Does your attraction, destination or organization have a blog? Should you?
A blog – a mashup of the words “web” and “log” – is a regularly updated journal that appears online. It can contain articles, poems, photo essays, short fiction, opinion pieces, infographics, interviews, news reports, whatever the author likes. Posts are displayed in the order they are published with the most recent appearing first.
Generally blogs reside within websites. Most web platforms and themes include a blogging option. You are reading a blog post right now. You can find all of The History Biz’s blog posts in our Library.
If you don’t have a website, your site doesn’t support blogging, or you want to keep your blog separate from your website for some reason, there are several free blogging platforms. Click here for an article that compares and contrasts the most popular ones.
The advantage to using a free blogging platform is you can be writing and publishing within a few minutes. This route makes sense if you’re not sure whether blogging is right for you and you want to experiment with it for a while.
If you find you do like blogging and plan to continue the practice, leave the free platform and move to your own website as soon as possible. Set up a new site if necessary. Publishing your material on a free blogging platform is a form of Digital Sharecropping. Click here to find out why that’s not a good idea.
Here are seven good reasons to take the plunge and give blogging a try plus one excellent reason not to.
You want to write a book. Blogging allows you to explore and organize your ideas. Your blog posts can be the basis of chapters. You will also get a sense for whether you have enough material for a book as well as whether you have enough interest in the subject to stick with it for the long haul.
You want to improve your writing. The only way to become a better writer is to write. A regular blogging practice will help you become more comfortable and develop confidence in your skills. Blogging may also help you discover your own style and find your voice as a writer.
You want to build authority. If you update your blog regularly, it won’t be long before you will have an impressive collection of posts on your topic, attraction, town, period or whatever you’re writing about. This can enhance your professional reputation as well as increase your credibility as an expert.
You want to build a community. Perhaps you want to attract new members, volunteers, or donors. Use your blog to reach out to the public, let people know what’s going on. Give them a behind the scenes look at your operation. If there’s something new in the works, let them know what you’re planning. Invite people to comment and engage with you.
You want to provide information. Are you looking for ways to give interested visitors more background about your site, attraction or destination than they are likely to get during a tour? Publish a post or series of posts about the people, the architecture, how your site fits into the region’s larger story, whatever you’d like to amplify. If you get the same questions over and over, create posts that answer them.
You’re looking for new program ideas. Popular posts can form the basis of offline programs. Pay attention to what people react to. You can also use your blog to invite readers to make suggestions. Ask them what type of programming they’d like to see.
You want to expand your professional network. Consider asking colleagues from other sites, locations or organizations to write guest posts for your blog. In return, offer to write posts for them. You may all benefit by reaching new people and this type of cooperation can open the door to collaborating in other ways.
Click here for some suggestions on what to blog about. The article was written for nonprofits but the ideas can certainly be adapted to many types of organizations.
There’s no question that blogging can lead to good things including interesting new opportunities. But it isn’t for everyone.
The single best reason not to blog is because you don’t want to. Maybe you don’t like writing or feel you have nothing to say. Perhaps your schedule is so packed you don’t have time to add another task.
Blogging requires an ongoing commitment. It takes time and energy. If the thought of posting new material on a regular basis makes you shudder, be kind to yourself. You have permission to pass.