I’m moving again, virtually. Here it is http://userexperience.robertjneal.com.
July 13, 2008
February 18, 2008
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Blogging has become a major resource for organizations to reach out to their constituents. It has been incorporated into the overall interactive strategy for reaching out to the organization’s base, and rightly so. But many organizations are failing in this opportunity. Some are underachieving by, for example, not creating posts that are findable. Others are overachieving by, for instance, not keeping their content relevant and trying to saturate a keyword. I will provide some steps to making your blog a resource without turning it into a tool. Furthermore, I will elucidate why the constituent benefits, rather than how the organization benefits. This is important on the assumption that organizations should be at the service of their constituents rather than the opposite and is defended at the end of this post.
First, Lee Odden recommends creating a list of keywords to use as a target reference when blogging1,2. The reason to do this is not so that you can barrage your visitors with abused buzz/key words, and not to beat your competition by having more keyword density and focus. Rather the idea of keeping your content focused and relevant is (1) so you do not mislead your reader, that is to say you always stay within the realm of your blogs intended subject matter, (2) so you only attract relevant readers and do not have subscribers who really have no interest in your blog staying on and you do not have subscribers coming and going making your beautiful statistics look like a roller coaster, and (3) you’re not wasting your time or anyone else’s.
Scott McAndrew recommends participating in the larger blogger community3. This should not be to increase your exposure or get links back to your blog. Rather it is to (1) contribute to your peer group, (2) ask questions and inform yourself which in turn increases your expertise and value to the community, and (3) makes it easier for people to find relevant information. This last point seems like it could be about exposure, okay it is about exposure, kind of. The relevant difference is that the exposure should be about benefiting the readers, not the blogger. Comments on blogs should be acutely relevant and used conservatively.
Both Odden and McAndrew recommend submitting your blog to search engines and using trackbacks, pinging, etc. Again, these should be used to help the reader find relevant information and should not be used to spam a certain keyword, search engine, or aggregator.
Ankesh Kothari says that adding a picture is known to double traffic to a blog post4. Although he does not cite sources, adding relevant images can enhance the readability and usability of your post. For example, my previous post could have benefited greatly from screen shots with highlighted areas of the presidential campaign sites that I was critiquing. Instead, I obfuscated my intent and message by requiring the reader to visit the site and find the issues herself. I may very well go back and update that post.
These are just a few examples of how creating a blog well worth reading is really the core of strategy. In fact, I think you will find that it falls in line with whatever moral theory you subscribe to. Whether you agree with Kant that you should not only do what is right, but do it because it is right or if you are a consequentialist and believe in increasing overall benefit. For just a little extra effort, you greatly increase the benefit to your reader base and for the right reasons.
Now this may seem like a trivial point. It may seem like any suggestion for blogging or interactive strategy can be shown to be beneficial to the user instead of predominantly to the organization. But my assertion is that what will take you from being able to implement any of the thousand lists of best practices for your strategy to creating lists of your own is the user centric principles. Whether you formally define personas or simply regard the welfare of others as much as your own, you will see that your perspective is greatly enhanced by leaving egoism behind. Anyway, egoism is an inconsistent and selfish moral theory that should only plausibly be used by those interested solely in marketing.
- Odden, Lee Blog Optimization
- Odden, Lee 25 Tips for Marketing Your Blog
- McAndrew, Scott How to promote a blog for free
- Kothari, Ankesh How To Double The Popularity of Your Blog Posts
Homework: Find any of the hundreds of lists on how to promote your site or blog and determine what the best route is. Is it user centric or organization centric? Is it that simple? If no, why not? If yes, then perhaps this is the first step to having the ability to create your own list.