Should you have a company blog or not? It's a question most startups and small businesses ask themselves at some point.
Sure, a blog can be a great way to build a company voice, engage your followers and offer a point of view on the world. But there’s one big problem with blogs: The good ones, the really effective ones, require some writing talent.
Blogs, after all, are still predominantly a written medium—and if you have someone doing it for you who isn’t a writer (and has no desire to become one), then you can probably guess how the results will turn out. It’s no wonder the vast majority of company blogs that are started are abandoned within six months. (Even I, a professional writer who's had a personal blog for nearly 10 years, sometimes has trouble posting often enough and consistently enough to keep my audience interested.)
While blogging has its benefits, it can also be one of the most intense ways to jump into social media marketing. No one would suggest, for example, that the first time you decide to take up running, you immediately start training for a marathon. In real life, we take small steps in order to accomplish our goals, but we tend to forget this when it comes to social media.
The good news is, there are three other social media tools you can use to get the benefits of blogging without actually blogging.
1. Post Comments
Some blog posts get more engagement and traffic than others. That's a fact of the social media world that can sometimes be forgotten, but it can also offer you a great opportunity when it comes to the potential value of commenting. Some blog posts spark a conversation that happens between dozens or even hundreds of people and become lasting pieces of content that people will find and read for years. The value of sharing an educated comment on a post like that—and engaging in the ensuing dialogue—can pay off dramatically for your business far more than a blog post of your own that only a small pool of people may find and read.
The bottom line: Piggy backing on an existing conversation that's getting a lot of attention is a great way to join a valuable conversation and also introduce people who care about the same topic to you and your business.
Many times when I speak at events about the power of content marketing, I spend a significant amount of time discussing curation instead of creation. What is curation? It’s based on the idea that one of the ways we're all navigating information overload is by turning to experts who find the best things for us to pay attention to. Similar to how museum directors curate art, curation of content that's already out there online sometimes has a lot more value than adding to the noise yourself with just another blog post.
3. Answer Questions
On almost every social media platform today, people are asking for advice on topics that matter to your business. Where should they buy a car? Anyone know a great real estate agent? These sorts of questions are posted every day. There are even platforms, like Quora, that are dedicated to people asking questions that allow anyone to answer.
How often are you answering the questions that matter for your business? The ideal topics don’t tend to be directly related to promoting yourself. Rather, people often seek expertise and if you can provide it in a non-salesy way, they will often turn to you again when it comes time for them to find someone to pay for help.
Before jumping into building and managing a company blog, try using social media in these other smart ways to get the same benefit as blogging but without having to actually manage your own blog.
Rohit Bhargava is the bestselling author of four marketing books and the former co-founder of the world's largest team of social media strategists. He's currently a professor of marketing at Georgetown University and is founder of the Influential Marketing Group.
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