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Social Media Roundup 7Tips For Better Blogging: How to Maintain a Successful Blog
Social Media Roundup Agenda This week’s Social Media Roundup examines the importance of blogging and gives tips that will help your unit use blogs effectively to supplement its other social media efforts.
Social Media Roundup Before Facebook and Twitter, there were blogs
With the rise of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, many people consider blogging to be a thing of the past, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
While it’s difficult to ascertain an exact number, it’s reported that as of March 21, 2011 there are over 158 million public blogs in existence (source: BlogPulse: http://www.blogpulse.com/)
According to Quantcast.com, over 260 million people worldwide visit one or more WordPress.com blogs every month, and they view over 2.3 billion pages on those blogs each month.
Blogging was around long before social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and it can still play an important role in your unit’s social media efforts. Here are 7 tricks that can help make your blog more relevant in this social media world.
Social Media Roundup Blogging Tip 1: Start in the right place
As with any other social media platform, it’s important to have a strategy for your blog before you decide to create one.
Set goals and determine what you want to accomplish with the blog before getting started.
Drafting a solid blogging strategy refines the focus of your blog. This will help make sure you stay on point with command messages while at the same time providing content that keeps your blog interesting and engaging.
Social Media Roundup Blogging Tip 2: Develop a Voice
When writing for your organization’s blog, everything you write is official, but you want to avoid using the same official tone you’d use with professional correspondence. Blogging is a more conversational, so it’s important to maintain a tone that encourages reader participation.
Blogs give your organization the opportunity to cover and comment on unique topics and events. In order to keep your audience engaged, speak to them in a tone that sounds less like press release and more like a conversation between friends. Blogs do more than report news, they facilitate the discussion, so tone is key.
Social Media Roundup Blogging Tip 3: Learn About Your Audience
Watch how readers respond to your posts.
You can gauge the strength of your content through the “retweet” and Facebook “share” buttons that can be installed on your blog posts.
Watching comments also helps determine how successful a post is. In just a few weeks, you can learn what resonates well with your audience.
Keep in mind, not all posts are going to generate a lot of buzz. Each command has set messages it wants to communicate. The trick is finding a way to balance the “medicine” with the fun.
You can improve the content of your blog by making the “medicine” more digestible. Taking a press release or a speech transcript and turning it into an engaging, conversational post is key when maintaining a successful blog.
Social Media Roundup Blogging Tip 4: Spark the Conversation
Blogging and social media use is about the conversation. It’s good to have people reading your content, but it’s better to get them discussing your content.
Social networking sites put information out in short bursts, while blogging gives you the opportunity to examine an issue in-depth and then ask your readers to comment and offer their opinions.
Craft your blog with your readers in mind. Cover interesting content. Then at the end of the post, include a call to action. Ask a question, or ask your readers to talk about their experiences. Keeping your readers engaged keeps them coming back and helps add relevance to your blog.
Social Media Roundup Blogging Tip 5: Break News
A blog is an excellent place to break a story.
Organization blogs are the inside track to the most unique and interesting news. Having an inside blogger on the spot makes it possible to break news long before the mainstream media picks up on it.
Blogs help your organization become the first to comment on a unique story or a new training exercise. Be aggressive and creative with your blog; you never know when your post will be picked up by the media.
In crisis communications, blogs can give in-depth details. You can then drive more traffic to important crisis communication blog posts by linking to the blog on Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media Roundup Blogging Tip 6: Bring the News to Bloggers
Keep in contact with bloggers and ask what type of information they would like to learn more about.
To keep these blogger relationships strong, it’s important to bring the news to them. One way to do this is through bloggers roundtables or blogger conference calls.
Use a variety of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to engage with bloggers.
Follow other blogs to find out what the top bloggers are interested in and bring the news to them by commenting on their blogs as your unit’s blogger representative.
It’s important to establish contacts with other military bloggers. When you post interesting content, bloggers have the power to pass it along in their own blogs. It’s encouraged for bloggers to cross post content, just make sure that when you cross post, you have permission and you attribute the content in the blog.
Social Media Roundup Blogging Tip 7: Get others involved
As a unit blogger, you can’t do it all. There is a lot of great content out there and as a blog manager, you need to be out there soliciting content from other people in your unit.
Reach out to subject matter experts in your unit and ask them what their Soldiers are up to. Watch for scheduled training events and ceremonies and try to get people closely involved with the planning and execution to blog about the event.
Publishing blog posts authored by other people in your unit keeps the blog fresh and it also adds variety to your content.
Social Media Roundup Resources
To learn more about how to maintain an Army blog, check out the Online and Social Media Division’s blogging strategy guide which can be found at: http://slidesha.re/eO3WF3
If you’d like to start a blog and you don’t know where to begin, email the Online and Social Media Division at email@example.com for more instructions.
Social Media Roundup Contact information Have questions? Please feel free to reach out to us at the Online and Social Media Division Email: Ocpa.firstname.lastname@example.org To review and download past editions of the Social Media Roundup, visit our Slideshare site at: http://www.slideshare.net/usarmysocialmedia. All Social Media Roundups are authorized to be distributed to a broader audience. 3/23/2011 OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS PENTAGON