April 29th, 2011
If you are like most organizations, you understand that a corporate blog can be a valuable tool. However, you probably also have questions about what corporate blogging entails and how it should be done to yield the best returns. The reasons for starting a corporate blog are very well documented. From the largest organizations using their corporate blogs as thought leadership platforms, to small- to medium-sized businesses seeing increased Web traffic over competitors without blogs, the corporate blog is a communications vehicle you can use to take your point-of-view direct to your audience.
Whether you have already started blogging, or are in the process of developing a corporate blog, there is work to be done. A corporate blog is like any other component of your marketing and communications portfolio. It should be constantly evaluated, tweaked and evolved to ensure it serves your organization in the best possible way, and helps you meet your communications goals.
While the need for constant evolution holds true, there are core items that should always be in place to ensure you get the most value from your blog. Here are five tips I believe should be in place on every corporate blog. If you have been blogging for some time, consider these tips to make your blog reach new heights. If you are just about to embark on the corporate blog journey, implementing these tips early on will help speed up your time-to-value and deliver great returns.
Establish a Clear Content Theme – Central to any corporate blogs success is the theme and coverage area. Your various audiences, whether they are customers, partners, employees or industry influencers, are more likely to come back to a blog they can rely on to present timely, relevant information about specific topics. This doesn’t mean you have to only cover a single topic, but you should look to establish a clear focus for the blog and stick to providing insight or commentary on information pertinent to that theme. If your company develops security products, you should provide commentary on security topics and dive deeper into the things that make that industry tick.
Identify Multiple Voices – When it comes to corporate blogs, having a single, mono-toned contributor rarely cuts it. Unless your company addresses a very specific group, focused on a single issue, a single person can’t speak to all of the audiences you are trying to reach. This makes establishing multiple voices or subject matter experts critical. Look to enlist the blogging prowess of three or four people, and have them focus on different aspects of your business. We find that having one blogger focus on providing commentary on industry trends, one to provide context and discuss the market impact of news from the company, and a technical voice to discuss the technology from a high-level, as a great way to address a the information needs of the majority of an audience.
Take the “Two Cans and a String” Approach – The communications process has certainly changed over the past decade. Your audience no longer wants to have product and company messages blasted out to them with a megaphone. They want to participate in the discussion. Look to engage your audience by enabling and responding to comments, asking questions to spur thought, and inviting criticism.
Develop a Promotion Strategy – If a tree falls in the woods, and there is no one around, does it make a sound? You can have the best content in the world on your blog, but if you don’t promote it to your audiences and point people to it via your social media channels, no one will notice. Use your corporate and individual team member Twitter and Facebook accounts to link to posts. Put the blog’s URL on your company’s LinkedIn and YouTube pages. Include a link in your company’s e-mail signature template. These are simple steps you can take to help get the word out. You should also look into actively linking to other blogs on the topics you cover within your blog roll, which will often lead to people reciprocating the gesture.
Avoid Jargon and Hype – Keeping your corporate blog in line with the spirit of social media is essential. Just as corporate Twitter and Facebook activity should provide context, perspective and POV, your corporate blog should not become just another place to post marketing content or press releases. Avoid using industry jargon, buzz words and overall marketing hype, instead opting for honest commentary on industry trends, topics or news.