Nothing new under the sun really

I was put on the spot by one of our Insider Programme members the other day, who said: “Chris, I know we’re late to the party, but if we wanted to set up a company blog tomorrow, to enhance our website and start to build a requested circulation for what we put on it, how would you advise we go about it?” After ascertaining that the company had probably no more than about £750 a month to invest in the project, and very little internal resources, here’s what I suggested. Set up a blog within the company website (cost about £1000) and call it something like “Creative uses of [widget] technology monthly” – something which would appeal to any customer or prospect. Then find yourself a decent technical writer, and get them to write up a single good case study of your company’s products in action each month. It might be more efficient for them to write several at a time, it’s nice to have some in reserve. The budget mentioned should be easily sufficient for a writer’s time and expenses.

Don’t focus on your company’s widgets at all; focus on the customer – especially the individuals – and the challenge they faced. The use of your widgets should be almost incidental to the story, although if the customer wanted to mention the support provided, that’s great. Ensure the customer provides (or you take) first-class photography. Build the story around the phrase “[generic widgets] in [generic application]”. Set up the blog so that it publishes automatically to an opt-in email circulation as well as RSS, and is flagged up on Twitter. Promote this new monthly publication to your existing customers and prospects: it’s quite legitimate to send them the first issue but make it clear that if they want future ones, they’ll need to sign up to the circulation.

What do you get out of this? Something which enhances your company website no end: a continually-expanding library of application stories. Your own steadily-expanding circulation of interested customers and prospects who want to know about the sorts of projects you’ve been involved in. A product which lends itself to being passed on from customers and prospects who you do know, to those you don’t. And an overall package which will help no end in building “long tail” traffic from search engines. Apart from setting up the blog in the first place (and we can put you in touch with someone to do this for you, if you wish), there’s nothing in the project which you might not have done 25 years ago.

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