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Is it Still Worthwhile for Your Utility to Blog?

image credit: ID 17664571 © Lasse Kristensen | Dreamstime.com

In the world of electronic communications, things change quickly. What was hot one minute may be yesterday’s news before noon today, so to speak.

A few years back, blogging was all the rage, giving everyone (and every business) the opportunity to expound on topics of their choosing.

Today, you don’t hear about blogging so much, as podcasting seems to be the flavor of the day. But blogging can still be a valuable part of your corporate website, especially if you promote it through your social media channels.

That’s because blogging remains an ideal method for imparting important information, generally keeping your customers informed and doing so in a somewhat more casual tone. The latter point is a vital one because information about utilities can sometimes be bogged down in industry jargon or legalese. With a blog, you can adopt a conversational tone.

Unfortunately, most business are bad at blogging because they view it as an extension of their formal communications. And hence, it offers no extra value.

Aside from keeping the writing informal, here are a few other tips for effective blogging.

1.  Commit to a blog if you decide to have one. That means having a couple posts each and every week. You want to build an audience that looks forward to each new post. How many blogs have you seen that start out with regular posts, then dwindle to nothing?

2.  Keep your posts short. Blog posts should only take a minute or two to read. As little as 100 words might be effective and only rarely should you exceed 500 words.

3. Aim for a general audience.

4. Stick to a fairly narrow range of topics. Consumer-related information is useful, especially if you have real-life examples to share. Energy-saving tips will be popular.

In addition, consider informative posts. Things such as how utility poles are replaced, how power is generated and how your utility monitors power consumption at peak times are examples of topics that will draw curious readers.

You may also want to highlight utility programs or interesting employees — which adds a human element to your utility. Don’t make the posts too promotional, though, or they’ll come across as propaganda.

And remember your blog can be a resource. For example, an occasional post that reminds customers about outage hotline phone number or numbers for dealing with billing issues will be useful.

5. Remember to have fun. You don’t always have to be too serious and you can also cross-promote popular community events, especially if you’re a sponsor.

6. Take care with what you post. Especially in this day and age, it’s easy to offend people, even if you post something that’s seemingly innocuous. Obvious no-nos are politics, race and religion. When in doubt, leave it out.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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