Blogging Analysis: Rainforest
Rainforest is looking to change the world of quality assurance…if they haven’t already done so.
If you’re building a website there are going to be issues.
The way you or the person building the site finds and fixes those issues with with quality assurance or QA.
If you’re working on a relatively small project you can usually scrounge up a handful of people to test the site. You can have internal people try different functions on the site and report back with issues or bugs.
But larger projects, and even those small projects, can benefit from a team of trained testers or QA-ers. That’s where Rainforest comes in.
You can see some of the big companies using their service and I’m sure many more are as well.
Today we’re going to look at their blog and see how they’re using it to attract more of their target clients.
Just this week I read a post on Moz that said:
The companies with the highest ROI focus on blogging…(as it relates to online marketing)
And Rainforest, since they have a blog, seem to recognize the importance as well.
Let’s check out their blog.
1. Simple Blog Design
The first note I want to mention is the design of the Rainforest Blog.
It’s a little unique in the business blog world, but I like it. The difference is that the blog is kind of on its own. The top navigation is different from the main site. In fact, the entire design and layout is really separate from the main site.
That can be a good thing. Most people that come to your blog posts are first-time visitors and repeat visitors to the blog. They’re going to be interacting with the blog and with your brand for the first time. So a simple design can work well.
Then you have the call-to-action at the top right, which I also like. It can take people from the blog to the main site to start learning more about what the company does and what it has to offer the reader.
If you think about your online efforts like building a relationship with a new client in person, the blog would be the very first part of that conversation – it’s how people find you and start to get to know you.
I like the way Rainforest is doing it with their design.
2. Commenting On Other Content
I think I’ve mentioned this before in the Blog Analysis series; maybe not with a full point though.
One great type of blog post is to comment on other content. That’s exactly what Rainforest did with this post that comments on another post relating to their industry on another site.
In just about every industry you’ll find great blogs. You probably read the blogs in your industry. You probably agree with many things being said and maybe you disagree with a few.
It can make for a good post that is valuable for your readers if you take popular industry blog posts and add your additional comments. Maybe you agree with what was said and you simply want to add to it. Or maybe you disagree and want to provide a different point of view.
Either way is valuable for your readers. They want to know both sides of the conversation. Do it in a respectful way. I think Rainforest did a great job with their post. It’s a good example of this type of post.
3. Talking About Product Updates And The Future
Two things that work about posts like this one:
First, it’s good to provide product updates. Rainforest has done that with a few posts in the past. It looks like they used to do that more before they started writing other types of posts. Your customers do want to know about product updates and they like hearing it from your perspective. And a blog is one good channel for communicating changes.
But second and what I really like about this article is that it discusses the future for the company. People really like knowing what your plans on for the future. They’re your customers and they’re paying for what you’re doing now, but they still feel like they’re paying for what you offer in the future. They want to be part of your long-term success. It’s not the same, but it’s kind of like sports contracts. Teams pay for future performance or what they expect future performance to be.
4. Features About Employees
Here is a feature about an employee at Rainforest and one of their main bloggers, Paul Burt. He seems to do quite a bit for the company and his posts are great.
I’ve seen companies do this kind of post from time to time and I’m always a fan. What I’ve noticed is that one of the most trafficked pages on many business website is the About page. People want to know who you are behind the logo and the brand. They want to know who’s running things and who they’ll be working with.
The world today is getting more remote. We can communicate with video conferences and all kinds of things, but a lot of communicate is via email and similar channels. That leaves out some of the human side. So posts like this one show the human side of your company.
And that can make you more appealing to potential customers.
5. How Often To Publish
It looks like Rainforest has been publishing about 1-2 posts per month. That’s a good frequency.
I just wanted to comment on what we see from our experience because I get that question from time to time.
We see that the sweet spot with many brands and blogs is weekly posts. It seems to be a manageable frequency for the company and it’s a good amount to build incoming traffic from organic channels.
The general rule of thumb is that the more you post the more traffic you’ll get. I think that’s true to a point. It’s a balance between still writing good content and writing as much as you can. If you push to write more and the content suffers you’ll want to pull back.
But on the flip side, if there are more topics you can cover it’s a sign to increase to take advantage of the traffic and leads opportunity.
There is a lot to like about the Rainforest blog. I feel like even with just a little examination that I got a feel for who they are as a company. And the posts looked very valuable to the target reader. And that’s the most important aspect of any blog.
It’s a good blog to use as a good example if you’re looking to start your own business blog.