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When a blog isn’t right for you

April 2, 2009

I can think of lots of reasons to blog, or start a blog, or use it for nefarious marketing purposes.

But I also know when a blog isn’t the right fit for you or your company. Trust me.

Now, you would think I would try to sell you on classes and site development, but I know that only certain people should be blogging. Why waste your hard-earned money and precious time on something that will go nowhere?

So when is a blog not the right solution for you?

1. Your company has reservations, big reservations. I encourage companies to take risks, smart risks to move forward. But not every company likes risk, no matter how small. Sometimes, it’s fear of the unknown. That’s a fear that can be cured. But if it’s fear of customer feedback, fear of technology, fear of brand distortion, those are crippling fears that blogging certainly won’t cure.

In fact, a company that starts blogging without resolving to swallow the risk is headed down a familiar but doomed path: Blog mildly, market timidly, wonder why no visitors are showing up, flinch at criticism, blog even more mildly, and eventually let the thing die a slow, public death.

Don’t be that company.

2. You’ve heard all about social media and want a piece of the action. Blogs have been around awhile, and will be around a lot longer. I thought they were over in 2005, shows you how much I know. Technorati was tracking 112 million blogs in 2007.

So don’t rush into blogging or Twitter or Facebook just because it’s trendy. Use the tools to fit your current and future needs. The right tools.

Sometimes, companies worry that they’re too far behind to start blogging. Nonsense. We’ll always have fantastic new movies, new TV shows, new books, new CDs, even though millions of works have preceded them. And we’ll always have fantastic new blogs to read and share.

3. Your company can’t sustain it. It’s fine if you want to blog to document a short-term project, say 6 months or less. It’s a great way to set up something easy and quick, either for internal company use or for public consumption.

But in most cases, you’re setting it up for life, life being the life expectancy of your company. The Internet is littered with dead blogs, ones abandoned after an initial burst of creativity and enthusiasm. What happened? Maybe the plan was bad. Maybe they had no plan at all. Maybe the company began to fail, and the first thing to go was “extracurricular” projects like blogging. Layoffs will do that, you know.

In rare instances, the blog grows so popular, it becomes a beast to manage. Even that can be a troubling situation, though one many companies would kill to have.

But starting a blog and sustaining a blog are two different things. The puppy looks so cute at the shelter, but he seems much less cute when you’re getting up at 6 a.m. to walk him in the freezing rain, or he’s chewed up an expensive pair of shoes, or you’re taking him to the vet for multiple (and expensive) treatments. Blogs can seem like puppies — until you actually own one.

4. Your company has nothing to say. Writing is an art. Read enough bad writing out there, and you’ll agree. And writing online is a specialty. I’ve worked with some great writers, true geniuses who could make you weep with their words. And yet, they could post the least read, least interesting musings that could make you weep with boredom.

Do you really want the wrong people in your company blogging for you? Even the best ones might be hit or miss at first, until they develop their voice. And it’s a voice tempered by company culture and common sense. Face it, Acme may make the best widgets around, but it may not produce a terribly interesting blog.

Do the world a favor: Don’t subject us to your pointless blog.

• • •

Still want to start a blog for your company? Great! Set a goal, and get blogging.

What are other situations in which a blog isn’t the right solution? Sound off below.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 2, 2009 11:18 am

    Great thoughts and some solid advice. Maintaining a blog can also be as much about you as it is about communicating with your audience. As you said, writing is an art. By disciplining yourself to come up with and post interesting content, you are engaging in an exercise that will help you be a more effective communicator. That spills over into your relationships with clients. It affects the quality of your reports, bids, presentations and proposals. So, maintaining a blog can provide quality info for your audience, but the exercise can help you as well.

  2. April 2, 2009 2:05 pm

    Good point: Practice makes perfect.

    And I don’t mean to limit it to writing. If video production is your forté, show it off on your posts, because you will definitely stand out from those of us who can’t shoot vids (or don’t have the time and resources).

  3. April 2, 2009 6:45 pm

    This is a good article. I recently did a SEO job on a website and suggested a blog would be a good idea … However, the company owner transpired to be an idiot (nothing he did to me, just his demeanor and disposition) and no doubt this would have come across in the blog … So, spot-on post!

  4. April 2, 2009 10:08 pm

    Thanks!

    Maybe the rule should be: Be yourself, unless you’re an idiot.

    • April 6, 2009 6:52 am

      Wade said: “Maybe the rule should be: Be yourself, unless you’re an idiot.”

      I think you may have coined the new axiom for the age, Wade. I can see it now, branded on t-shirts and bumper stickers.

      Very concise and thoughtful post, by the way.

      • April 6, 2009 10:01 am

        I appreciate it.

        Yeah, it’s a great rule. Until you realize the people who should follow it won’t know to follow it.

Trackbacks

  1. Seven steps to get your company blogging « Birmingham Blogging Academy

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