Do we need more digital signage blogs?

December 8, 2010 by Dave Haynes

Placing my vested interests out there from the start, I write for a living. Among the kinds of writing I do for clients is ghost-blogging – with my name nowhere in sight and hopefully with enough guile that it is not evident I was the one pounding the keys.

Yes, I could have business card that says Ghost-blogger, which would only further embarrass my children, already tortured by their association.

A little back and forth I have been having with some different companies has been all about their interests in starting a company blog. They know they should have one, but also that their writing skills and available time are both limited … so could I help?

Well … maybe.

I tend to push back at them as to why they want to do a blog, and what they see as the return on that invested time, as well as the return on the soft and hard costs.

There are piles and piles of digital signage and DOOH-related blogs out there, most with a handful of posts and very little in the way of interesting or focused work. I came across one yesterday, written sporadically by the CEO of a pretty good company, that was mostly about how his kids were doing in sports, and summer vacations.

Many more company are just marketing pitches posed as blog posts. A string of short and not very interesting exercises in chest-beating about how swell a company may be.

There are very well-established rules about how blogging should be done – but the one that is always going to be a rock-solid measure is that it must be interesting and relevant.

There is no need for another general blog about this sector. There are some good ones in place, and a tiny handful of company blogs – notably Ken Goldberg’s and Bill Gerba’s (when he has time) – that offer really valuable, insightful commentary on the industry as a whole.

You do not see Ken or Bill pitching their pots and pans. They understand the more subtle marketing value of being a trusted advisor and commentator, and they also do it because a better educated industry helps their businesses, as well.

Where there are still gaps – and where some companies can play an effective blogging role – is in writing about what they’re good at – or where they put most of their focus. A company that works almost entirely in the menu board/QSR sector could be positioning itself as the smartypants guys in that vertical. A company that’s strong on mobile interactive could be doing the same in that area.

But that writing has to be about what we did and what we learned, and what we see coming and changing. The audience for material about how great we are is teeny.

There are two real points here:

1 – Blogs can be great marketing tools, but they need to address some information void that exists, and fill it with material that’s interesting and will build loyalty and respect;

2 – The company has to commit to it. That means it is part of the company’s marketing routine, and kept fresh with new material. Many, many of the “blogs” run by vendors in this sector go months between posts. They are blogs that never should have been started.

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