I was having a discussion with a librarian the other day and we got to talking about blogging and its value to her library. In the end we both agreed that blogs, like anything else your staff decides to undertake, must fit into your library's strategic plan. Make the connection to how the blog will help your library meet its goals and a blog makes sense. The NY Times ran an article on corporate blogging and this list of 10 things to consider before launching your own company blog applies to libraries as well. Take a look. Full article here.
1. Determine what you have to offer. You have learned plenty of lessons along the way, some of them the hard way. You could use your blog to shed light on the complexities of running a small business, which can add to your credibility and create added exposure for your company.
2. Decide if your blog will be a marketing tool. Blogs are both far-reaching and cheap to produce and maintain. And while they might not be a substitute for traditional marketing materials like press releases and direct mail, they do provide an additional avenue that can be well worth your investment.
3. Define your editorial vision. There's a lot of work to do before you launch your blog. First, shape the editorial policy. How often will you publish? What will be the tone of your messages? What kind of content will you include? What will your blog look like?
4. Consider the content. Some content ideas for your blog might include industry trends, hot topic news, interviews with other industry leaders, your position on industry issues, industry innovations or innovations in your company, book and article reviews, cases studies, shared experiences and lessons learned, and links and downloads to related subjects that might be important to your readers.
5. Share your thought leadership. If you want to be a leader, you need to get others to buy into your ideas. That means writing about the sound tactics you've used to position, promote, and reinforce your credibility within your company and, more importantly, within your marketplace. Everyone loves to get valuable information for free, and if you're willing and able to provide it, that can only mean good exposure for you and your business.
6. Be a credible source. Remember that as soon as you put something in writing, it lives forever. So be careful about what you write and make sure you've done your homework before your write it. If you want to stray from your own personal experiences and opinions, consider devoting a section of your blog to breaking industry news, vital facts, key findings, and some behind-the-scenes information.
7. Decide who will be the writer. Will you be your blog's sole writer, or can your team and staff also make contributions? If a team is producing your blog, you may want to consider holding weekly editorial meetings to brainstorm ideas and give out writing assignments.
8. Choose your partnerships wisely. Once you've designed the blog, you'll want to consider which outside sources you want to share links with. Doing so is a great way to create cross traffic, and to ultimately increase traffic to your blog. Consider who your customers are and what other blogs they might be interested in.
9. Learn how to engage your readers. Your blog's success will depend on the number of readers you have, and increasing their numbers is a matter of motivating them to come back time and again. Make sure your blog is structured in a logical way on your site. You may want to provide access via links to recent topics, highlights, sub-topics, and monthly archives. A little humor never hurts either.
10. Know what matters to your readers. This kind of blog is all about sharing what you know, including your experiences and knowledge, with a wider audience. Do this, and do it well, and they'll come back to read your future good ideas.