For those of you staffing CEO's or marketing executives trying to grapple with social media, blogs and other Web 2.0 components, I thought I would tell you about a conversation I had with a friend of mine.
My friend is the VP of marketing for the treasury division of a one of the country's largest banks. The treasury division is obviously a business-to-business component of the bank. Since I am writing this to you in a blog, our conversations were about blogs and the ability to reach target markets with them.
Blogs, blogging and the illiterate
Clearly, Staffing Industry Analysts values the blog, because here I sit writing to you in that forum. But Tracey, my friend the bank VP wasn't so sure. Here were her concerns:
- We try to publish a quarterly newsletter, and we find that we barely have enough content for that - where would I get additional content for the blog.
- I could assign the writing of a the blog to one of our executives, but I am not sure they can write, and then we would sound like functional illiterates to our audience.
- Then if my executive wrote the blog once, how could I encourage the executive to keep on writing, because the blog has to be updated at least weekly and I know our executive team is busy.
- Do people really have time to read our blog. I realize the value of the blog in terms of positioning us as thought leaders, helping with our brands, but I don't hang out on Web sites and read blogs.
- If I pushed the blog to our customers, it might get lost in the other communications that we offer them and then it doesn't get read anyway.
I think all of Tracey's comments and thoughts are legitimate. So the questions remain, do blogs have value, when, by whom and how do you get them read?
Value, placement and writing
As staffing executives and fellow marketing colleagues, getting your message to the person, then read, then acted on is the business we are in. At Staffing Industry Analysts we use a couple of techniques for the placement and writing of our blogs that might help all of you.
- First, everyone at Staffing Industry Analysts has been asked to write in our blog. Yes, we do have professional writers and yes we have an editorial staff who can make us all sound better - the point is, it is no one's job, but everyone's job. That is a strategy you can employ. Allow your staff to blog. Let's face it, some of your staff members are going to be better writers than others, some of them are going to enjoy the task more - but isn't that the point. Those who like to do it will do it and you will have content. It is easy to create constraints and topics for people to write about, and that is something you should probably do. That's why the marketing blog is posted monthly.
- Content - as any writing coach offers - write about what you know. I am the marketing person, and although I know something about staffing through osmosis, past experience, that is not my role at Staffing Industry Analysts - so I don't write about the staffing market - I write about marketing. The point here is - have your recruiters write about recruiting, have your account executives write about account management, have your marketing people write about marketing. All of that adds value to your customers and positions your company as a thought leader.
- Our blogs are distributed in a couple of different ways. First, they are posted to our Web site. The content is tagged so it can show up in searches, but it also allows the casual observer to just read something interesting. We also distribute our blogs in the Staffing Industry Analysts Daily News. The Daily News is distributed to a large, diverse audience and it does help drive traffic to our website, and get the content in the hands of our readers. Additionally, we have alerts on our system. For those of you who use the alerts, you have chosen certain topics, and you receive the Staffing Industry Analysts Research Bulletin, another method of getting our content in the hands of our readers. o a lesser extent, our blog is tagged to be searched in Google. Getting Google to pick up your blog can be a challenge, but keep on trying, it will eventually show up. The point here is, don't just post your blog to your Web site and hope people read it, push it out in combination with other distribution vehicles and your blogs will get read.
- For those of us of a certain age, the whole social media - Web 2.0 thing can be a bit overwhelming. We don't spend hours and hours texting our friends, we don't 'hang out' on Friendster, YouTube or MySpace. We use our computers as tools, not as entertainment or for social gathering. But, there is a whole generation of people who do use the Internet for all of those things and more. From a recruiting point of view, this is where you are going to find your candidates. So blogs and visibility on YouTube and MySpace are important. You need to get your message out at the 'place' it will be read or seen. It isn't all that different from traditional marketing, the medium has just changed.
Here's a tip for getting started. If you are a subscriber to Staffing Industry Analysts' services, you have a topic for your blog. Simply read something that we wrote and create a position around it that supports what your company does and go off on that thought leadership path for your customers. Every day, week and month, Staffing Industry Analysts can give your team a platform for something to write about. Not only our content, but case studies of your customers also work conversations with your friends and colleagues can also be topics for your blog.
Keys to success:
- Write about what you know
- Care about your audience
- Be consistent
- Get your message out
Happy blogging! Would love to hear back from any and all about your blogging experiences. See you next month.