By Nikki Black
As a recent college grad, I can tell you that blogs have become the new reading journals- at least three of my classes last year required I keep a blog updated regularly with commentary pertaining to the course. The reasons for this are obvious- blogs allow for a continued discussion, with comments, hyperlinks and every type of media able to be hosted.
Discussion is the key word here. It’s important for writers to remember that when blogging, the end goal is not to put something out into the Internet to be merely looked at, but to be engaged. There are a few things that can get in the way of this, and one of the biggest blocks I have encountered is the inability to write conversationally. This can be especially important for tech companies, or any field, for that matter, where jargon can get in the way of reaching a larger audience. The best example of conversational blogging I can think of is wunderkind Tavi Gevinson, who took the blogoshpere by storm at the age of 13 and is still getting invited to high-profile fashion events three years later. I’m convinced her success is due to her incredible ability to write like an actual person as much as it is her eye for fashion. Follow her lead, and don’t be afraid to tap into your inner snarky teenager when appropriate.
Discussion between blogs is important, as well, and helps to build a community around your own blog: link to other blogs and there’s a better chance of them linking to you, make sure to respond to comments and to comment on blogs of related subject matter. Even big companies, like American Airlines, are now taking the time to personally respond to tweets in which they are mentioned, generating interest and keeping the conversation going. Sites like Buzzfeed will often ask readers to post their own version of a meme in the comments section, or answer a question posed in the post, such as, “What is your favorite 90’s summer jam?” The question is not important, but the attempt to engage an audience certainly is.
The importance of a company’s online presence cannot be ignored, but diving into the web doesn’t have to be scary. Just remember what your mom used to tell you on the first day of school: make friends, be yourself and, if all else fails, link to a Maru video.