For years now, having a blog has become imperative to almost any business that has an online presence, whether it’s a small start up or a multi-national corporation.
Marketers were not all necessarily prepared for this new need in the marketplace. Corporate blogging raises a lot of questions for marketers – what should you write about? How often should you write? What do online readers want to read from a corporate blog, if anything? And how do you write content that helps lead to more sales, leads and conversions?
Blogging became a necessity – and one that isn’t always taken seriously by business owners, or marketers. In fact, more often than not, marketers tend to simply churn out content when they have to and then forget about it, and focus on other things.
They feel like corporate blogging doesn’t really bring in results, and it’s just something that they have to do, because, well, others do it too. This might be the reason why so many corporate blogs fail, and yet continue to exist with their infrequent, and sometimes irrelevant postings.
Content marketing, and blogging in particular, especially in its inception, traveled a similar trajectory to social media marketing. Marketers, and businesses in general, didn’t really know what they should do, and what they shouldn’t. There’s been a lot of trial and error, but compared to social media which more marketers embraced and perfected as time went on and it became clear it was there to stay, content marketing sometimes stagnated and left a lot to be desired. Perhaps it’s because social media marketing yields more tangible results, such as engagement and follower numbers. Content marketing and blogging on the other hand, doesn’t always bring the same clear results, especially when not done well.
That being said, there are some great examples of corporate blogging, such as the Virgin Atlantic blog, that makes you want to buy a plane ticket and see the world. Or the Buffer blog, with all of their digital marketing and social media tips and tricks. There are plenty of examples of good practices in corporate blogging, although the bad ones often overshadow them. The question is – what makes some corporate blogs succeed and what makes others fail?
What makes a good corporate blog?
Consumers are tempted to think that a business blog is basically just a slow form sales pitch. Businesses, and corporations in particular, aren’t always viewed as trustworthy, even by their fans. After all, you would expect that a corporate blog is simply there to make more sales, which leads to a lack of trust in the information provided. People barely trust the press nowadays – so why should they trust a corporation that only has its own interests in mind?
However, as I mentioned earlier, some corporate marketers manage to find a way to build a base of loyal, interested readers. How do they do it?
- A solid content strategy – the best corporate blogs have a clear content marketing strategy holding them together. They have a content calendar set in place, and never forget to post when they’re supposed to.
- Know the audience – it’s extremely important to know who your public is. After all, this is how you find out what you should be writing about, how you should write it and where you should promote it so that it reaches your audience. Blogs can take different forms, such as written, audio or video – and it might be that for some video content would work better than written. Or perhaps some would benefit from a blend of audio content, such as podcasts, and informative blog posts. The issue is figuring out what works best for your business.
- The visuals – a good blog will make good use of visual content, whether it’s images, video or cool infographics. It’s very tiring and often boring to read a 2000-word article online with no images or other visuals to break them up. Visual content improves readability considerably, and it also makes a blog look much better.
- The blog’s content – this is one of the most important aspects of a good blog. Is your content interesting to your audience? Why would they want to read what you have to say? You have to be sure of the content you write, that it is interesting, informative or entertaining to your readers.
- Promotion – You might have a good blog, but without the right promotion, on the right channels, nobody will actually get to see it.
- Forget about sales for a minute – While it might seem counter-productive, sometimes you have to forget that you’re looking to sell something to all of your readers. Some of the best corporate blogs aren’t afraid to write favorably about their competitors or write about something that doesn’t necessarily have that much to do with their business. If you want readers to come to your blog, it can’t look like you’re constantly trying to sell them something.
- Style and branding consistency – a corporate blog, like most types of blogs, need a consistency in style, as well as in the subjects you approach.
What makes a bad corporate blog?
- No strategy – this is one of the biggest problems failing blogs have. If you don’t have any kind of strategy in place, it clearly shows. No strategy leads to inconsistencies in posting, weak content, as well as a lot of time lost.
- Bad writing – this is another big one. Some corporate blogs read as though they were written just for the sake of being written. They are short, and while reading them you feel like you learn absolutely nothing new, or interesting in any way. When writing content, you have to ask yourself, is this going to be of any interest to my readers? Will they learn something, or will they be entertained?
- Sales, sales, sales – a blog shouldn’t feel like a constant sales pitch. If every post is about how great your product is no one will want to read it. In fact, it might have the opposite effect and make people not want to have anything to do with your business. That’s not to say you should forget completely about your products – but rather that you should try to find the balance between advertising your product or services, while also making it interesting for the reader.
- No search engine optimization – if you want people to find your blog and read it than you need to make sure you have your SEO covered. That means knowing what SEO is and what it implies, having a keyword strategy in place, and making sure that you have search engines in mind whenever you produce content.
- Not having patience – Just like with social media marketing, many are quickly disappointed when they don’t see amazing results right away. But content marketing and blogging takes time to develop. You can’t just write a few articles and expect to have huge surges in traffic and conversion rates the next day. Blogs can take as long as several years to fully grow and build a solid reader base.
So, do marketers make good bloggers? Like most cases, there is no clear-cut, black or white answer. I think that what makes some good and others bad is their commitment to content marketing – and if they are taking it seriously or not.