National Blog Posting Month. Seriously. Often abbreviated as
NaBloPoMo, the month-long exercise launched in November 2006 as a
way to celebrate the discipline of blog writing. So we wanted to
take this opportunity to talk about why blogs are an increasingly
important communications tool.
Before we talk about the benefits of blogs, let's talk about
some common concerns about blogs that may be deterring you from
jumping on the blog bandwagon:
Blogs are frivolous or less valuable/important than
traditional writing. This is patently untrue. Blogs allow
for more out-of-the-box thinking and creativity and give us an
outlet to present information in new ways. This is a good thing,
and it doesn't mean that blogs are less informative.
Anyone can be a blogger, which means unqualified people
can spread misinformation. Because blogging is so
ubiquitous, it is true that "anyone" can be a blogger. But although
someone lacks the credentials of a trained journalist, they may be
far more qualified to speak about a given issue. For example, a
patient who blogs about their illness is a far more qualified
source than a third-party journalist.
"Mainstream" media is more legitimate. This is
an error on the part of many PR companies, according to David
Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of
Marketing and PR.
Why You Should be Reading Blogs
Blogs are accessible. If you have access to the
Internet-either through a computer or a handheld device-you have
access to blogs. And they are everywhere. Google something,
anything. And then click on the "More" button. From that dropdown,
select blogs. Your world just opened up to something amazing.
Blog posts are scannable. Or at least they
should be. Subheads, images, bulleted lists, bolded text-these all
make it so much easier to read than blocks and blocks of text.
Blogs posts are digestible. Written to be quick
reads with links to more in-depth information, blog posts provide
something you can read on a short break without requiring too great
of a time commitment.
Why You Should be Writing Blogs
As health communicators, we face the same challenges that every
other communicator or marketer faces. Our audience is constantly
bombarded with messages-so much so that they tune most of them out.
How do you get heard through the noise? A blog is one of the
easiest and quickest ways to shape conversations with your
With a blog, there's no waiting for press coverage of your
organization: YOU are the content producer. YOU decide what to say
and when to say it. It's a powerful communications tool. According
to David Meerman Scott, "The readers of blogs view the information
shared by smart bloggers as one of the few forms of real, authentic
communication." But you have to maintain that authenticity. Here
are some tips:
- Encourage people to contact you and then make
it easy for them to do so.
- Don't constantly write about your company or your
product. Your audience can smell a marketing ploy from a
mile away-and they don't like it.
- Involve other bloggers in your community and
be a regular commenter on other blogs. One of the best things about
blogs is that they are interactive-but only if you interact!
- Share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, and
other relevant social media sites. Be proud of what your
Blog writing can be intimidating, but you shouldn't let that
hold you back. So as you sit back and read your favorite blogs
during National Blog Posting Month, ask yourself: could I (should
I) be blogging?
Here are a few of our favorite blogs:
The Happiness Project: Http://www.gretchenrubin.com
100 Days of Real Food: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/
Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
Not Running a Hospital: http://runningahospital.blogspot.com/
David Meerman Scott: