How to Create a Successful Corporate Blog — 10 tips for content managers
Modern world is filled with ads and annoying pop-ups to which we have learned to turn a blind eye. On the other hand, the OMG Metrics gave the online advertisement six out of ten points on the scale of Internet users’ annoyance. In this situation web surfers were saved by Adblock and marketers armed themself with content marketing, the best tool for opening up to the customer needs.
To keep it short (nobody likes long definitions) we can say that it’s based on three pillars: distribution of interesting content, attracting customer’s attention and eliciting a response / engaging them in company’s live.
One of the forms of content marketing, which will help you in achieving these goals, is a business blog. Writing good articles, despite being relatively cheap, takes a lot of time and is far from publishing occasional posts. Therefore it’s worth to think what you should do to make your efforts count and audience grow.
Consider who will read your blog
The first question you should ask yourself before starting any work is for whom you will be writing. Find out who is your targeted audience and look for the topics that might interest them. Focus on fulfilling the informational, entertainment and educational functions as well as on building the company’s image and taking care of the relation between you and the reader. However, it does not mean that you have to avoid like a plague writing about the projects your team have worked on — remember, potential clients browse your website! Interesting case studies that elaborately (but not boringly) walk the customer through the creative process of your work will help in gaining their trust and maintaining transparency. For instance, if somebody is looking for help in creating new intranet system, they might like to read the article that is meticulously describing its development process. By various content (not limited to presentation of your work) and taking care of fulfilling multiple functions you will built the image of interesting company that is worth knowing.
Take care of User Experience
Remember about the importance of good UX — your blog should be intuitive and its architecture has to help readers in finding the content they are looking for. Focus on clarity and simplicity by dividing articles into categories. Despite the fact that this is the blog of your company, it should mainly meet the expectations of customers — try to analyze what you need to do to fulfill them. You can be sure that one of those necessities will be to take care of Responsive Web Design, therefore you have to ensure that your blog is fully responsive and conforming perfectly to all types of devices. Before every publication check out whether your content works properly on different screens — better safe than sorry!
Want to write? Read!
You will not have any problems in finding rankings of blogs that are exemplary in their work and worth browsing through. Take a look at how these blog are run and compare your work with theirs. However, remember about avoiding copying, the basis of every good blog is it’s originality! As part of doing research you should reflect on what influences the pleasure of reading and what makes it difficult. For inspiration for topics of articles you have to talk with your colleagues and ask them about what would attract them to your blog. Find out what interests them and you’ll see that your office is filled with unique ideas that will provide you with publications for at least next few months! At the same time keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to trends — check out on regular basis numerous website dedicated to your industry or social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter — by seeing what resonates well with the recipient you will be able to adapt the content to their needs.
Quality and quantity
It is obvious that the quality of your articles is most important, but you can’t publish articles irregularly. Research conducted by Hubspot clearly shows that blogs have a pronounced effect not only on the growth of online traffic, but also on the number of leads. But remember, you can’t fall into the trap of pursuing the highest number of entries! No one has achieved satisfactory results by publishing boring or vague articles. Never forget the first rule of this list when you are looking for the inspiration — you are writing for your readers. If you offer content created under the time pressure, you have to get used to being treated like an intrusive spam.
Make the calendar your best friend
Mixing the quality and quantity will be much easier if you get friendly with a calendar. Writing good articles requires a dedication of time and energy, it is therefore necessary to create a precise schedule of your publications. You can find online a full range of tools for effective planning of your work. In Merixstudio we had the opportunity to test for instance Todoist, Any.do or Wunderlist — see for yourself what will fit your needs best. It is also possible that a traditional paper calendar or Google Drive will work just fine — there is no method better than the others, the only thing that counts is the ease of use and the overall efficiency. If you share management of your blog with other employees, you absolutely need to make sure that everyone has the access to the schedule, where they can check what tasks they are assigned to.
Make Google fall in love in you
Published articles are great for directing readers to the subpages containing company’s offer or job recruitment. Take care of its visibility on the Internet with great quality SEO and make sure that both the content of the articles and their titles are aligned with the principles of positioning. With the publication of each article do not forget about the graphics and their adequate descriptions (alt text) — they not only improve the comfort of reading, but also significantly increase the number of page views! The whole article should include tailored keywords — Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends will help you in picking the right ones. Take your time to learn about SEO with many available tutorials or (often free) webinars. The time dedicated to improvement of your knowledge will without a doubt not be a time wasted — the proof of that will be visible in the growing popularity of your blog.
Don’t be scared of division of labor
As I already said, you should look for inspiration among your colleagues. As the person responsible for the blog you may not be able to write an expert article about, for example, the specifics of working with PHP — after all, developers have much greater knowledge on this topic. In my experience, however, not everyone enthusiastically approaches the idea of writing. Because of that it is a good idea to develop a method that combines the expertise of developers and your editorial skills. You can’t require from developers to create articles that will be ready for publication — is still your responsibility. However, specialists can provide a big dose of information that you would not be able to deliver. In this situation the schedule that I have talked about in previous points will come in handy — you will have the time to carefully peruse the draft version of the article and, if necessary, to make changes that will affect SEO or the comfort of reading. Thanks to that cooperation in Merixstudio we can publish articles that are consistent and that have a high expert value. Many employees can see the opportunity to share their knowledge with readers as a pleasant interlude from daily responsibilities. In addition to that, articles of this type have great employer branding value — hey highlight the employer’s trust in employee’s knowledge and appreciation of their contribution to the development of the company.
Rules won’t make the square out of you
Establishing rules helped us in making cooperation between author and editor much easier. It might sound boring, but no one likes chaos in the office. It enable considerable simplification of the creative process, particularly for writing the series of article like How we do it. Most of the articles published on our blog are based on the basic outline, therefore authors don’t have to worry whether the subject has been sufficiently described or not. Rules also help editors in thorough verification whether there is something that author forgot to write about. This does not mean, however, that we are limited in our creativity! Comparing our latest work with the one before the introduction of rules we can clearly see that our productivity has increased on par with the quality of publications.
Your work is not done after the publication
Content marketing is not only about blog just as a blog is not only about the publication of articles! You put a lot of work in it to be able to share it with a clear conscience — you meticulously selected the subject to fit the needs of the recipient, mastered the ins and outs of SEO and made sure that the article is easy to read and meets the highest standards. You can not, however, expect that readers will regularly check your website in search of new entries — they have social media for that! Now it’s time to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media around which you have gathered your audience. This is the moment where you take care of the third element of the content marketing — the relationship with the reader. React to comments, both positive and (hopefully not) negative and, if you can, talk to customers — now you have the opportunity to see what they think about your work. Keep track of the statistics — the number of likes, responses and clicks may show you which activities are particularly well received. Check out Google Analytics — just like in the case of SEO, you have the access to many articles or free webinars on the Internet. Thanks to those you will have no problem with understanding the wide range of tools Analytics offers. You will not have to intuitively plan future publications — the more you publish, the better you know the readers and what to do to make them happily come back to your blog.
Don’t be scared to be proud of yourself!
Do you know your blog as your own pocket? Are you getting positive feedback on social media? Do not be afraid to take advantage of that! As I have mentioned at the very beginning of this article, you can find various blog rankings online. If you are sure that your work has a great value, let professionals evaluate it! Thanks to that our blog is decorated with the “Corporate Blog of the 2015” badge — in the competition for the best corporate blogs we won the second place in the category of Professional Company Blog of the Year 2015 and the first in the category of Medium-Sized Company Blog of the Year! This win not only helped us in gaining broader audience, but it also motivated us to work even harder than before!
Effective corporate blogging requires knowledge and long-term planning. However, it undeniably has great value — often thanks to the published articles potential customers contact us to talk about cooperation. Additionally, when we are recruiting new employees we often hear that the blog and activities in social media nudged them to send us their CV. With the skillful blog management we are increasing employee’s pride of being a part of the company — we have received uplifting words of praise or questions about current vacancies while attending industry events. All this is a good argument if you are concerned whether your employer will want to invest in content management. Keep in mind that effects will not be seen with the moment of publication of the first entry, but thanks to regular work you will not be able to rid yourself of the positives!
Originally published at www.merixstudio.com on March 21, 2016