Building a Successful Company Blog
We’ve all fantasized about writing the great American novel, but the demands of both workplace and homestead can get in the way. Fortunately, managing a company blog provides the creative outlet many would-be novelists crave while advancing the branding/marketing goals of their business.
What’s Your Blog Worth?
A corporate blog is a lot like the bowl of candy at a job fair. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in the company or not. You come for the candy and stay for the business. That’s exactly what a blog does – it draws traffic to your site with the promise of interesting insights/statistics, leaving you in the perfect position to land a conversion.
But what are the numbers? Where’s the data? A few minutes of digging around on Google turns up some pretty amazing stats. In a 2014 interview with VentureBeat, “State of Inbound” author Joe Chernov noted that companies placing a heavy emphasis on maintaining quality blogs are 13 times more likely to be increasing their year-over-year ROI. Blog traffic appears to snowball with quantity, as having 21-54 blog posts can increase blog traffic by up to 30%. For those in the B2B space, blogging was found to generate 67% more leads.
The numbers don’t lie – investing the time required to produce quality blog content (or the money required to make it somebody else’s problem) can yield huge returns for your business.
Building a Solid Foundation
So you’re sold on blogging for your business. Now what? What’s your “step one”? There are a few foundational elements of any corporate blog which are important to get squared away before you start crankin’ out content.
- Platform: What will you be using to publish your blogs? WordPress is one of the most popular options. Blogger is another solid choice. Will your blogs live on the company website? These questions may best be answered by your web designer or IT department and are an essential first step in building your blog.
- Content: If your company covers a wide range of services, you might choose to focus only on a select few. You may also choose between writing content targeted towards prospective clients, other professionals in your industry, or some combination of the two.
- Branding: Every company has a voice. That voice is designed to give readers/viewers/visitors an insight into the company culture and style. It’s branding. Working with your company to determine a well-defined, consistent voice that reflects your company and its values is a crucial component in generating reader loyalty. Having that sense of loyalty in place can pave the way towards conversions when the time comes.
Best Practices in Blogging
Once the foundational issues are out of the way, it’s time to start blogging! When it comes to the blog as a whole, there are a few things you need to do:
- Put Yourself in the Audience’s Perspective: Organizing your blog one way may make perfect sense to someone with years of industry experience but may leave others in the dark. For example, If your blog is client-facing, make sure you’re giving context and explanations to all industry jargon you use.
- Use Data in Your Decision-Making: You can gather metrics to inform your blogging strategy on social media. When are most of your followers online? What is the age/gender breakdown of your audience? What kind of content has been well-received in the past?
- Don’t Regurgitate. Innovate: A large percent of the content we read online has been chopped up and regurgitated from around the web. To some extent, it’s unavoidable, but the more original insight and commentary you can offer your readers, the better.
- Acknowledge Your Fan Base: Interacting with your readers by responding to comments and emails is a fast and easy way to send them on a fast track towards conversion. Your readers view you as an all-knowing source of knowledge and wisdom. You have all the answers! Grace them with your acknowledgement, won’t you?
- Be Consistent (Seriously): Lack of consistency can be one of the biggest killers of a corporate blog. Set a clear and reasonable expectation of when your readers can expect new content and deliver every time. Failing to do so will weaken your reader loyalty and raise the lethal question: “if they can’t maintain a consistent blog, why should we expect them to deliver consistent, quality services?”
Measuring Your Success
There is a veritable arsenal of tools and resources available to help you track the performance of your blog. In general, you should be searching for how users interact with your blog, how they share it, and how close they come to becoming a lead (via newsletter subscription, contact form submission, etc.) Popular tools include:
- Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools to monitor and analyze traffic to your blog. It also provides you with an insight into how your readers interact with the blog. Where are (or aren’t) they clicking? How can you promote interactions with contact forms and calls to action?
- Disqus is a commenting system popular amongst WordPress users. It makes following comment threads easier, allowing you to respond to readers quickly and efficiently.
- Bitly creates shortened URLs which you can use to distribute your blog on social media. They also provide analytics for tracking link performance.
With a solid foundation, well-developed voice, and quality content, you may be well on your on your way to writing that novel (albeit in increments of 500-1000 words). The benefits a well-maintained blog can have on your business are crystal clear. If you’re ready to take the leap but don’t want to go it alone, Realnets has always got your back! Contact us today to learn more about our content marketing solutions.