January is a good month to have a post around resolutions related to communications.
An editorial calendar Bradley says “is a great way to make sure your blog doesn’t die.” Since establishing my schedule and calendar, I have never missed a post. A calendar forces consistency for me. When I run low on ideas, I have to spend some time researching so that I don’t come up short on a day that I post. A calendar also leads to new ideas. I met a student the other week for breakfast after he asked for advice about communications in the non-profit field. He tweeted about it, and it inspired a post on a day when I had not yet decided what to write about.
The final benefit of an editorial calendar is that it forces consistency. Thanks to my calendar I have never missed posting on a Wednesday or Sunday. My readers have come to expect twice weekly posts. I don’t want to disappoint.
When you’re ready to blog, don’t forget to create your editorial calendar. Whether you post once a week or once a month, it will help you with your content.
Are you ready to blog?