Do you have a blog on your chamber website? Are you wracking your brain for ideas on what to post? And are you dreading that day (or days) you’ve set aside to generate content? Chamber blogging doesn’t have to be a pain.
If you can create a process and figure out where and how to spend your time and resources, it’s a terrific way to keep your website alive and looking “lived in” because of updated content.
Whether you have a blog and are struggling to keep it populated, or you’re thinking about starting a blog but are worried about upkeep and commitment, we’re here to help.
The Bad News About Chamber Blogging
The bad news about chamber blogging isn’t bad at all if your goal is for it to be a successful part of your chamber marketing strategy.
If you’re blogging just because you love to write and you don’t want to tie your time into any sort of business return, then stop reading now and go on writing.
For most chamber pros, we want to see a return on our time and build a meaningful resource for our community all while impressing the search engines with our valuable content.
If those are your goals, the “bad” news is this:
- You need to post consistently.
“Once in a while” chamber blogging isn’t going to have the marketing impact you want and it won’t make your blog a valued resource.
- You need to post about things people in your community care about.
Just posting up “words” isn’t going to impact your SEO results. What moves the dial is providing relevant content that your audience cares about and will read and interact with.
- You need to commit resources to blogging.
At the very least, that means time. It may also mean money to hire someone. Your time is valuable. Is it best used in writing or managing your chamber.
- You need to promote posts once they are published.
That means sharing on social media, in groups, in your newsletter, talking about it on your podcast or other marketing avenues. Too many bloggers think that posting is the end of the blogging process, but promoting is even more important.
If you’re able to commit to these basics, you are well on your way to a successful blog.
The Good News About Blogging
Blogging is a great way to:
- help your community see a lighter side of you and your staff
- let people get to know you, like and trust you
- establish your expertise and serve as a known resource they can refer to on their schedule
- give search engines high quality content to scan and potentially increase organic rankings
- drive traffic to your website and give them a reason to stay once they are there
- create content that can be used in other ways like social media and newsletters
- convert traffic into leads by giving people a reason to stay connected to you
- see the give and get principle (other wise known as the law of reciprocity) in action — you give, give, give valuable information and eventually you’ll get interest, a membership, or an event ticket purchase
All of those are great reasons to start regular chamber blogging but there’s no denying the work involved. However, since the benefits outweigh the costs, we’re going to show you how to receive the benefits of blogging in the most effective and efficient ways including content ideas and non-dues revenue potential.
6 Ways to Make Chamber Blogging Easier (and More Valuable)
One of the hardest parts of chamber blogging is coming up with content.
From idea generation to understanding what your audience wants and needs, there’s a lot of time involved in topics. Here are a few ways to cut down on that time.
Ask Your Members
Your members and community subject matter experts (SMEs) are a wealth of knowledge. It’s likely there are business people in your community who would love to contribute their know-how in a space where they will get recognized for it.
If you decide to approach members for content, make sure you take the time to create guest blogging policies. You want to ensure members produce quality pieces and ones that aren’t overly “salesy.” You want to have protocols in place that will save you time (like letting them know you expect a finalized blog post, not a draft that you’ll need to spend time editing).
Some chambers have had success monetizing this. If your blog reach/traffic is good or if someone understands the value your audience places on your content, a position as guest blogger could be a very coveted one that commands a price and offers a good return on investment.
Respond to an Issue
As wonderful as your community may be, you still likely face challenges or differences of opinions.
You can invite people to guest blog on different topics that are of importance to your area. If you do this, carefully communicate that the opinions do not necessarily reflect that of the chamber and do your best to offer both sides.
Some chambers who don’t endorse candidates use their blog as a forum for candidates to present ideas. If you do this, try to be as balanced as possible in the access of your platform.
The Content Marketing Bundle for Chamber Pros
This weekly subscription service delivers a blog post and social media images to your inbox every Sunday. Plus, it gives you access to a library of content with hundreds of articles and nearly 2,000 images.
These chamber blogging posts are tailored to the needs of your business members and you can customize them to include your own information in your community.
Repurpose Your Content
Whatever time you take to create a blog is not wasted time, nor should it be used only once.
Instead, use the content in multiple ways:
- Pull quotes out of your post and create image quotes from them.
- Read your posts and use them for podcasts or audio tips.
- Share and promote evergreen content periodically.
- Edited or update non-evergreen but still relevant topics with new information. This will make it even more valuable.
Serve Your Audience First
Give your audience what they want. Seth Godin made a name for himself writing punchy posts that could be read in less time than it took to wait for your coffee to cool.
You want interactions, time on page, and shares. That can be done with long or short blogs.
Blog styles are sort of like hemlines: popularity varies. People interact with, bookmark, and share long posts when the post is a complete resource on a subject–an ultimate guide, if you will. Longer posts rank higher on search results pages if they are well-written, of great interest and highly authoritative.
Short blogs are appealing to those who want something to think about or a quick answer (but very short answers get pulled into Googles “snippets” and never deliver a click). Write short posts occasionally if you want to share a concept readers can ruminate on, if you can be punchy or pithy like Seth’s, if your topic is highly memorable, or you want something that easy to consume.
Posting nothing but infrequent, short blogs will not help your site rank. Seth gets away with ranking well on only short posts because he posts daily, his entire blog is all on one page (through infinite scroll) and he’s been blogging (famously) for a very long time.
Use a wise combination of both if you want to maximize your rankings and interaction.
Keep a Swipe File
When you come across something that would make an interesting blog topic, make a note of it in your “swipe file.”
Save it to an app like Dropbox, Notes, an email draft, paper notebook, or spreadsheet of blog ideas (here’s a blog ideas article to start with). Do anything that will help you remember the topic when you need it. Don’t tell yourself that it’s so good you’ll remember it next Monday. You won’t.
If the topic was inspired by another post, save that article or blog post to an app like Pocket or save the hyperlink somewhere you’ll have easy access to it.
Always save content when you come across it. Don’t wait until you need it. By doing this proactively, you’ll save hours of tapping your head with your pencil or banging your head on the desk to the sound of deep sighs.
Final Tips for Better Blogging
Once you have content created, you’ll want to do a few final things to make sure your blog gets the exposure it needs to be the conversion vehicle and resource you want it to be.
- Check for grammar and spelling mistakes. They’re inevitable so give it another look before hitting publish.
- Publish/schedule it to publish at a time you know your audience is most active. This may not be Monday-Friday or even 9-5. Some audiences spend Sunday evening preparing for the work week ahead and posting then will get you more views and interaction.
- Blog reading is a passive activity. It’s akin to sitting on the couch watching Netflix. It’s hard to motivate someone to action in that position. Even so, every blog post should have a call to action at the end. Some chambers also use pop-ups at the end to get someone to subscribe to the blog or the newsletter. Another popular request is to ask them to share the content with their audience. Using share buttons is an easy way to do that.
- Use lots of space in your blog. Hit return often. Paragraphs needn’t be dense 7-8 sentence undertaking. One liners invite people to scan.
- Use amazing images.
- Create enticing titles.
Chamber blogging is an excellent way to connect with your audience and make search engines happy at the same time. It doesn’t have to be an exhausting effort if you follow these content creation ideas.