What Defense Contractors Can Learn About Blogging From The U.S. Army

Posted by douglasburdett

Defense contractors who blog can increase awareness, preference and credibility, as well as generate leads and recruit top talent.

us army blogging photo credit: The U.S. Army via photo pin cc

The U.S. Army's blogging program, in support of its recruiting efforts, was discussed in an interview conducted by Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner. Commenting on the Army's blogging was Greg Swan, VP of Digital Strategy at Weber Shandwick, one of the Army's marketing agencies.

In the interview, Swan explained that in the recruiting blog, Army Strong Stories, soldiers describe their experiences in joining and serving in the Army. This gives the Army's potential recruits an honest and authentic sense of what Army life has to offer.

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What's noteworthy is that the Army does not censor the soldiers' comments. The soldiers must only notify their chain of command of their intent to blog, and adhere to the Army's social media guidelines.

For any blog to be effective, it has to be authentic and use the language of the person to whom the content is directed. If the Army's potential recruits sensed that the soldiers' post were not authentic, the blog would be largely tuned out as recruiting propaganda.

The lack of useful, remarkable content is why many company blogs fail. One of the biggest errors shared by unsuccessful corporate blogs is that they tend to be all about the company, and not about their readers. Successful blogs develop a keen sense of their buyer personas, and then deliver content that addresses what's keeping them up at night.

And like the Army, the best company blogs include a variety of employees who contribute. That enables the readers to get to know, like and trust the company. It also increases the amount of content that can be produced.

Getting employees on board for a company-wide blogging initiative takes effort and organization, but can pay big dividends in the long run. Company-wide social media training should be done first, along with the basics of blogging.

QUESTION: What challenges have you encountered with your company blog?

The "Blogging 101" presentation below, was done by software company Marketo in an effort to enlist its employees to contribute to the company blog.

[slideshare id=14206366&doc=marketobloggingbasics-120131173710-phpapp01-120907123506-phpapp02]

Additionally, this sample blog template developed by Ann Handley for her Content Rules book is an excellent primer to help reduce the fear of blogging that many employees have at first.  Combine that with Handley's 12 Point Blogging Checksheet, and you'll be on your way to having a defense contractor blog that is strong. Maybe even Army strong!

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