I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about blogs – a topic sure to inspire guffaws from a generation older than mine and a word that is quickly becoming dated to a generation younger than me.
Blogs began as primitive provinces almost exclusively the domain of the “enthusiast” class. Part of the initial impetus was to provide platforms for topics so arcane that they rarely elicit articles in “mainstream” news sources. In short, they were opportunities to go really deep into the weeds.
The other origin of blogs can be traced to the outgrowth of the comments section of physical newspapers and then online news websites. When one became particularly passionate about a current development or a political philosophy, a blog went up.
Looking at an environment punctuated by nerdom and blowhards, those now in their 40s and 50s developed a disdain for blogs, giving the word a negative connotation and – at times – excluding this publishing format from business communication plans.
Today, the line between blogs and news channels is sufficiently blurred so as to create a new distinction. Old-school blogs on cult TV shows beget content aggregators like The Huffington Post, which beget news channels like Re/Code and Politico. So, perhaps the best way to encourage professional services companies to create “blogs” is really to not use the word at all.
The backbone of blogs remains the same – a powerful, virtually no-cost, self-publishing platform with multimedia capabilities able to broadcast to the world. As much as I personally lament it, print media is in decline and in transition – likely to a hybrid physical/online format that has yet to fully take shape. This means professional services companies – whose products are services driven by thought-leadership – need to actively create, nurture and market distinct news channels to ensure their messages are heard.
Briefly, here is a list of essential requirements:
- Mission statement – a thematic niche or a series of interrelated niches housed under a unifying umbrella. Not the “XYZ Co. Blog.”
- A definable target audience – which a reader should be able to define, too.
- A clear voice, driven by a small editorial team versus a hodgepodge of authors.
Creating rich, targeted news channels that complement professional services brands is a worthwhile endeavor. Consider asking your marketing and business development team their thoughts. If you redefine, and maybe replace the word “blog,” entirely new opportunities to engage clients and potential clients with your content may emerge.