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The 4 Es of Great Blogging - 2/16/2010 -

In your next association blog post, try to combine two or three of these content elements and see what kind of response you get.

By Denise Wakeman

WHEN YOU HAVE AN ASSOCIATION BLOG, great content is essential. To make certain your content is compelling and valuable, check your posts against the four Es of blog content: Educate, Entertain, Engage, and Enrich. Not every blog post is going to do all four, yet when you strive to meet one or more of the Es, your content will have greater impact on members.

  1. Educate. Focus your content on educating your member or reader. Posts that educate may include how-tos, case studies, and Q&As. When you think of blogging, think of the times that you have answered a member's question by email. That is content—content that you can use on your blog as a blog post. You can bet that if you get that question one or two times from different members, there are a lot of people (members and potential members) who want that information. Q&As from members make great educational posts.
  2. Entertain. Consider adding video posts to your blog. The very nature of video generally makes it entertaining. You shoot a video, upload it to a site like YouTube, and then embed the code on your blog. Immediately, you are entertaining your members because they can see you and your gestures, they can see your body language, and they can see your facial expressions—and that's an excellent way to engage people and entertain them. Even 'talking head' videos can be entertaining because of the immediacy of the connection with you.
  3. Engage. Ask your members and readers to do something. How do you engage them so they keep coming back? One way is with a poll. When you engage people, they're participating, and that gets them more involved with you and your association. As a result, you build your relationship a little bit deeper. There are many free polling sites like vizu.com and polldaddy.com. Simply set up an account, type in the question you want to ask, put in a couple of choices for answers, click a button, they give you the code, and you paste it into your site. Pretty easy.

    When you send the link to your poll out to all of your association's Twitter followers and Facebook fans, pretty soon you've got lots of people coming to your blog.

    The other way to engage people is to encourage them to comment. Often, to get people to interact, you have to call them to action. You have to tell them what to do. Write, "Click on the comment link below, and let me know what you think about this post.” You've got to tell readers what to do, and that engages them. Once readers comment, then they're more engaged and likely to come back. To encourage further engagement, you must respond to the comments. That starts a conversation and creates a deeper connection to your association.
  4. Enrich. How can you save your members time, money, energy? What can you write about that will make their work lives better? This may be something motivational or a link to a valuable resource. Share your knowledge, experience, and lessons to help your member have a more productive and fulfilling work experience.

The next blog post you write, try to combine two or three of these content elements and see what kind of response you get. As you review the blog prior to posting, put yourself in your member's shoes. Check to see if you're engaged, entertained, educated or if your work life is enriched in some way by your content.

Denise Wakeman is an online marketing advisor and founder of The Blog Squad. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseWakeman/business-bloggers.


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