Ten Key Points for a Successful Company Blog
Bob Maples is a contributor to Tech.pinions, his opinions are his own. He is is the CEO and founder of Maples Communications, a full-service public relations, social media and hybrid-marketing communications agency for companies who need to put more eyes on their brand for sales leads, increased brand and product awareness, better customer relationships and brand loyalty. A few clients include Toshiba America Information Systems, Fujitsu Computer Systems, Texas Instruments, Acer, Hitachi, eMachines, Networks in Motion, and Cisco, to mention a few. The agency has won more than 100 awards for work executed on behalf of its clients, including seven coveted Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) National Silver Anvil Awards recognizing Maples Communications as one of the best PR and social media agencies in the country.
Can you, your company or your president be considered thought leaders in the digital era without a blog? You can’t be taken seriously by business audiences unless you have a blog in the mix. A blog is your delivery mechanism to share your insights consistently. And, while it is certainly possible to do business without a blog, having one is the key ingredient for establishing and sustaining your expertise and knowledge on specific topics.
But launching and running a company blog is not easy. It’s not as simple as writing posts on a regular basis because a blog has to provide value on a regular basis. Blogs are the fabric of online communication, serving as outright thought leadership vehicles and behind-the-scenes content management systems. They require a time commitment, serious thought and far more than merely regurgitating the latest stats or trends about their industries – your readers want your opinion and analysis.
So what are the key points in a successful company blog? Here are a few of mine:
- 1. Relevant content that provides insight, perspective and information. At its core, a company blog has to deliver its readers relevant information they can use to increase their knowledge, learn new things or receive insight that makes a difference.
- 2. It needs to be well written. A blog with spelling and grammatical errors reflects badly on the person writing it and their company. Also, blog posts need to have a good flow and provide an engaging narrative that makes it easy to read. This is particularly important given many people scan content online as opposed to reading it. This is why a good headline is so important to capture someone’s attention.
- 3. Posts have to happen on a regular basis. It could be one, two or five posts per week. Whatever your editorial plan, it needs to be consistent to establish expectations within the company and among the blog’s readers. The worst thing a company can do is post four or five times a week for a few weeks, and then once a week or not at all afterward. When the audience doesn’t know what to expect, they start to drift away.
- 4. Respond to industry issues, competitive stories and customer concerns. Customer service and public relations have never been more important; a bad story can spread around the web’s social network at the speed of light. Your blog becomes a responsive outlet to explain your side of any story and douse the fires of negative activity or accentuate the positive.
- 5. It can’t operate as a standalone entity. A blog needs to be supported and nurtured within a company. It needs to be actively promoted within communications, marketing and sales collateral, business cards, letterhead and e-mail signatures.
- 6. The blog and its content should also be promoted on social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and e-mail notification to targeted customers, influencers, media and other friends of the company. A blog needs to be seen as an integral part of a company’s brand and identity as opposed to be left alone to its own devices.
- 7. Search engine-optimizing your content is important in bringing in search visitors as well as direct traffic. The more linkable your blog and website, the better your search results will be. Very often traditional websites are difficult to link to and not easy for search engines to index. This can be due to the blog or website’s structure, the software it’s built with, or its overly complex URLs. Blogs are almost always superior in this respect.
- 8. A company blog needs to be integrated into the blogosphere and the blogging community. The people writing a blog need to be reading and commenting on other blogs. You can’t write a blog in isolation otherwise there are no connections with the “outside” world.
- 9. It needs to look good and have a user-friendly design. As much as a company will spend time and money to create a good Web site, its blog also needs to be functionally and attractive. It is a public marketing vehicle that reflects a company’s brand, culture and approach to business.
- 10. A good blog should follow best practices by including things such as an RSS feed (both through RSS reader and via e-mail), information about the writers, the ability to leave comments, links to social media services, and links to other company resources.
Finally, I’m a big believer that ideas flourish when you’re out and about talking to customers, industry gurus and other people about their ideas, interests, thoughts and business endeavors. As much as you can get many ideas from reading online, socializing is a great way to stimulate the mind and idea generation. Many of mine come from the traditional newspapers like the Wall Street Journal or USA Today.
These are my thoughts to a successful company blog. What are some of the other things that make a good company blog should feature?