In the past decade, blogs have exploded on the Internet. Writers, chefs, consultants, lawyers and CEOs are penning personal blogs—or “web logs,” as they were originally called—giving behind-the-scenes information or details about current events, news and companies. Whereas websites were created to send information out, blogs presented an opportunity for two-way conversations (Web 2.0), allowing users to comment on posts and entries because they knew there was an actual person writing the content on the opposite side of the blog.
Today, bloggers are everywhere, and event organizers are adopting the blog as a way to keep attendees updated and informed about the latest information on a conference. Starting a blog is relatively easy, as long as you have a basic understanding of the Internet and someone on your team who can produce content. Here’s how to do it:
- Decide where you want to host your blog. If you have an event website that gets a lot of traffic, you might want to integrate the blog directly into your current site. If that’s the case, you likely have a web developer who can create a new page with an easy-to-update blog platform. Another option is to use a blogging platform unrelated to your current site, where you can simply link to the external blog from your current site.
- Choose a blogging platform. WordPress and Google’s Blogger have been mainstays on the blog market for a number of years, and Tumblr has come on the scene recently for its user-friendly qualities, especially for mobile users. All of these platforms allow you to create custom blog designs, or you can choose from a number of templates already available. Easy-to-follow instructions are available on all three of these blogging websites, so to get started, simply create a new account.
- Set up the blog basics. To start a blog, you need to know what you want the title to be, who your authors are (though you can add more later) and how you want it to be organized. You can opt for a chronological blog, which makes sense most event planners, or you can organize it by subject matter, authors or other topics.
- Keep it consistent with style. Every organization and event should have a style guide that all collateral materials and custom content follows. Blogs should adhere to these rules, too. The only difference with a blog is that readers expect it to come from a person, so using pronouns such as “I” and “We” are OK—and probably preferred.
- Now, blog. Write your first entry that introduces the author, the event and what the blog will be about. Then publish it. It’s as simple as that. The key to blogging, however, is to do it regularly. For the months leading up to your event, a blog at least once a week is a good start, and as the event nears, two to three blog entries a week is standard.
Believe it or not, starting the blog is the easy part. Integrating it into a larger social campaign or online strategy gets more complicated. But once the blog has been established, options open up for more conversation and integration.