10 Corporate Blogging Tips Expanded

Corporate BuildingEarlier this summer there was a great article posted on American Express’ Open Forum.

The article 10 Tips for Corporate Blogging is pretty straightforward as the title insinuates. The article quotes the study from HubSpot stating that Businesses That Blog Get 55% More Visitors and Blog Traffic.

It’s encouraging to see large online publications like Open Forum writing more about corporate blogging. The appeal of business blogging is growing as 43% of US companies will be Blogging by 2012. These companies will be taking advantage of the 50% of web users that are reading blogs each month.

I thought it would be valuable to take a deeper dive into each of the 10 tips offered for corporate blogs by post author Erica Swallow.

I encourage you to read the entire original post for great examples along with Erica’s great insight.

Here are the 10 original tips with my open thoughts…

10 Tips for Corporate Blogging

Original Post: 10 Tips for Corporate Blogging

1. Establish a Content Theme and Editorial Guidelines

It’s important to setup a loose content theme and guidelines for your business blog. I also feel there should be room for experimenting and flexibility with the blogging format.

Blogs typically evolve as the audience forms and determines the direction of the content. As a blog owner you’ll need to understand what your audience enjoys reading and what they do not enjoy reading. The way you can tell if your readers are liking what you’re writing is to track the traffic to each post.

What kinds of posts get the most traffic?

What posts get the most comments?

What kind of traffic (referral, search, social) do posts receive?

These are all important questions for determining if you’re blog is taking the correct theme.

Guidelines and themes are important for business blogs, but remember the restrictions need to be relatively loose in order to gain traction with readers. It’s a careful balance to make sure your company maintains a strong brand image while also experimenting with topics and opinions that won’t sit well with everybody.

A favorite quote of mine is from Adam Singer of The Future Buzz:

“Judging from comments and emails, 50% of you loved my post today, 50% of you hated it. That’s success IMO.”

Erica gets it exactly right when determining the name and design theme for your blog. Match what your customer expects from your brand. It’s worth it to have a professional design done for your blog. Even if you take an existing blog theme and have someone customize it to suit your customers’ eye and your own it’s worth it to have something unique and appealing.

Your blog’s design theme should represent both the blog itself and the business behind it along with the people writing each of the posts. Match the design with the personality of your business and you should have no problem.

2. Choose a Blogging Team and Process

Choosing a team of dedicated writers can be difficult for a business. If possible, you’ll want to find people within your company that are excited about the idea of creating a blog. Let these people take over as the “owner” of the blog. Let them run with ideas within reason. This will empower them to make the blog a success.

Regular meetings to review metrics, content themes, and progress are good to make sure the blog maintains connection with your business is important. Make sure the blog is still a valuable way to spend your company’s resources.

Choose people that are versed in blogging and are willing to continue improving with their blogging skills. This is key. A huge trend with blogs is there is big initial excitement that ceases after a few months due to low traffic and disinterest. Blogging is a long-term commitment with long-term results.

Make sure you have the right people working on your blog. Make sure they want to dive full into your industry and into the craft of blogging.

3. Humanize Your Company

This tip is critical. Erica proves her expertise with this tip alone.

With business blogging there is often push back from different areas of the company regarding the ‘voice’ of the blog. The blog writers often have push back on how much they can share, what they can discuss, and how they can voice their opinions.

Allow your bloggers to show that they are human. This will foster relationships and connections – the core of building a strong blog community. People are also more willing to feel comfortable doing business with people rather than a robot voice.

4. Avoid PR and Marketing

Erica is right that blogs are a place of valuable content mostly void of sales and marketing jargon. A blog is a place where your knowledgeable voice can take center stage as a resource for readers and potential customers.

I believe there is a balance between providing valuable content while mixing in your products and services. You still want to make a profit after all.

5. Welcome Criticism

As mentioned earlier by Adam Singer – criticism is good. Accept the fact that your blogging voice won’t connect with everybody. And if it does you’re doing something wrong.

6. Outline a Comment Policy

I like Tim Ferriss‘ take on blog commenting (I paraphrase from a video I saw awhile back): “Your blog is your home. Don’t let people into your blog that you wouldn’t let into your home.”

If you don’t want someone cursing or being disrespectful make it clear in the blogging guidelines and feel free deleting their comments. But remember Tip #5 above. It’s a line you have to walk with blog commenting.

7. Get Social

Find the appropriate social channels and make sure to showcase links to your channels on your blog. Readers are often looking to connect with you in their preferred social channels so allow them to easily connect with you.

8. Promote Your Blog

Use your existing customer communication channels to showcase your blogging activity. Make sure your customers know about your blog.

9. Monitor Mentions and Feedback

As Erica mentions, Google Alerts is a great way to monitor mentions about your blog and your company for that matter. Also check things like BackTweets to see what others are saying about you.

10. Track Everything

Google Analytics is your savior for checking your blogging metrics.

Define what your metrics for success are with your blog and monitor them over time. Also set goals and budgets for your blog to make sure you’re seeing return for your investment of dollars and resources. But remember that blogging is a long-term commitment and set your metric goals accordingly.

Bonus Insight

If you’re still with us after those 10 key tips for corporate blogging you are probably starting to realize that corporate blogging is a big commitment – at least if you expect strong results in the form of sales leads, customer appreciation, and profit.

Skyscraper image courtesy of paul (dex)

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