There are a lot of "Social Media Experts" telling business that everyone should have a blog. Even though most blogs don't work, there are lots of examples of successful bloggers.
Blogging needs to be measured
When you are business blogging you should realise that it is just one format for your information and interaction. LEAN methodology says that we only do things that add value to our customers. Blogs can add value but we have to measure to see if there is value.
Do you have something to say
The easiest way to measure whether your blog could be successful even before you start blogging is to measure whether you have something interesting to say.
Don't blog if you have nothing to say
Assemble everyone in your organisation or department together. Not just marketing and sales, but everyone.
Brainstorm blog article ideas. Don't exclude any ideas, but write down everything from people's hobbies, team building activities, how you make the product, how your customers benefit, everything. You will quickly see if there is something worth saying.
The reality is that some businesses and people don't have much to say and so the chance of even writing the blog is limited, let along finding readers.
How many people read your blog
This seems a simple measure, but usually when I blog I am pushing people to the blog through twitter, linkedIn, facebook and through email newsletters. So you need to be able to determine not only how many people read your blog but where they came from.
The most basic measure of blog success is how many people read your blog
How many people follow your blog
Part of the point of having blog is that people will follow you. It is about measuring whether you have a long term relationship with your clients through your blog.
The problem is that a business can be followed in many ways and usually we want to focus on a main way that customers can follow us. Are we going to put our effort into creating followers through facebook or linkedIn, perhaps all our followers can be on twitter. We can also have lists of email addresses that we can use to push out information. Blogging is just another way to find followers. We don't need to try and get followers through all methods.
How many people share your blog
Someone said to me that this is not really a fair measure before most blog content is not something that you would want to share. Which is exactly my point. Blogs of food, cooking, travel, cool technology and so on are naturally shareable. But blogs of phone systems, business process management and extruded tubes are not something people are going to share.
Do people share your blog?
If you have content that is inherently shareable then blog it. This is where blogs become powerful. If your content is not that shareable then you you have to be creative and find things to say about your products and business that people might share. For example, having a dress up Friday or a raising money for charity are something that people might share.
How many people like and comment on your blog
Basically you want to engage people mostly through likes and comments. This is interesting because you get more interaction if you are a little controversial or confrontational. A safe accurate blog post isn't going to make this happen.
If I wrote a blog that says "Only idiots blog" I bet I can get more interaction. Clever bloggers push the limits, speak in absolutes, confront, shame and make people take sides. But great bloggers find amazing and interesting ways to entertain their audience.
How many people search your blog
One advantage of blogging is that people can find your blog through an Internet search. This drives traffic to your page and on to sales. Many companies make products that don't fit into a specific category or market, so writing blogs about how different market segments benefit from the product they are able to help more people identify the product as something that will help them.
If however most searches land on only a few of your blog posts, then your blog is not really effective and it would be better to have that information on the main pages of your website.
On one hand sales is the most important measure of many blogs. Does your blogging turn into contacts, that turn into inquiries, and does all this turn into a sale?
Why we blog when it often doesn't matter
We blog because it is an easy option to activate on our website. We can blog without planning or organisation. We also blog because we get told to blog.
Smart businesses should only put effort in where it add values to our customers. Measure your blogs to see if it adds value.