We’ve written a few posts about blogging and its importance in bringing your mission and message to light. You also know the value of blogging to search engine optimization (SEO) and providing a forum for new content and keywords. But what can allowing your members to blog bring to your online community?
1. Members enjoy a platform. In the past organization websites have been focused on providing the visitor with as much information about the group as possible. With Web 2.0 and social media, we are now seeing a desire for exchange between your group and your members/individuals interested in you. Providing blog privileges (a guest post is good but a standing blog is better) allows the members of your online community to tell you what they think on a platform that’s more robust (and circulateable — if that’s even a word) than a comments section at the bottom of your blog. You’ll get to know your bloggers in a more personal way.
2. Members feel invested. There’s a certain amount of pride involved with being empowered to give your opinion on topics of your choosing. You’ll find members will bring with them an audience or forward their work through RSS feeds, emails, etc., driving more traffic to your online community. Being a blogger gives them a buy-in, a responsibility to your site, as they will feel partly behind your success. Let them feel that way, encourage it. The more content they provide, the less time you have to spend creating it.
3. Members like unique. As much as your members may love you and your pithy tone, having another “voice” to read breaks up the monotony of a single poster, not to mention different viewpoints bring different content.
4. Members need career help. It might seem a stretch but it is possible to blog your way to a career, especially if what your poster is blogging about revolves around a professional industry. Offering blog capabilities on your organization’s website allows your members to be noticed for their writing skills, insights and community building. They can place a blog URL on their professional profile, resume and email signature. And in case you missed the possibility in this one — this too drives traffic. A popular blog can lead to your member being seen as an expert in your industry and wouldn’t it be great to be able to say this “industry expert” is a member of your community and blogs regularly?
5. Members want fun. Blogging in a member community allows members to experiment with their voice and choice of topics. It gives them an instant audience and lends itself quickly and easily to networking as you are all part of the same member community. Unlike posts on some of the larger blogging sites, where it may take months to get noticed, your audience is already interested in the blog topic at hand.
Blogging is a great way to improve your SEO rankings, site traffic and member interaction but when you allow members to post their own blogs on your online community site you are doing so much more. With very little time or energy on your part, you can encourage and maintain a vibrant online community through member blogging.