In 2014, federal agencies felt pressure to do more with less. In 2015, those same agencies must better communicate their value in order to achieve their goals. Crafting compelling and digestible content across multiple platforms assists in justifying investments, increasing external awareness, and creating buy-in. The wide use of online platforms is growing, with a few strong federal contenders and more than a few flops. Blogging is especially challenging, but a valuable asset to government entities. When executing your successful digital plan this New Year, build a robust blogging strategy and don’t make these common six mistakes. 1. Lacking a mission focus: There are millions of blogs on the web. If you want to be the authoritative voice on your agency’s focus area or niche, keep the blog focused. Clarity is the first step to achieving big success.
2. Inconsistency: Readers are drawn to quality blogs with a consistent publishing schedule. Don’t post sloppy work or go long periods without posting. One well thought out blog a week, at the same time of day, is a good start. Blogging is a long-term commitment and you won’t see a return on investment immediately, so be patient. Build trust with readers so they give you more of their time in the future.
3. Audience disconnect: Who is your targeted audience? How can you connect with them? Hint: it’s not always by writing about what you are interested in. Write on topics in your focus area that your readers want to hear about and then interact with them.
4. Jargon: Authors think complexity is a sign of intelligence. It’s not. Cut the jargon and write simply, succinctly, and with sophistication.
5. Social media: In the current digital age, it’s not enough to write a blog and publish it. With so much useful content out there, your blog will go unnoticed unless you create multiple avenues for readers to access it.
6. Obvious advertising: There is a dark side to communicating your value through blogs or other online platforms. Sure, this is a great opportunity to create buy-in, but don’t sell yourself all the time. A good rule: if you don’t have something interesting to post, don’t post at all.
7. Publishing Press Releases: It’s tempting to simply post press releases on your blog. They’re already written and contain all the information you want to publish. But press releases are formatted for journalists and formal publications. Your readers and stakeholders want information that is easy to digest. When posting information from a press release to your blog make sure to edit the content for a blog.
If you avoid these common mistakes, followers will struggle not to read on. Above all, remember that your audience wants to learn from your experience in, and knowledge of, the federal space.