Blogging has been around for quite some time now. It is rapidly becoming the another alternative for getting news. It has evolved from being a venue for ranting and raving about a subject or sharing personal goings on to a tool used by business to share information with employees or customers to replace the newsletters.
If you are considering a blog for internal company communications, then think about what you want the blog to represent and the type of information you want to share. Plan your blog before you being to investigate tools to use for it or assigning someone to maintain it. Otherwise you may select the wrong tool and have the maintenance person using too much time on a “part-time” assignment. Also, if the blog is to replace a current company newsletter in print or via email, you better do a poll to make sure the employees are willing to check the web rather than have paper they can read at break or direct delivery to their desk via email. If no one is willing to go to the blog to get the information, it is a waste of time and money to build a blog.
If you are considering a blog for external communication, typically to existing or potential customers but you could include suppliers too, then you need to consider the information to be shared as well as your presentation. Should the blog have a consistent look with your other brand and marketing tools? Should it be part of your website or stand-alone from it? Is it mainly a marketing tool, a training program, for information sharing, or some combination? Who will provide the articles/posts for the blog and how often? If you plan to use the blog to replace a newsletter, how will the current readers know when the blog is updated? Will you send an email to notify them of updates or just inform them of your planned frequency of post so they can check for themselves? Will you use Twitter or another social network to communicate your blog as a part of your marketing campaign?
If you are a small company or independent consultant considering a blog, do you really need one? Perhaps it might be better to partner with another consultant or company to share responsibility for a blog that would benefit both of you. If you want to write primarily to share information, but do not want to build your own blog, consider guest posting on an independent blog that already exists which provides posts with the type of information you wish to share. You can review the candidate blog to see if they have more than one person doing their writing. If they do, look for a contact and send an email suggesting your topic and asking if they would like a guest article or post done by you. This saves you time in building a blog and searching for an audience. This will build your confidence in your ability to provide data for the blog in case you decide later you need your own blog, and then you will already be prepared for the hardest part of blogging.
Before you build a blog, ask the questions above for the type of blog you are considering. Then decide if your company really needs a blog.