Business Blogging Basics
Blogs have gone from shiny new toy to a staple in many businesses’ communications plan. However, a Forrester Research report showed that most corporate blogs are “dull, drab, and don’t stimulate discussion.” Most get hardly any comments, stick strictly to business topics, or just republish press releases and already public news.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog for your business – or revamping one you already have – keep these tips in mind.
WHY to blog
There are many reasons companies start a blog, not the least of which is “all of our competitors have one”. Blogs can help you achieve many objectives:
· A blog can make your company appear more “alive” and approachable.
· Smart blog entries establish your organization as an expert in your field.
· Blog content increases your company’s presence and placement in search results.
· Good content attracts new customers from new demographics.
· Posts and comments enable a dialogue with your customers and employees.
WHAT to blog
Before you begin, determine your objectives in starting a company blog. When you decide on your audience and set your objectives, your content will follow. Your guiding principle should be to add something valuable to your community. Here are examples of good blog post content:
· Select a topic and educate readers about it
· Offer an opinion on an industry trend
· Share a review of a book that you read
· Post and comment on a news article
· Announce new company initiatives – and invite feedback
· Highlight case studies or best practices
· Provide tips for making your readers’ lives or work easier
No matter what you write about, your content should:
· Be well written and compelling; this will keep them coming back for more.
· Be personal. This is not brochure ware; use an authoritative yet conversational and informal voice.
· Avoid the hard sell. That’s for your website; a strong sales pitch here will send readers running.
WHO to blog
Your blog can have one author or several. Employees are the obvious choice for writing blog entries, as they are familiar with the company, brand and communications strategy. But don’t overlook people outside your organization; passionate customers or an expert in your field can also add a lot of value – and a third party “trust factor”. Consider having an “about the author(s)” section to put a face behind the voice.
WHEN to blog
Update your blog regularly, at least weekly. Shorter, more frequent updates are preferable to longer, infrequent ones. A blog that has proverbial cobwebs from lack of updates makes your whole company seem out of touch and unresponsive. Rather than scrambling every week for a topic, establish a monthly editorial calendar and assign entries to various stakeholders.
HOW to blog
A corporate blog should represent your company in voice, design, and brand. Invest in a custom design rather than using one off the shelf.
When it comes to hosting, the website Better Business Blogging recommends that you host your blog yourself for the simple reason that it gives you most control over it and allows you to make any changes that you may require. If you do decide to host it yourself, you have a second decision to make whether to select a new domain name and run your blog there or whether you should incorporate the blog into your current website.
Don’t forget to promote your blog and track your blog traffic! Reporting allows you to see how many readers you’re getting and where they came from. Make it easy for readers to subscribe to your RSS feed so they can always get your updates.
Here at OpenMoves, our blog is located at openmoves.com/blog and we host it ourselves. It runs on the WordPress platform and was custom designed to support our brand image. We track results with Google Analytics. We’d love to hear your feedback on our blog!
There’s much more to blogging; this is just a start. What other tips would you offer? Please post them in the comments. We can help you start or maintain a company blog – contact us for details.