Running a company blog might not be at the top of your list of priorities but, as a website owner, it’s important to understand the value and brand awareness that having an engaging blog can bring to your organisation. A blog is one of the most inexpensive but effective marketing tools at your disposal, providing your visitors with interesting content that can inspire, motivate and educate. It’s more formal that social media, less formal than a white paper, and is a fantastic way to share your expertise about your field, asserting yourself as a knowledgeable influencer in your chosen market.
It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘sell, sell, sell’ mentality that pervades so many marketing channels but this way of thinking will be frustrating to your audience. They’re not there to be sold to, they’re there because they’re passionate about your brand and the market it operates in. They want to know more about you, not your latest 20% off deal. By all means, reference your products and services within a blog post if it fits the context of the article but keep the self-promotion to a minimum and, instead, think about how your words will entertain, educate and inspire your readers.
You might be able to put a price on the reader who clicks through a post and ends up purchasing a product but what about the person who is drawn to your blog, purchases a product six months later when you have your annual sale and ends up as a loyal customer for life? You simply can’t put a price on the brand loyalty that comes from a dedicated audience.
Whether you decide to blog three times a week, once a week or once a fortnight, consistency is key when it comes to blogging. It’s well worth taking the time to create a content calendar in advance and jot down a few ideas for the coming months; there’s nothing worse than having a post date looming without any idea of what you’re going to write about.
Think about upcoming events in your business calendar that may be worth talking about – interesting events you’re attending, legislation changes and key industry releases are all topics you should be covering that you can add to your calendar in advance.
Know Your Audience
It’s important to always keep in mind who you’re writing for – the consumer. You’re not writing for yourself, your competitors, your employees or your suppliers. You’re writing for those people who are passionate enough about your brand to follow your online activities and value what you say enough to regularly check your blog for new content. When you’re planning a post or filling out your content calendar, this is the person you should be visualising.
Take time to get to know your audience. If you don’t have existing market research data to go on, your website analytics will be a goldmine. You’ll see which blog posts and website pages are particularly popular, you can track the journey customers take on your website, and your social media sites will give you a great breakdown of the demographic and interests of your followers.
Vary the Content
This one goes alongside the content calendar. Plan some content in advance but don’t feel as though you have to stick to the same rotation of topics month in, month out. Keep things interesting by tackling a variety of post types – industry news, internal news, top tips, fun lists, polls, giveaways, interviews with staff and key influencers…the list is endless.
Additionally, take wider events into account when you start to brainstorm content ideas. Posting an in-depth analysis of a recent change to legislation is not going to be well-received if you post it the week before Christmas. In a similar vein, a round up of the biggest news stories of the year or a post looking ahead at future trends are both ideas that are likely to be extremely popular around the Christmas and New Year period.
Look Further Afield
It’s tempting to look at your blog as just another way to promote your business but readers will soon tire of reading post after post about your upcoming products, events and projects. Instead of focusing on insular topics, look further afield and bring in guest writers who are experts within your market.
Perhaps there’s a talented writer who can guest post on behalf of one of your suppliers, or a blogger with a large following who can prepare a post for you. Guest posting is a symbiotic relationship that should benefit both parties, so reach out and form new connections that could evolve into valuable partnerships.
So what are you waiting for? Go out there and start creating content for your blog that your readers will love. We hope our five tips help give you some clarity about the important role a blog can play in your organisation’s marketing strategy and if you have any questions about corporate blogging, please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments.