Having an on-site blog can be a valuable marketing tool, bringing traffic to your site, illustrating your thought leadership, and generating SEO benefits. But it is also a considerable commitment of company time and resources.
Many companies want to blog, but are rightfully concerned that a blog that is poor in content is not going to make the best impression on site visitors. They want the function of a blog-a place to post informal content that's beneficial to readers and meets marketing goals-but in a less time-consuming way.
Other companies just don't have the text-based content assets a traditional blog requires: they may lack available writers, or have a highly visual site for which text is not a fit. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to a conventional blog. The options, in fact, are growing. Many save you time, others, give you alternative content types to text-based blogging. There are options for every organization:
- Tumblr: Since Tumblr posts can be traditional text, sound, video, or images, a Tumblr blog is the perfect choice if you want to share short observations, great media, and want to be open on format. Commenting on posts is limited, but sharing is encouraged within the active Tumblr community, now almost 7 million strong. Tumblr is the most flexible option for quick, efficient updating.
- A Visual Blog: If you're in a highly visual field, such as professional photography, text is not the focus of what you do. Many photographers and graphic designers have blogs that consist entirely of images, perhaps with a caption. You can mix it up by adding slideshows as posts, rather than single images. If you're using a popular CMS such as WordPress or Drupal, you can add these easily from the CMS. Another choice, great for SEO, is to set up a Flickr account and post slideshows created in Flickr.
- Guest-Blogging: If you want to write full-fledged blog posts, just not all the time, consider writing for other, well-established blogs. Guest blogging is always an essential marketing tactic, since it gains visibility, credibility, and SEO benefits. It can be a blogging strategy in and of itself. If your passion is to generate good, thoughtful content, but you don't have the time to blog regularly, becoming a valued guest blogger is a path to good blogging.
- Sticking to Facebook and Twitter: Twitter originally billed itself as a "microblogging service," to familiarize people with the concept of what they were doing when it was new and different. Doing Facebook and Twitter well, engaging authentically, curating good content, and staying on top of trends is time-consuming. Stick with it if it's working and you have no time to add a blog.
- CheckThis: Still in beta, CheckThis is an even lighter platform than Tumblr. For SEO, it's not so good, since content is short-lived, but as an extension to Facebook and Twitter, it can bring content you post to these platforms closer to traditional blog without committing you to regular blogging. CheckThis allows you to build webpages on the fly with embedded widgets, audio, and video, then post a link to your new page to Twitter or Facebook. The interface is more stripped-down than Tumblr's, and pages have expiration dates that you can set. Think of CheckThis pages as souped-up tweets, digital flyers, or evanescent, timely blog posts.
- Storify: If reporting is your thing, Storify will immediately make sense. The service allows you to assemble narratives out of found content on social media, such as tweets, images, and videos. Add comments to make the story cohesive, and publish. Perfect for events-driven organizations, it creates news reports from comments people made on the scene.
The options for blog alternatives are strong. You don't even need to pick just one. Working on multiple platforms can create just the type of flexibility you need to have a content marketing infrastructure that works for you.