I am in the middle of guiding some new bloggers over at Marketing Conversation on how to blog most effectively. It is pretty exciting and instructive because there are many things I take for granted. One of the biggest trends I see is internal shorthand. What I mean is that my bloggers tend to write based on a lot of assumed context. When they write my company name, they might choose AH instead of Abraham Harrison; and, since that AH is on a corporate blog, they might forget to link it to the best page in the corporate Web site.
They simply assume that people who are reading content from Marketing Conversation or Because the Medium is the Message–or even an article on the corporate Website–are in on the joke. That they grok the context.
Not only is that not true but it is dangerous, because I am guilty of it myself. I would say north of 80% of the people I engage with on a daily basis online don’t know that I am president of a digital agency with over fifty staff and dozens of clients. See, I make the same assumptions.
I assume that I shouldn’t be so self-referential because “they” surely know who I am by now, I have been branding for years. Pretty darn shamelessly if you ask me — at least I thought so. Not so.
And I have not even gotten to the most important part: even if people know who you are, what you do, the company you own, and its products and services intimately, their brand perception hasn’t evolved at the speed of your business. What I did in 2006 is quite a bit different than what Abraham Harrison does now, as a company.
Even worse, after we spend all of this time, resources, hours, money, and brain trust on creating insightful analysis and share it for free on our blogs and via Twitter and Facebook, we’re living in a Derridian world: “there’s nothing outside the text.” Let me explain . . .
In a world of excerpting, reading, sharing, retweeting, and sharing shares, or decontextualized via RSS or auto spamblogs, simply all of the breadcrumbs required to bring a reader down the road back to you, your brand, and your sales channel needs to be contained not only in that blog post but also in that tweet, if possible.
Each post needs to be as self contained as a biosphere.
You need everything that you could possibly need to have your post make sense on the same page, within the same post–for three reasons:
- If you’re quoting another post, excerpt as much of that content to make your point and make it unnecessary to need to link out to read that other article–they won’t make it back
- If you don’t have everything sorted out, completely contextually-inclusive both with references as well as with your branding, your products and services, all on your article’s back, then something might get left behind
- If everything’s not completely clear and tidy and tied with a bow–fully sorted–then you’ll lose them anyway because you need to grab them in short-order, every time.
Do not use acronyms unless your brand is that acronym. Abraham Harrison, LLC, is not yet AH or even AHLLC–we’re no IBM. Abraham Harrison should always be linked. Every name of every employee should be linked to their bio on the corporate website at best case or to a LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook profile at the very least. Every product or service should be linked to its exact corresponding sub-page on the corporate website if at all possible.
In blogging, we often do a much better job of linking to other people, companies, and blogs in the form of attribution than we do ourselves.
Even more essential to these constantly contextualizing linking strategies is that the keywords should be hyperlinked and not some worthless [link] or a pithy here or there or my work or any of that, if at all possible.
Search abhors a pronoun.
Finally, any and all posts should be wrapped in analysis, if at all possible. Don’t just excerpt a social media news article onto your blog or site, make it your own. While collecting news and propagating it through your blog with attribution links and excerpts and all that can result in your colleagues and neighbors and even prospects to learn of your existence, you’re not really adding value when you just propagate–it is essential to interpret, analyze, and synthesize, allowing all the marrow of your experience to be extracted in answer to, “well, that’s great content, but it is content from your competitor so maybe we should be using them instead of you if they’re so insightful.”
In a perfect world, with a corporate blog, people should be subscribing to and reading posts on Marketing Conversation in order to learn more about the products and services and quality of mind of Abraham Harrison and not just to get an aggregation of the latest social media marketing news.
Sometimes I forget that and it is something I would like to share with you in addition to sharing it with my new bloggers.