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Own Your Media: 3 Reasons Everyone Needs a Blog

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Blogs can instantly become the “hub” of your content strategy. Every story is easy to share and becomes a Facebook post, tweet or newsletter link that drives traffic back to your blog.

Post once, publish everywhere to reach staff, stakeholders and email subscribers. Conversely, Facebook posts stay on Facebook. Tweets stay on Twitter. Blogs centralize the story, and you can easily distribute it from there.

Now that we understand the “hub” concept, here are three reasons everyone needs a blog:

Blogs

Blogs are the ideal “hub” of your content strategy. Every story is easy to share.

1. It’s all about storytelling

We all remember when the Internet was just an informational tool with lots of encyclopedia-style pages. People began to expect websites to provide a deeper experience and two-way conversations. Thus, blogging was born.

There is no better way to communicate a message than through storytelling. Press releases don’t do this. Facebook posts don’t either. Investing time in a good blog post can pay huge dividends, as you frame a larger story about your agency, program, staff or constituents.

Blogs can position your organization as a trusted source of information, which is a win for transparency. Blogs can also position staff members as experts. Think critically about why you do what you do, and then find creative ways to tell that story on a blog.

2. Own your media

Earned media is something you generate through traditional media relations and relationship management. Paid media, not surprisingly, requires a budget of some kind. Owned media, on the other hand, is generally free and something you create and manage in-house. This is also referred to as content marketing or brand journalism.

Done right, blogs allow organizations to communicate directly with readers, rather than relying solely on media outlets or paying for placement. At King County, Wash., we have more than 20 blogs serving niche interests from animal services to youth justice. Together, our blogs reached more than 300,000 total monthly visitors in 2015.

That’s our content. Our expertise. Our talking points. Our owned media.

3. Blogs can be equally compelling press releases

Regular content posted to a blog can redirect attention away from press releases, which the media have been telling us they don’t even read. Think about that for a moment.

Then take a look at this blog post on listeria infection from Public Health – Seattle & King County. It was referenced (and linked to) in a Seattle Times story. Public Health never sent the Seattle Times a news release about this. Those reporters were reading our blog!

When it comes to blogging, this is what credibility looks like:

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Don’t be intimidated by the idea of blogging

Blogs are just a tool. You don’t need to write 800-word essays every time you post a story. Some articles are better short. Some are even better as stand-alone photos with a compelling caption. It’s up to you what to make of your blog.

As King County’s Social Media Specialist, my job is to make sure teams see value in the time they spend with social media tools. No social media channel is a better use of staff time than a blog, especially with limited resources.

The general public rarely sees stories that are important to us but don’t rise to the level of a press release. This is our chance to change that. A healthy blog integrates with existing communications, marketing and outreach strategies.

Find your voice. Own your media. Start a blog.

Derek Belt is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Wendy Dutenhoeffer

Great post Derek. Would love to see another one on how social media posts and texts are archived to meet the RCW requirements on records retention and public records requests. We are struggling with this now and looking at technology options. Thanks 🙂

Profile Photo Derek Belt

Hi Wendy – Sorry for the very late reply. We use a tool called PageFreezer at King County. This archives our website, blogs and some social media. There are other solutions, of course, and the two big ones are Archive Social and Smarsh. If you haven’t looked into any of these companies, I would start there. You’re right that it’s a struggle to do this well–every public-sector organization is facing the same hurdles you are, all the way up to the federal government.