It wasn’t long ago that blogging was considered to be primarily a diary-like personal endeavor focused on whatever topics the writer fancied. But blogging isn’t just for amateurs anymore. It is, in fact, big business, with many of the big players emerging as virtual celebrities. Businesses are becoming more aware of the benefits of blogging as a means to connect with their customers, promote their products, and provide valuable SEO content. We’ll share with you some of the ways blogging can help your business, and some examples on how to keep your blog fresh and interesting.
1. Connect with Customers
A company blog, no matter how dry the subject matter, give those in your industry a reason to visit your website. Your existing customers are your bread and butter. Providing them with info, tips, and insight will only keep them engaged with you. Their comments on your posts can also provide valuable feedback. If you can find a way to entertain them at the same time, you’ll find them coming back much more often.
2. Content for SEO
A company blog will provide your website an ongoing stream of content, which is good for SEO. As you write about your company or industry, be aware of the keywords on which you want to focus, and be sure to write articles with those keywords in mind. You don’t have to load the articles up with forced keywords – in fact, as long as the keywords are in the title, it doesn’t really matter if you load up the body with them or not. Google is usually smart enough to figure out when your content is contrived.
3. Product Promotion
I’ve seen companies who have no content on their blog aside from product promotions, which isn’t nearly as effective as dropping product promotions inside related articles or when posted alongside other non-promotional blog posts. There is a much less spammy feel when promotions are simply a small part of the content you are creating.
4. Social Media Cross-Promotion
Corporate blogging can greatly enhance your social media strategy. Social networks allow you to alert all of your followers whenever you have posted anything new on your company blog. Conversely, your blog can also be a means to encourage your customers to follow you on Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter.
Not all businesses have sexy products, but that doesn’t mean that readers from your industry should be asked to read dry, boring blog posts. I had the pleasure of contracting for a large marketing firm in 2010, and part of my job was to maintain the blog for what I felt was a very boring tech company based in Korea. At first, most of my focus was on writing rather straightforward industry-related posts. After a few months, I asked how much room I had to expand the blog, and was told to do whatever I thought would work best – primarily because the traffic on the blog was rather low at that time. I decided to inject more humor, more photos, and more list-type blog posts into the mix, and hit social networks hard with each post. I kept my posts much shorter than before, often only a paragraph accompanied by a picture or video. Within a month I had doubled the traffic on their blog and my clients called me personally to thank me for my efforts.
Two Hurdles in Blogging for Businesses
When I meet with businesses to discuss social media strategies, the topic of blogging always comes up, and I’m always met with the same issues: Getting the blog set up on their website, and a lack of ideas for content. Installing a blog onto an existing website is usually quite easy, but many small businesses haven’t put much time, effort, or resources into their website – and many don’t even have a person maintaining it. This “set it up and forget it” mentality is precisely why so many small businesses have no traffic to their websites, and further emphasizes their need for constant, fresh content.
Once a company decides to finally install a blog onto their website, the next issue becomes creating a stream of business-related content. The first instinct of many new business bloggers is to write epic, industry-related dissertations similar to what they’d find in an industry journal. While those articles are great, maintaining that pace over the long haul borders on impossible. I tell new business bloggers that posts don’t have to be epic, nor even necessarily informative. My advice is to listen to company chatter and gossip, and allow your blog to reflect that. Did you see a story on CNN about something that affects your industry? Write a paragraph about how it affects you, and embed the video in your post. Are there funny stories your salesmen tell about crazy calls or impossible clients? Those can be the basis for a blog as well, either humorous or educational. Hear any industry-related jokes? Re-post them. Did you attend a recent convention? Write a summary of your thoughts and post pictures. Your business is the breeding ground for comments and conversations related to your business. If you keep an ear to the ground with blogging in mind, you’ll have no problem coming up with topics for your blog posts.
When your business blog takes on a softer, more personal side of your industry, you will capture the attention of your readers and find connections much easier to make.
When All Else Fails
Some businesses simply don’t have an extra person to spare to update their blog. In that case, it might be time to hire an outside source. There are many places online to find writers, such as Craigslist and Fiverr, to name a few. Here at Waffles, our writers have done some ghost writing as well. If you’re interested, tweet us @wafflesatnoon or follow us on Facebook and message us there. (We don’t post an email address due to excessive spam in every instance that we’ve done so in the past.)
Read more of our articles on blogging.