A company blog: Not your only online marketing tool, but still the best.
Over the past several months, I've immersed myself into social media. Genuinely interested in learning the tools, but honestly believing that those tools could help launch my latest business.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of a company blog is that you own it. Owning the rights to your company's blog (and website, of course) allow you to design your own page the way you choose to and offer content the way you'd like to diplay it. There are very few restrictions and no guidelines.
There are frequent changes to other social media platforms. Facebook will undergo another makeover soon. Facebook's Timeline, which was to be a user option will now be mandatory. You may soon be forced to adjust your Facebook Page to the Timeline format, also. Time will tell. Having your own blog provides you with stability.
Providing great content and sharing via other social media will also drive more traffic to you site. By concentrating your marketing efforts on facebook, for example, your companies content is diluted. When you create helpful, informative content on your blog, you have the viewers complete attention. Getting your blog to then rank, and rank higher in search engines, further increases your viewer traffic and increases lead generation
Today, nearly everyone recognizes the importance of a company website. For the most part, if companies don't have a website they're often not taken seriously. More importantly, if the consumer can't find you, they're not buying from you.
So why the need for a blog? Having a nice-looking, engaging blog with quality, up-to-date content will create, develop and popularize your brand. Your website will tell people about your products. Your blog will show them that you're a 'player'; an authority in your field.
Let's take a look a Pottery Barn's website. It sells home décor. Their blog sells a lifestyle. Likewise, Patagonia sell sports gear. Their blog sells adventure. And Google, well, Google is a company that makes money collecting and sharing information. The Google blog sells a culture.
Directory of Fortune 500 companies that have business blogs.
A company blog, unlike a website, is viewed as more personable and community driven, therefore, it should generate some kind of good will. Pottery Barn teaches it's customers how to host a dinner party or decorate a beach-front home. Patagonia shares stories of perseverance and reaching one's goals. Google answers your questions and satiates your curiosities.
Give thought to how will offer good will to your blog followers.
Before you begin building your blog, you should ask yourself a few critical questions.
1-Can I afford a blog?
Most blog templates are free and the hosting platforms can be free, as well, but don't neglect to consider the time it will take someone to set it up and maintain it. Will that someone be you?
2-Who will be in charge of the blog?
If you can't spare the time to, having an employee manage the company blog is the next logical solution. Is that person equipped to define your company's directive?
3-What's the plan?
You (hopefully) developed a business plan before asking for capital. You, surely, had a idea of what you wanted before hiring a web designer. Your blog can be a powerful tool-define your strategy before you begin.
4-How will the company manage negative comments?
As I mentioned earlier, the blog should be a conversation. There will be times when someone engaged in the conversation is unhappy. It's important to outline your response protocol before negative press happens. When it does happen, this is when your authentic and transparent writing will serve you best. (I discuss authenticity and transparency below)
5-When will I know it's impacting my business?
A business is a living breathing entity. It must be nurtured and monitored daily. Eventually, you will want to know if your blogging efforts are increasing your bottom line. There are tools that can help you with that. If you discover through analytics that your blogging is not worth the time (defined as money) you may decide to abandon it.
When we're introduced to someone, we generally shake hands, share a little bit about ourselves, speak politely and ask them a few questions. A company blog should be written in the same manner, keeping these tips in mind:
1. Be authentic
If you can only afford ginger ale, don't talk incessantly about buying champagne
2. Be transparent
This is quite like authenticity. Be human. Share. Honesty.
3. Understand your audience
If you are just starting out, it will take some time before you understand your readers. This is why it is important to be authetic. Write about things that do truly matter to you.
4. Solicit feedback
You want your blog to become a forum. The more conversations that are started and continued the more buzz you'll generate. Buzz is good.
5. Don’t be offensive or take big public risks
It's best to stay clear of controversial topics. If your company sells toasters, there really is not need to debate immigration law.
6. Have fun
We do our best work when we enjoy what we do. It's as simple as that.
Presumably, your audience will be your current customers, potential customers, partners, suppliers and employees. Think about what kinds of information they would find valuable and interesting. Review other company blogs, including your competitor's blog and glean information from them. Your blog doesn't, and often shouldn't, solely discuss your product or services. That is what your website is for.
Did your employees form a running team? If they did it surely indicates their interest in the sport. Write about it. Write posts about the volunteer efforts of your company's partners. If your suppliers are based over-seas, write a post highlighting their local culture and cuisine.
There are hundreds of blog designs to choose from on the web. Once you've selected a template and learned a little HTML you can begin to build your site. Here are the most popular sites for you to consider:
Trying to choose a template can be stressful. Take some time to peruse the web and look for blogs that you personally like. If you find a blog you like, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Very often a link bringing you to the same theme and platform will be shown.
- Checklist: How to Start a Business Blog
web sites with a blog received 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages than those that didn’t have a blog. Businesses in particular can capitalize on this because businesses that blog experience 126% higher lead growth