Companies are embracing blogs as a strategic marketing and communication tool that won’t break the bank. In 2010, we will see more and more companies (big and small) starting and maintaining their own corporate blog.
1) Formulate your goal.
Are you a small business owner looking to increase your online sales? Do you want to create brand or product awareness? Are you looking to showcase thought leadership? Are you looking to highlight your companies’ charitable activities? Do you want to communicate with your customers more directly to find out what they think about your product? Do you want to use it for posting news, updates or to do damage control? The answer determines the content as well as the voice of your corporate blog. An example of a brand awareness blog is Coca-Cola’s Conversations.
2) Formulate the content. A B2B blog on a business website should offer new, interesting, and relevant content. We all know that search engines love new content, so make sure your blog posts incorporate relevant and important keywords. Linking to other websites and to interior sub-pages is essential. If done correctly, new blog content ensures that search engines keep crawling and indexing your site to regularly. The White House blog is a nice example of blog containing links and video.
3) Decide on the frequency. It might seem so obvious, but way too many corporate (as well as private) blogs often become inactive over time. Companies often cite lack of resources (time, contributors, content) as the main reason(s). Having an inactive or infrequent blog can do more harm than good to a business and its image. The best way to avoid this pitfall, is setting up a fixed schedule for new posts – ideally at least once a week!
4) Decide who is going to write, post, manage, and supervise. A business must decide who is going to write the blog posts. Is it one person (internal employee or a freelancer?), or can several people in a company contribute? In any case, it’s good to have a proofreader/editor to ensure that the content is in sync with the corporate policy (and, of course, legal requirements). The posts writer(s) should be aware of the themes and topics they can blog about, as well as important keywords and links they have to embed. For various target groups, large companies often opt for several blogs. Just take a look at carmaker Daimler that has two corporate blogs on its website: the Daimler-Blog (in German), where Daimler employees post articles in the Daimler-Blog providing insights into their daily business, and Car2Go-Blog (also in German), which serves as an additional exchange platform for the pilot project Car2Go.
5) Find your voice. Blog readers want to be informed in an entertaining way. They don’t like to be targeted by (blatant) sales pitches or marketing fluff. As a company, you know your own customers and target audience best. You need to find the right way to get your message across. If you do need to promote a new product or service, use the corporate blog to tease and entertain – it’s far more effective.
6) Make it personal. Your website is the formal side of your business; your blog shows your human side. The idea is to communicate with your readers as equals – in short, make it personal and become their friend. The latest example of a personable blog is TheGatesNotes of Bill Gates (yes, the one of Microsoft fame).
7) Make it user-friendly. Corporate blogs should be fun to read, and peppering it with illustrations and video clips only enhances its appeal. Humor can be used, but be aware of cultural, religious, or other sensibilities – you don’t want to alienate! Allowing comments is a given, but monitor carefully. Spammers often try to leave URLs in blog posts containing malware. Negative comments can be handled in two ways: if blatantly abusive, they must be removed. If a comment is negative but not abusive, it must be addressed in a following blog post (if it relates to a major issue, such as reputation crisis) or as a comment from the company to the comment of the poster. Allow readers to subscribe to various feeds, including RSS feeds. If done properly, you will be amazed how a corporate blog can benefit a business. Let us show you how!