Blogging seems to be something that a lot of people have had a go at. Of all my friends, the numbers who at some point or other have set up a blog is high, and yet I do not even need the fingers on one hand to count the number of friends who still blog regularly. At some point or other, everyone seems to get the blogging bug and then has, to paraphrase Andy Warhol, their three posts of blogging-fame.
Corporate business blogs typically last a little longer. Yet, as with other forms of social media, so many seen to have been set up because someone in a company somewhere thinks they should.
Why should you have a business blog?
There are many reasons why you should set up a blog for your business, but remember that it is not a necessity, and if you don’t do it well, it might be worse than not having one at all.
That said the positives far outweigh the negatives. With a blog, you have a place where you can control how you come across to the public. Want to show off your love for sports or your company’s family heritage? You can craft that message with a blog in a way you might struggle to elsewhere. Want to offer your side of a recent controversy in an honest and open manner? Then a blog is a great way to accomplish that.
From a digital marketing perspective, having a blog keeps fresh content on your site, which is great for SEO, and will help drive traffic, which can potentially produce new leads.
Tips: set objectives & measure
Blogging should be considered like many other business entities: plan what you want to achieve, set goals, and then execute a plan that helps you achieve those goals.
The goals could be to increase sales, show character and personality, rescue yourself from a crisis communications disaster or to act as a thought leadership portal that you control.
Once you’ve set the objective, measure it. Free tools such as Google Analytics let you track where your traffic comes from, what content is working, what content is being shared, and perhaps importantly, what content leads to the highest conversions. React to this data if you notice that a blog completely unrelated to your industry is doing particularly well, then write mote content like that.
Tips: don’t be salesy or overly-promotional
The public are pretty smart and they know when they’re being sold to. It is important that, whilst you show off expertise, opinion or insight, it doesn’t read as if the sole purpose of the blog is to make a sale even if that’s one of your objectives. Write content that your target audience will find interesting, will want to share and importantly write something that you will want to read yourself.
This isn’t to say that you can’t pat yourselves on the back every now and again when you’ve had a good day, but keep it to a minimum. Self-promotion and sales pitches don’t drive readership.
Tips: the top voice may not be the best voice
As with choosing a spokesperson in any form of communications, the top voice may not be the best voice. If you have a series of junior or mid-level staff who can promote the company well, increase readership and maintain that readership, consider a strategy that puts those voices at the forefront of your campaign. The most successful bloggers or social media users may be unexpected and working out a way to make the best use of those people as part of your strategy will be best for your company in the long run.
The blogs that will fail, will fail because objectives haven’t been set and the work hasn’t gone in to properly execute the plan throughout. Don’t set up a blog because you think you should, work out exactly what you want from it and find a way of getting it. Just because it’s part of a digital communications strategy, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat it like you would any other part of the business model.
This guest post was written by Joshua Lachkovic, who is the digital marketing executive at Hotwire, a global PR agency with a heritage in tech PR.