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Blogging to Benefit Your Members (And Your Organization)


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Blogging to Benefit Your Members (And Your Organization)

  1. 1. Blogging to Benefit Your Members (And Your Organization) Weblink Summit September 23, 2009 Will Burns, Communications Director Maryland Chamber of Commerce
  2. 2. Blogs
  3. 3. Who Is This Clown? Will Burns Director of CommunicationsMaryland Chamber of Commerce (410) 269-0642, Ext. 103
  4. 4. Background• Maryland Chamber launched our first blog in 2004• I’ve made just about every mistake you can possibly make• We’re in the process of refreshing our blog, so I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately
  5. 5. Background
  6. 6. My Biggest Mistakes• Lack of Strategic Thinking Upfront• Unrealistic Expectation• Too Much Focus on: • Blogging Tools • Design Elements • Third-Party Plugins and Hacks • Traffic and Search Engine Optimization • Advertising/Monetization Strategies• Not Enough Focus on Content
  7. 7. It took me four years to understand:It’s the Content Stupid!
  8. 8. Does Your Chamber Have a Blog?
  9. 9. Does Your Chamber Have a Blog?If Not, Is Your Chamber Thinking About Launching A Blog?
  10. 10. Agenda• Why Should Chambers Blog?• How Can Blogging Benefit Your Chamber and its Members?• Tips for Getting Started or Reviewing Your Existing Strategy• Content Ideas• Discussion
  11. 11. Why Should Chambers Blog • Deliver Timely, Useful Content • Position Your Chamber as a Thought Leader • Raise Awareness for Your Programs & Activities • Bring Personality to Your Chamber’s Brand • Promote Interaction and Community
  12. 12. Chamber Benefits• Establish a Position of Thought Leadership• Increase Exposure and Web Traffic• Compliment Existing Marketing Efforts: Blogs Make a Great Hub for Multichannel Outreach• Generate More Member Feedback and Engagement in Chamber Activities• Great Media and Public Relations Tool
  13. 13. Member Benefits• Easy Access to Timely and Useful Information from a Trusted Source• A Platform to Showcase Your Members as Experts• Increased Exposure and Credibility• Create a Greater Sense of Community and Involvement
  14. 14. Information OverloadOverflowing inboxHundreds of unread emailsA calendar full of appointmentsWhy Would He Read Your Blog?
  15. 15. Chamber - Information Filter “It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure” --Clay Shirky Author of: Here Comes Everybody The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
  16. 16. Getting Started• Research Blogging Tools• Determine Your Goals & Objectives• Develop a Plan• Launch Something
  17. 17. Research Blogging Tools• Does Your Current Content Management System Support Blogging Functionality?• Does Your Web Designer Prefer One Solution Over Others?• Does Anyone on Staff Have a Personal Blog?
  18. 18. Research Blogging ToolsHosted Self-Hosted• •• Blogger • Movable Type• Typepad • Expression Engine• Squarespace • Drupal• Compendium • Joomla• Posterous • Nucleus
  19. 19. Goals & Objectives• What Topics Will You Cover?• What Are Your Goals for the Blog?• How Do Your Goals for the Blog Tie Back Into Your Chamber’s Goals?• Define & Prioritize Key Audiences• How do You Define and Measure Success?
  20. 20. Social TechnologiesA social trend in which peopleuse technologies to get the thingsthey need from each other,rather than from traditionalinstitutions like corporations--Forrester Research’s definition of the Groundswell
  21. 21. Social Technologies• Objectives • Listen - Better understand our members and prospective members. • Talk - Spread messages about the Chamber • Energize - Put our most energetic supporters to work • Support - Give our members the tools to interact with and support one another • Embrace - Harness member ideas to improve our services and programs
  22. 22. Develop a Plan• What Approvals Do You Need?• Who is Responsible for Developing Content?• How Often Will You Post Updates?• How Do You Incorporate Your Blog Into Existing Marketing & Communications Activities?• How Will You Manage Comments?• Set Reader Expectations Up Front
  23. 23. Common Concerns• Board Approval• Comment Policy• Where do I find the time?
  24. 24. Comment Policy• Let people post opposing viewpoints• No profanity or tasteless comments• Rather than deleting comments you think are misleading, post your own comment clarifying your position
  25. 25. Comment PolicyPlease note that the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commercemay, in our sole discretion, reject comments for any reason we deemappropriate. Links of value to the business community are welcome,but please use them sparingly - wield spam and youre banishedforever. If you have an issue with a Winter Haven area business,please address that issue directly with that business. This is amoderated site and comments will appear if and when they areapproved. We will review the queue several times daily, so pleasedont resubmit if your comment doesnt appear immediately.
  26. 26. Launch Something• Get Something Up and Running• Ask for Feedback• Make Incremental Improvements• Not Sure: Use a Free Hosted Service and Gauge Member Response
  27. 27. Content is King• Legislative Advocacy • Local Attractions• Testimonials • Corporate Social Responsibility• Articles & Press Releases • Sustainability/Green Business• Member News• Upcoming Events • Small Business Tips• Event Recaps • Member Generated Content
  28. 28. Content Ideas• Promote Your Advocacy Positions• Promote Your Events• Provide a Peak Behind the Curtain• Promote Member News• Showcase Member Expertise - Go Beyond the Press Release• Promote Member Benefits
  29. 29. Content Ideas• Promote Your Advocacy Positions • Chamber Testifies Before XYZ Committee • Frequent Updates About Bills You Don’t Read About in the Paper • Interviews with Member Policy Experts • Interviews with Key Lawmakers • Blog a Site Visit With Lawmakers Meeting with Member Companies in the District
  30. 30. Blogs• Advocacy• Boston Chamber posts position statements and advocacy videos
  31. 31. Blogs• Advocacy• Maryland Chamber launched an advocacy blog where our lobbyists and staff from local chambers can post updates
  32. 32. Content Ideas• Promote Your Events • Promote upcoming events • Interview or shoot a quick video of the speaker for your next event • Event recap • Include some photos or video to show people what they missed
  33. 33. Blogs• Advocacy• Boston Chamber posts recaps of its events, often featuring photos and videos
  34. 34. Blogs• Events• Maryland Chamber posts video highlights from educational events
  35. 35. Content Ideas• Provide a Peak Behind the Curtain • Series of Board Member Profiles • Provide Members a Fly on the Wall Perspective of Your Next Board Meeting • How do Committees Work • Meet the Staff • Profile a Key Volunteer • Five Questions With ... • Behind the Scenes at an Event
  36. 36. Blogs• Behind the Curtain• North Mason Chamber posts updates from the Chair and other inside looks at membership efforts
  37. 37. Blogs• Behind the Curtain• Maryland Chamber posted a video with the new Chair, outlining the organization’s goals for the coming year
  38. 38. Content Ideas• Promote Member News • New hires • New business • Member Profiles • Awards & Recognition • Events they are hosting • Promote member blogs
  39. 39. Blogs• Member News• Maryland Chamber profiles member companies.
  40. 40. Blogs• Member News• Winter Haven blog features frequent member news updates. Their members interact a lot in the comments area as well.
  41. 41. Content Ideas• Small Business Tips • Ad Agency on How to Build Your Brand • PR Firm on How to Pitch the Media • Banking, Finance Pro,VC on Accessing Capital • Consultant on Strategic Planning • HR Pro on Hiring and Staff Development • Well Known Networker on Networking Best Practices
  42. 42. Blogs• Small Business Tips• Tips from a business coach on how to get the most out of chamber events
  43. 43. Blogs• Small Business Tips• Indiana Chamber summarized a Business Week article on presentation best practices
  44. 44. Content Ideas• Corporate Social Responsibility • Cover Member Community Service Days - Include Photos and Videos • Profile Business Leaders Who Serve on Nonprofit Boards • Showcase Corporate Philanthropy - How Much Did Member Businesses Give to Local Charities Last Year • Cover Local United Way Campaigns, Blood Drives and Similar Community Outreach Efforts
  45. 45. Blogs• Corporate Social Responsibility• Maryland Chamber highlights member community service days
  46. 46. Blogs• Corporate Social Responsibility• North Mason Chamber organized the North Mason Cancer Crusaders
  47. 47. Content Ideas• Human Resource Issues • Identifying and Hiring Talented Employees • Staff Development & Evaluation Best Practices • HR Audits • Employment Policy Manual Best Practices • Employment Law Changes
  48. 48. Blogs• HR Tips• East Portland Chamber had a member post an item with HR Tips
  49. 49. Blogs• HR Tips• Maryland Chamber interviewed member HR expert
  50. 50. Content Ideas• Sustainability & Green Business • What Are Members Doing to Conserve Energy in the Workplace • Showcase a Company Who Has an Employee Green Team • Showcase a Member With a New Green Buildings • Showcase Green Service Providers - LEED Certifies Lawyers, Architects, Builders, Etc. • Promote Recycling and E-cycling Programs • Sit in on a Member’s Energy Audit
  51. 51. Blogs• Green Business• Video tour of a member’s new “green” HQ
  52. 52. Blogs• Green Business• Siouxland Chamber promoted E-Cycle Day
  53. 53. Content Ideas• Promote Member Benefits • How to Get the Most From Your Membership? • Energy Co-ops • Health Insurance • Publications • Discounted Office Supplies • Member-to-Member Discounts
  54. 54. Blogs• Promote Member Benefits• Siouxland Chamber: 101 Ways to Take Advantage of the Chamber!
  55. 55. Blogs• Promote Member Benefits• Maryland Chamber promotes HR publications
  56. 56. Content Ideas• Seek Member Feedback • Polls & Surveys • Ask For Feedback About Chamber Programs, Services & Events • Ask How Will a Certain Pending Issue Will Impact Your Business?
  57. 57. Questions & Discussion
  58. 58. Thank You Will Burns wburns@mdchamber.org