Everybody’s doing it. With loads of free platform-providers to choose from (WordPress, Typepad, LiveJournal, Blogger — just to name a few), anybody can do it. But not everybody (read: company) should.
Before setting up your blog you need to answer these questions:
1. What’s your schtick?
Clearly define what your blog is about and what it is not. Think of topics and subtopics. Do you have enough material to keep it going?
2. Have you done your research?
Who else is doing a blog on the same thing? What can you learn from them? How can you differentiate yourself?
3. Who do you want to read it?
You need a primary audience and a secondary audience. Of course there will always be unexpected guests. If you’re worried about those unintended targets reading your material, you need to rethink your blog.
4. What’s your goal?
It could be to educate, create awareness, increase sales/volunteers/participation/consideration, receive feedback or build community. It can have a combination of objectives, but I would limit it to not more than three. And make sure they are clearly defined.
5. Who will manage it?
You’ll need writers and an Editor(s) at a minimum. The more writers you have, the easier it’ll be to populate your blog. Your Editor should be passionate about the blog enough to keep it going. She’ll manage the content calendar, secure writers and posts, brainstorm article ideas, edit and write posts when necessary.
6. How often will you post?
If you want to attract readers and keep them coming back you need good content, but you also need consistent content. Set a cadence and maintain it or exceed it, but try not to fall below that. Once you lose a reader, chances are, you won’t get them back.
7. How will you get the word out?
Once you have a blog, you need to get readers. Use your existing social media profiles if your fans/followers are part of your target. If they are not, consider setting up new profiles that tie to your blog. Note that you’ll need to manage these new profiles just as you would your blog, though. They take attention and content strategy as well. Of course, these are just a few ways to build awareness and clicks. There are many other ways worth considering.
Once you answer these questions, you’ll be on your way to a better blog.
Orange County Library’s Guide by Cell audio tour
How often do you visit a museum alone? Me? I honestly can’t recall if I ever have. I usually find someone I can talk into seeing the latest art exhibit or science exhibit with me. And that’s part of the joy of seeing the exhibit — being able to talk about it with someone.
I was at Cranbrook Institute of Science Friday evening. It was the first time I had been there in probably close to 10 years and not much had changed…except I noticed a seemingly small addition to one of the text descriptions. A phone number with a call to action to use your mobile and hear more about the exhibit. I didn’t take advantage of this because I was trying to keep a rambunctious 2-year-old from running too far out of my sight. But it was very intriguing.
For The Pre-Planners
There’s been a growing trend for museums to offer audio guides as free podcasts. MoMa has a pretty comprehensive, growing collection of both audio and video guides via iTunes. Not sure when I’ll see the collection in person, but I’m tempted to listen to the podcast nonetheless. That poses a problem for spontaneous visitors (as was my case with the science museum trip with my son).
For the Spontaneous
I often get sucked into renting the laborious, sometimes over-priced audio guides. However, I’d love to ditch those for something more portable, personal and… spontaneous.
Say you are browsing a museum and stumble upon a piece that truly intrigues you and the write up just doesn’t do it justice. You don’t want to know everything about every piece in the museum. But maybe it’s just that one piece. Your mobile phone is resting quietly in your pocket. Bingo.
If the information on the mobile recording is comprehensive, I would love to see this in more museums that you only visit once in an eon. It would have especially come in handy on my recent trip to Rome and Florence. Before I left, I downloaded Rick Steve’s podcasts on The Roman Forum, The Sistine Chapel, The Academia and The Uffizi Gallery. We visited even more museums than that and more than once I was left wondering what significance the piece I was looking at held.
Still, whatever happened to unguided immersions? Degas said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” I realize that guides are meant to entice more people to visit and understand what’s being shown at a museum. Why stop there? Instead of only education, museums should be encouraging immersion, conversation.
Here are some ways they could prompt conversation about your visit:
1. With tickets, give visitors a conversation starter. Something like, “What’s your favorite piece and why?” You could even have them text their answer to display on the museum’s website.
2. Create an app that uses the GPS on your phone track your route thru the museum. It then updates your Facebook status telling your friends what you’re looking at with picture of a main piece in that area. It also asks them what they think of the piece.
3. Allow visitors to text their thoughts about key pieces from their phone. Reviews are displayed on a video monitor in the lobby or cafe of the museum and also on the museum’s website and social properties.
Talking about the exhibits increases awareness, leads to exposure. This is good for the museums, curators and artists. Aren’t you more likely to make it to a special exhibit if someone you know is talking about it?
When you’re visiting a museum this weekend — yes, please step away from your screen and get out there and take in an exhibit or two — take a look at how many people are actually talking with someone else about the work.
What are more ways curators could make their exhibits more social?
NOTE: This post originally appeared on Threeminds.