Six months ago, I would advise clients to consider starting a blog. You can show your expertise, I would explain, give your target audience something new to check out, and so forth.
I don't think anybody heeded my suggestion. Seemed like so much busy work, I'm sure.
At the time, I was "too busy" to get one started myself. My own business didn't have a blog, so, naturally, my counsel was half-hearted. And when you get right down to it, my recommendation was so much hypocrisy.
Then, in late May, my fantastically creative and talented web designer, Sherri Lasko, blew my cover. She built a gem of a website for Inside Edge: Public Relations & Media Services. On the home page, a link in the upper left corner boldly declared: "Read Matt's PR Blog."
Now I was cornered--in that spot I would have to offer something other than "Matt's sterling PR musings coming soon!"
Today, having surpassed 100 Inside Edge PR blog posts, and more than 100 other blog posts for other clients (both publicly, such as I Do, Doggone It! and as a "ghost" blogger), my half-hearted tone has given way to wholehearted exhortation.
I urge my clients--and anyone else who asks--to join the blogosphere. Not for its own sake, but for the structure it creates for your overall communications strategy (you do have a strategy, don't you?).
In the process of blog-letyzing ("blog prosletyzing"), I walk people through some of my own posts, not because I'm so great, but because it allows me to show them how much this blog has developed in that time--and how much more it's bound to go as I continually refine it.
For one thing, I know how to create attractive, flowing links such as this one for Oak Park's Shop The Village program, one of my current projects.
For another thing, to help attract and retain interest, I now have embedded videos, photographs and other images frequently popping up in this space. (Thanks for telling me candidly that the site was drab, Bridgett!)
The blog also allows an individual to communicate the depth and breadth of his or her organization's distinctive place in the world. Oh, and it can attract traffic with certain key words, such as Barack Obama, Matt Damon, the Boston Red Sox and Kermit the Frog (now you know why his smiling mug is above).
If you're successful to any degree, you are bound to have so much happening all the time that it's easy to have significant accomplishments and other newsworthy fodder slip through the cracks.
"I'll get back to that some time," you might say. Before you know it, you've said that dozens, even hundreds of times, and there's little chance you're going to have the time to circle back and adequately chronicle that newsy nugget.
Then, when it comes time to identify story ideas, you stare at a blank piece of paper and wonder where to begin.
If nothing else, a blog helps enforce a regular discipline of noting significant developments in your organization. Through that process, story ideas gush forth naturally.
I've seen it happen time and again, most recently the other day with one of my "ghost" blog clients. Because my blogging is behind-the-scenes, I can only offer more detail if you ask me about it 1-on-1.
Now how's that for a marketing hook?