Be warned. This is a public service announcement and a scolding. If you don't want to hear it, turn the page now. It's about your blog.
I know you had good intentions. I know you were told by some content marketing expert that you absolutely had to have one on your business website or you were just nobody.
But MySpace was still a thing the last time you posted. I think I saw a Gangnam Style reference near the top.
There's almost no better tool than a blog for positioning yourself as a thought leader and your brand as a go-to tech provider, provided you wield that tool well. The ability to talk directly to customers looking to engage with you and form relationships is incredibly valuable.
Interesting blog content is one of the top reasons that consumers give for following a brand on social media. Many have made a purchase based on a blog post. A good blog can do great things.
Then there's your blog. Left to die on the vine, as so many are, it is an excellent way to tell potential customers you just don't care enough.
Now, as someone who spends a good part of his day blogging, I want to offer some advice for getting back on track.
If you have no intention of updating it, log into your CMS, drag that section into the trash, delete the link from the homepage and be done with it. Seriously, kill it: do it now. It's hurting you more than it's helping you.
Many IT channel blogs have just three posts. One: "Hello, world." Two: what I saw at a trade show; and three: a re-blog of a loosely related trade magazine story (with a passionate intro that says "found this sorta interesting" or whatever). And then, silence; like a neutron bomb went off, killing the author but leaving the old content standing in grim memoriam.
A big part of what keeps people from posting is perfection paralysis. But perfection is the enemy of "done", except on the barbecue. Not every blog post needs to be long, or of magazine quality. And remember that it gets easier with practice.
Your business has many informed voices with smart things to say that customers want to read. Build a culture of blogging in the organisation and invite everyone to participate.
And think beyond your own walls; there are partners and clients who might make excellent guest bloggers and can tell your story from a perspective that really hits home with customers.
This is not the place for sales pitches. Instead, think of yourself as a teacher. This is a way to answer customer questions and satisfy their needs and curiosity. This is not to say you shouldn't include a call to action that helps readers discover your service, but nix the jargon and fluff. Instead, be conversational, even fun.
You can also use your blog to solicit comments and questions from readers and engage new customers in new ways. Blogs are great when you're trying to get a sense of how trends and market shifts are affecting users. Ask your readers. They'll let you know.
One hang-up that bloggers often encounter comes when they realise that not everyone is going to like what they say. But strong ideas tend to spark strong reactions. Raise your comfort level with feedback of all kinds, and stick to your guns.
That's what thought leaders do.
Sometimes the best thing to address in a blog is an uncomfortable situation - a glitch, an educational rough spot , a price hike. And be gracious too, acknowledging the good fortunes of customers, partners, other channel influencers and even your competitors.
Readers will respect you for it and you might just find the outsiders reciprocating on their own blogs.
Chris Gonsalves is vice president of editorial at Channelnomics
For more US-focused channel coverage, see www.channelnomics.com
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