How to Get the Most out of a Company Blog
Regularly updating a company blog can be an effective tool in your marketing strategy. Blogs have the potential to reach a wide audience, can encourage traffic to your company’s website, improve your SEO and promote your brand. It is a low-cost way to build and maintain loyal relationships with customers, and help potential clients find you.
A blog is fast becoming the standard for businesses of all kind, and readers are increasingly expecting frequent posts of interesting content. It’s crucial to get these aspects right to build your brand’s reputation as trustworthy, dependable and generous.
Looks are Key
The appearance and style of your blog should closely match that of your site, since you want the blog to strengthen branding, not detract from it, or pull it in a different direction.
Focus on creating a simple design, with plenty of visuals to break up the text. Make sure the latest content is accessible and that the site is mobile-friendly. It should be straightforward for a reader to see how they can engage with the posts, in the comment sections or by a messaging tool.
You may wish to use templates, or consider outsourcing design, as this is fundamental to the success of the blog.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
The SEO game has evolved somewhat from the days of keyword stuffing. Now, Google punishes sites that repeat key words and phrases to the extreme, in an effort to place higher in search results of that topic.
Furthermore, it’s not good blogging practice to mislead readers, thinking you can ‘trick’ them into clicking on your site. You can be confident that this will drive away visitors.
It is far better to be upfront about the content you are offering, and to focus on consistently publishing quality posts.
Having said that, there are a couple of things you can do for your SEO. Use synonyms of keywords and phrases, especially in the first and last paragraphs of a post. Variety of language is a good writing tip anyway, but Google does favour this over straight repetition of terms, and often scans openings and closings of posts.
Choose your headings smartly, too. Try to think about what someone might be typing into the search bar – the last thing you want to do is to make it harder for a searcher to find you.
Fresh content is essential, as Google looks unfavourably on material recycled from your website. If you lack the time, it is a better idea to outsource writers than take shortcuts.
On a practical note, link your blog to your company website. This sounds obvious, but creating a separate Wordpress account won’t increase visibility or traffic to your business site if the search engine can’t tell they are related. Host the blog on your main domain to avoid this problem, and make sure blog activity is improving the standing of the company site.
Some businesses prefer to write lots of content and queue it to be published gradually by their CMS. This can work, but risks posts being out of touch and irrelevant.
BloggingPro recommends two to five posts a week for a new blog that is looking to build a readership base. You need to adjust this to suit you, but, whatever number you choose, be consistent. Readers want to know what to expect in terms of frequency, so they know when to check back, and can feel confident that there will be new material when they do.
Engaging your reader will promote your blog, as readers are attracted to sites that are buzzing with discussion and life. They will be more likely to check back later if your blog is provoking interesting, new debates.
While you can’t force readers to comment, you can tailor your content to encourage response. Bloggers have had success growing their site’s interactive content through a few methods, which you could trial. Often mentioning the names of commenters directly in posts and responding to their points in detail can urge your comment section on. The chance to be recognised and communicated with in this way appeals to some. If you’re struggling to get things started, ask friends to start the conversation, since often people don’t want to be the first to comment.
This is basic: always reply to comments. And be quick at manually deleting the off-putting spam comments that slip through your filter. Many bloggers recommend setting the blog as your home screen, so that you always deal with comments swiftly, and take the time to check on the blog every day, first thing.
Planning Content and Blog Vision
Setting goals and working out how you are going to reach them is vital. How is your blog content going to drive and relate to your product over a long period of time? How can you relate issues that matter to your target audience back to your business? How will you maximise the reach of the blog?
An editorial calendar is an excellent way of staying on top of content. Get all of your themes down on paper, schedule progression by writing specific titles and topics, and plan around important dates, like blog milestones and industry events. Adding structure to your posting will increase the impact of your blog long term. In the short term, you could try writing weekly ‘How-to’ articles, or a regular light-hearted, fun post to give yourself a framework.
Consider what expertise you have to offer. Brainstorm: make lists, spider diagrams, vision boards, collages, inspiring sculptures – do whatever harnesses your creative energy and cultivate new ideas. Social networks sites and forums like Quora can be sources of inspiration, helping you pinpoint specific questions people are asking. You could fill that need and contribute answers.
Effective marketing strategies stress the importance of knowing your target audience. Clearly define the demographic you want to reach: their age, location, career, but also interests, hobbies, and network of values. Understanding who you’re speaking to and what is important to your audience will help you generate relevant content and pitch the tone right.
This should go without saying, but so many companies make this mistake. Separate company news - press releases, promos, updates - from the blog. A blog is not the place to be showy and self-promoting all the time. Your focus should be creating a reliable space of good value content that will bring readers in, and keeping them coming back to the site. Keep the bulletins in a separate News section, far away from the blog.
Don’t agonise over grammar or fancy vocabulary, it’s more important to get your ideas out there – this is what people really care about in a blog. Spelling is important, and clear expression is a must if you want anyone to read past the first sentence, but checking over the words a couple of times for errors is enough. Just get posting!
Include different perspectives. Blogs thrive when they are fed by multiple points of view, and different voices are thrown into the mix. Writing blog posts is not just for marketers, get everyone involved with the production of content. This will make for a far more nuanced and engaging presentation of your company.
Guest bloggers are a great way to build your network and make friends in the blogging community. There is a wealth of knowledge to tap into, and you can offer your own contributions in return. Give-and-take relationships enable your blog to be shared more widely, as the guest contributor will likely share the post across their networks.
A starting point could be targeting authors and speakers in your industry, who may well be happy to share their thoughts in a short piece. Remember there are mutual benefits, as they too will gain from the exposure.
Keep Going and be Patient
Maybe it would be kinder to yourself not to look too far into analytics at the very beginning, just get your head down and create some fabulous blog posts!
Naomi is an English graduate with an itch to write. Her free time is spent blogging, reading feminist writing, cycling, cooking and managing her food Instagram account. Her not-so secret talent is the ability to nap anywhere. Follow her @Songbird_Naomi
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How to Get the Most out of a Company Blog Reviewed by Naomi Pyburn on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Rating: