Dear Credit Union: If You’re Going To Blog…

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At the risk of overstepping the boundaries of my expertise (whatever that might be), I’d like to offer a few recommendations to the growing list of credit unions jumping on the blogging bandwagon. If you’re going to blog:

1) Sign the entries. An entry on Comala CU’s site starts off by saying “you’re not going to believe what was in my inbox last week.” My first reaction: Who are you? CEO? Marketing person? Somebody else? CUs should follow Verity’s lead and list all the contributors, and have the person who wrote a particular entry sign it. I guarantee you that your readers want to know who posted the entry.

2) Use pictures of your bloggers. If you’re really bold, include pictures of the bloggers. A study done a few years ago (please don’t make me go hunt all over the Net trying to find it) found that real pictures of the people who work at a company (not stupid stock photos) raised site visitors’ perceived trust of the firm. It will make your blog’s visitors feel like they’re really communicating with someone real, even if they’ve never met the person.

3) Post your comments policy. Whether or not you moderate comments, let people know on the main page. TEUCU does a great job of this on its site. Its posted policy clearly lets people know what to expect when they post a comment about when they’ll see it on the site.

4) Categorize your posts. Piedmont CU’s blog is pretty new, but Dan Veasey has already done a nice job of categorizing the entries so a site visitor can find something from the archives if the category strikes a chord. The benefit of doing this right from the start is that it should give the CU’s bloggers a beacon for what topics to write about.

5) No commercials. It’s not what’s your blog for, and you don’t need them. Especially “ads” for online banking or other online services. I don’t have data to support this contention, but I bet a lot of your blog’s readers already bank online. And I bet they read the blog to connect with you — not get sold to.

6) Don’t use Blogger. Three reasons (and two are purely personal): 1) Some Blogger sites pop up a window for comments which I find annoying. I’ve lost long comments on some sites futzing around with the word verification. 2) The look isn’t very professional. 3) Most importantly, I don’t think the stats that Blogger provides are as good as WordPress or Typepad.

UPDATE: First off — wanted to thank Morriss over at Everything for the heads up on Comala. Second, I came across this post at the Marketing Council Cookies site, written by Trey Reeme on the same topic. Didn’t see this until the other day, or I would have linked to it. Sorry Trey and Morriss.

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