We don’t really need to point out that it’s 11 years this week since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 took place. Completely changing various aspects about the world we now live in, the coverage of the event at the time was considerable and it continues to be very much like this today.
Particularly at the time of the attacks, most people were talking about it online, whether they had a news-based website / blog or not. Fast forward 18 months to the start of the Iraq War in 2003 and the same happened again.
In fact, take a look at any major news item that dominates headlines around the world and you’ll be able to find people giving their own views on the subject online. The economic recession that rocked the world a few years ago is another prime example – wherever you looked, whether it was on an actual news blog or a small business’s blog, you’d be able to find some coverage, views or just general discussions around what was taking place.
But when you’ve got a business blog, as tempting as it may be to give your own take on the topics that are in the news, should you actually do it?
And the answer is it depends. But not just on one point – it depends on a range of different factors.
Do people actually want to hear about it?
The very first point you have to consider is whether your audience wants to hear about what will essentially be a news story – almost regardless of what spin is put on it, the blog post is still going to be somewhat news-based.
In many instances, this could be completely fine. You might not talk about general news stories on your blog usually, but if you believe your audience are open to various blog post styles and they’ll welcome a slight change from the norm, there could be no reason why you shouldn’t talk about such stories.
Some readers will actually welcome the views. It shows a human-side to the organisation and can make your readers feel more engaged with both your blog and your business as a whole.
Will it be a distraction?
But what else needs to be taken into consideration is whether or not a blog post around a news headline is going to detract from the normal focus of your content. Or more importantly, detract in such a way that it impacts negatively upon your audience’s perception of your blog and your company.
Let’s imagine you were a holiday company providing cheap and cheerful breaks. The highest quality hotels weren’t on offer, but that’s not what’s important – your customers love the fact that for what is a relatively small fee, they can escape the worries of everyday life for a week or two.
In a scenario such as this, it may seem obvious that a blog post around a major news headline would be acceptable. All of your customers are likely to know about it already, so they’ll be happy to read about your views on it, right?
Well, maybe – but what if they’ve come to your blog to get away from all of the ‘bad’ news? They choose your holidays to get away from it in the physical world, so do they really want to be greeted with your take on it when they visit your blog (or even your Twitter account or Facebook page)?
People are affected by news whether they like it or not. Good news puts them in a good mood and bad news in a bad mood. When the 7/7 London terrorist attacks took place in 2005, the internet was full of people giving their own views on them. But if you were reading a post on a garden furniture company’s blog about how London was being targeted by terrorists, would that really have put you in the mood to want to go and buy a number of the company’s items for a summer party?
Would your comments be a waste of time?
One point that often isn’t taken fully into consideration is the time factor involved and whether or not the benefits of the blog post will actually make it a worthwhile contribution.
With our business blogging services, we advise our clients to utilise a minimum of two blog posts per week. If a client asked us to produce a blog post around a global issue that was in the news a lot recently, aside from all of the other factors that need to be considered, it has to be understood that writing this blog post would effectively take up 50% of their weekly blog content.
Now although we’d ensure this blog post was as beneficial as it could possibly be, if it was being written because it was believed the organisation needed to have a view on the matter, it has to be questioned how much value it’s going to have – or conversely, whether the content would be better developed around a topic that we’re certain the target audience would enjoy and benefit from, ultimately being of greater benefit to the organisation.
If we were to generalise, we would say that it’s acceptable and potentially beneficial to write content on a blog around global issues, irrelevant of your blog’s focus or your audience.
But this is just a generalisation and it’s absolutely imperative you don’t assume this type of content is going to be right for your business blog. You need to look at the content that has been produced to date, analyse your audience’s level of engagement and requirements and move forward from there.
There’s no doubt that talking about certain global news issues can be of benefit to your target audience and your organisation as a whole – it could even help to establish you as a thought leader – but it also must be understood that, simply put, your target audience might not want to hear what you’ve got to say on the matter.
And if this is the case, you really need to consider how worthwhile the content is going to be.