Not everything in life goes according to plan. As long as we can learn from our mistakes and try our best not to repeat them, it is a learning experience. Here is a failed blog story that turned out to be a great learning experience.
Once I was given the task to raise the profile of a restaurant. After my research, I recommended launching a chef’s blog. This was way before Masterchef , there weren’t many food blogs around and practically no chef blogs.
Chefs are busy people. One chef, many hats. This chef was probably working around 60-70 hours a week. Cooking for functions, as well as cooking daily for the restaurant. He didn’t have a good support team around him so sometimes he had to work even longer.
When I explained him the concept of the blog, he got really excited. He saw a world of possibilities and the sky was the limit. I was a bit more reserved. I even started to think it would be unfair to give him more responsibilities; he was already way too stretched.
Yet the decision was to go ahead with the blog. I trained him, get the blog set up, gave suggestions for blog posts, and showed him examples of great blogs .I told him I can even write some blog posts for him- especially when he was too busy to write. We bought a camera to keep in the kitchen so he could take some photos of his masterpieces. I recommended some incentives to management team. My reasoning was that if he was given incentives to add blog posts or if blog posts were added to his KPI’s, there would be more reasons for him to blog.
Worst case scenario- what could go wrong with a blog launch?
Call it a marketer’s sixth sense, I set up some requirements before pushing the blog live. He would have to post 3 times a week for 3 months. That would make 36 posts. The blog would go live in 3 months when he hit 36 posts or earlier if he was quicker.
He was confident he would get there in less than 3 months.
He wasn’t comfortable with using computers and didn’t have a habit of writing regularly. These are important skills for bloggers. I thought 3 months was enough to develop skills and habits. He would also find his writing voice and most importantly decide if blogging was for him.
No reader likes a blog that has only one post when they visit a blog for the first time! We would have sufficient number of posts when we launch and so a first time visitor would have a good idea on what the blog is about and would have reasons to come back.
What went wrong with the blog?
He got even busier. He got nowhere near the number of posts. He chose not to get more support or get me to write posts for him. He was already way too stressed working overtime and the blog just didn’t help. We decided to unplug the project. Yet because the blog was never made public, it wasn’t a big fiasco.
What are the lessons learnt from a failed blog?
Setting up requirements before making the blog live was a great decision and saved everyone from embarrassment. These type of requirements work well with a pre-determined number of blog posts. By the time, the number of posts are written,, the blogger would have the skills and created the writing habit. The blogger would find her voice and got comfortable with the blogging space.
KPI’s: Professionals are very much goal driven and KPI’s are part of working life. If the blogging is a “ nice to have” project and KPI’s and metrics are not build around it, it becomes one of the first things to be dropped.
Content Strategy: It wasn’t explicitly mentioned but I believe the chef was not comfortable with what to write and when to write despite thel training. Having a content strategy with an editorial calendar would be of great use in these conditions.
We’re going to dive into content strategy in a future post, meanwhile would love to hear some of your “ lessons learnt” examples!