Stand by...

You're about to be redirected to

May 10, 2006

Why don't you blog, dammit?

Zach over at Gulo Solutions asks:

My thought is associations just aren't well enough informed or aware of the power blogging can have. So why aren't people in associations understanding how to leverage blogs?
Who cares how powerful blogging is? Power is an abstract and amorphous feature.

The problem is that association executives haven't been educated on the benefits of blogging. Show them how blogging increased a client's web traffic by 31%. Show people how blogging engaged a new generation of members in the association. Show how blogging helped increase their membership renewals by 2%.

This is what matters to association executives. Not that blogging is powerful. In fact, its power is probably scaring off quite a few association executives, which Zach alluded to.

Oh, and don't use a technology association as your case study. Choose a medical society or an agricultural trade association or a distribution association.

And shoving blogging down the throats of boards is definitely a bad idea. Unless you're trying to get fired, that is.

Here are two other obstacles: Usually it's not the board of directors or the executive director blocking blogging initiatives. From what I'm hearing, there's usually an internal staff debate on who would be responsible, whether or not blogging fits into the mission of the organization, meshes with other initiatives, and etc. The other obstacle is time.

Tagged: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;


Jeff De Cagna said...

If associations are still debating whether blogging fits with their mission, they shouldn't blog. The irony is that while they bicker about it, they will miss a series of golden opportunities to make progress on the very ideals embodied in those statements.

Today's world moves way too fast for the vast majority of associations. We cannot slow it down. We have to move more quickly. If we can't, we'll get run over, and we'll have no one but ourselves to blame.

Zach Wilson said...

Ben, you couldn't be more spot on. What you mentioned about site traffic and adding members is something that we talk a lot about here...where I should have gone with what was that power in the software facilitates exactly those trends. Thanks for making that connection!

In terms of the debate, who is responsible; shouldn't that be an easy one? Everybody is responsible for what they post. This is exactly the fear I was alluding to. It is just like the work you do from day-to-day. You are accountable for your actions, nobody else. Therefore you should be held accountable for whatever you post. I think part of the agenda of the blog should be to stir things up a bit, get people talking, get them interacting. On the flip side, if no one wants to be held responsible for posting new information or new content, then hire writers from within the organization. Pay a few people a couple hundred dollars a month to blog. Then you'll get your content and you'll have the burden stripped from the internal staff.

Ben said...

Zach, besides the obvious task of authoring the blog, someone on staff needs to be responsible for coming up with a blogging strategy in line with the association's mission. This shouldn't be overlooked, and is actually one of the FIRST things that should be done. The strategy doesn't have to be perfect or permanent, but it should be clearly articulated at the outset.

Jeff, I agree that the world is changing too quickly for the comfort of most assn execs. But, if you're trying to assert that associations have already missed the boat on blogging, well, I will have to disagree. I think blogging's best days are in front of us, depite my earlier claims to the contrary (which I later backed down from). The release of Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Vista will be watershed moments for blogs because they will both have RSS support baked in. I predict RSS subscriptions will skyrocket once IE 7 and Vista get into the mainstream.

Rick Johnston, CAE said...

The association business is really all about forming and nuturing relationships, with and among our members. Meetings are a great place to do this. But for most associations, the majority of our constituents seldom make the meetings.

Blogs offer a great way of presenting information in a very personal way and that's what people want. I'm working with two large associations now that are seriously considering the use of blogs for both the association itself and for individual members.

Much of the knowledge in any given industry in still in people's heads and never gets shared. We need to find better ways for people share what they know. Blogs are one great way to do just that.