How to Use Blogs to Provide Updates to Your Online Community - dummies

How to Use Blogs to Provide Updates to Your Online Community

By Deborah Ng

In addition to taking to the social networks to cultivate and keep in touch with online community members, businesses and brands are embracing blogs as a method of keeping members in touch with the brand.

People often think of blogs as personal journals or hobby sites for writers to share their passion, but businesses have a lot to talk about as well. Because blogs have a conversational tone, aren’t as antiseptic as press releases and news articles, and allow for comments and conversation, they’re attractive to community members, who are happy to subscribe.

Plus, as the manager of a commercial blog, you never have a shortage of stuff to blog about:

  • Product news and updates: Share news about product launches, beta launches, upgrades, and more with the members of your community. Unlike social-networking sites and even forums to some extent, blogs allow a higher word count so that you can get into specific details.

  • Brand-related news: Even if you have no news to report about your company, you always have brand-related news to share. If your company makes chocolate bars, for example, and a new species of cocoa bean has been discovered on a remote mountain in South America, this topic certainly is blogworthy. It also interests members who don’t care to read only product information.

  • Inside information: Give readers a glance at the inner working of your company. Let them know what a typical day is like in each department. Show videos featuring brainstorming sessions or product manufacturing. Transparency is a good thing, and your readers will appreciate knowing that the folks behind the scene are human.

  • Contests and promotions: Alert your community members to sales, giveaways, contests, and other product promotions by blogging about them.

  • Photo essays: Post images of coworkers, the company picnic, or points of interest within your company headquarters. Host photo contests for your community members and get them involved as well.

  • Issues regarding products, services, or bad press: Use the company blog to address any bad press or issues that have come up regarding your business. This practice will create dialogue between you and your community members and ensure members’ trust.