Will your blog be built to last—or will it be one of the many that have withered and died, having limped along until being abandoned on the side of the road in cyberspace?
How many blogs are there? Blog search engine Technorati did a survey a while back that estimated there were more than 200 million, a statistic that continues to swell.
And those only account for English-language blogs. When you factor in blogs from other countries, especially China, that number must climb dramatically.
WordPress alone cites massive usage stats for both WordPress.com (15.1 million blogs) and self-hosted WordPress instances (17.4 million active installations). That does not include the various other Tumblrs and TypePads floating around in cyberspace.
Yet the number of blogs is not nearly as compelling as Technorati’s speculation that nearly 95 percent of blogs are abandoned.
Blogging can be an effective tool for shareholder activism, honing your message and building your investor audience to support your shareholder campaigning.
Here are some suggestions to help you develop a strategy to help sustain you through the darkest days ahead.
Perform a Serious Gut-check
Not every worry warrants a web site, nor does every beef need airing on a blog. Managing a prolonged campaign can be exhausting. A blog is a serious commitment. You need to ask yourself honestly if you will have the commitment to carry on when the initial infatuation with your outrage recedes.
Life gets in the way. You need to take a gut-check and ask yourself honestly, when the initial rage tamps down, will you have enough left in the tank to solider on? When everyone else abandons you, will you abandon your blog?
Remember, failure follows you.
Limit Your Vision
Do not bite off more of cyberspace than you can chew. The most successful blogs are often the most narrowly focused. Carving out your own niche enables you to truly distinguish yourself from the more than 400 million other blogs out there.
Your theme needs to have enough substance for you to be able to actually generate a steady stream of ideas to support a blog, but not too broad that you are regurgitating what is already being written by others.
And sometimes, it is not the subject itself that differentiates the blog, but the perspective and/or identity of the blogger. Are you really that interesting?
Refine Your Media Diet
No blog is an island.
Your theme may be a unique take on a mainstream issue, but you are still one voice in multitudinous cacophony in the blogosphere and media at large.
Discern the din and dig for like-minded compatriots and opposing opiners alike. Create an RSS feed (or just a simple Google Alert) that pools as many relatable sources that you can regularly digest.
You are part of the larger conversation, whether you like it or not. It is up to you how loud and knowledgeable your voice will come across.
Inhabit Your Issue
You shareholder activist campaign and your knowledge of investor issues will evolve, as will many of the aspects of your involvement.
You need to establish yourself as a subject matter expert on the investor issues, as best you can. Study how other bloggers in and around your niche do what they do, when they do it, and how they do it. Approach them and form mighty alliances.
And most importantly, do your legwork to power your shareholder activist blog. Seek out the sources of information that will inform your opinion and do not rely on hearsay. Assemble your resource pools, both sources of actual, attributable information and live bodies.
Being well grounded in all of the mechanics of your issue is essential for you to think conceptually on shareholder issues and blog confidently to advance theories on how to better the enterprise in question.
Acquaint Yourself With the Technology
TheShareholderActivist.com™ is a resource for investors for education, enlightenment, and, above all, empowerment. We can provide you with your very own blog, or you can select one of the many free blogging software services available. Ask around and look at other blogs that touch on shareholder activism, or activism in other areas.
Take some training, view a few webinars and make sure you are comfortable enough with the technology so it is a tool you can actually use.
Form Your Own Focus Group
Your shareholder activism blog does not have to look the best, but it also should not look like the worst.
Form your own focus group and solicit feedback from those whom you trust to provide usable input on your blog name and theme.
Fortune favors the bold, so put yourself out there and ask for honest feedback. And do not kill the messengers just because they offend you and your message.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion, no matter how annoying and inarticulate they may be. Do not take criticism personal. Grow the thick skin you will certainly need as a blogging shareholder activist for fielding those negative comments certain folks always seem to feel compelled to post.
Set an Expiration Date
Many shareholder activist issue-oriented blogs should not be designed to run forever. Set a goal for your investor activist campaign blog built upon the objective of your initiative.
Share with your shareholder audience the eventuality that once that objective is completed, you plan to retire the blog. Use it as a construct to build suspense. You can even use a countdown wiki, where applicable, such as when your issue is built upon an actual market event, the sale of a company, or some other milestone in the future.
Oh, and when you say you’re going to retire, and then not retire. Do not be the Brett Favre of the blogosphere.
You “Can” Do It
The mindshare of a blog follower is terrible thing to waste. Online audiences have such short attention spans as it is, that when you do manage to get the herd to trample in your direction, do not confuse them with a haphazard posting schedule.
You don’t have to post every day. You’re not that important in their lives. Two to three times per week max is more than enough. To help ensure you can get on a schedule that works, write up 30 or so “evergreen” blog posts you can keep in the can for those weeks when you’re not feeling so fresh.
Don’t Be Disappointed With Early Light Traffic
What if I threw a party and no one came?
Bloggers can be terribly insecure. Are you? You are building a body of evidence as much as you are building an audience. You may be convinced the world would be a better place with your shareholder activist blog in it, but it may take time for you to gain some traction from the investor base.
The hordes may come, or they may not. But unless you’ve got the budget for a Super Bowl ad, expect more of a trickle than a torrent.
If there is one certainty in cyberspace, it is that you’re not going to get it right on the first try. Flexibility is not the same thing as inconsistency, so if something is not working for your shareholder campaign objectives, change it. Make adjustments. Grow with your investor activist blog and fulfill your vision.
FOR THOSE ABOUT TO BLOG, WE SALUTE YOU!
To contact Craig McGuire directly, please email Craig.McGuire@TheShareholderActivist.com.