Businesses have really grabbed hold of the idea of blogging. In fact, according to Hubspot, nearly 40% of businesses include blogging in their communications toolkit while business-to-business marketers that use blogging attract 67% more leads than business that don’t.
It’s no wonder, with all of the benefits of a corporate blog:
1. Personalizing your brand. A blog is the perfect place to showcase your company’s culture and voice.
2. Boosting your organic reach (SEO or Search Engine Optimization). When customers search for a product, service, or about a particular topic, Google, Bing, and Yahoo are more likely to show your company in the search results if your website is regularly updated (adding new blogs does this), and your content is relevant to the search.
3. Engaging your customers. Blogs can spark two-way conversations between a company and its customers, particularly when they are integrated into a social media campaign.
4. Establishing your company as an industry leader. You know what you’re talking about. See, the evidence is right here in your blog.
5. Reaching new customers. When your content is interesting and relevant, when it fits into the reader’s stream of consciousness without being forced, it becomes conversation fodder. Whether shared on social media, or brought up at the next friends’ wine night, you’ve provided something interesting to talk about.
Some companies are truly killin’ it in their blogging, including REI, whose title says it all: Co-Op Journal, Stories of a Life Outdoors. They tell stories relatable to their readers, rather than showcase the ins-and-outs of each product. Plenty of others are great too, like the aforementioned Hubspot, Honest Company, and Dollar Shave Club. Each actually provide something of value to their audience- from practical advice to a good laugh – rarely leading with “Here’s something you should know about our product.”
How NOT to blog
Now for the bad news. So many blogs out there, particularly those attached to smaller businesses, seem focused on using the blog to share news about themselves.
“Here’s information on our next event…”
“Check out our spring arrivals…”
“Look how much fun our program was this week…”
These kinds of blogs push, rather than pull readers in for more. They don’t engage, rather they announce and promote. They don’t educate or entertain.
You might fall into this camp if you’re wondering “Why isn’t anyone reading my blog?”
You pump out content a couple of times each week, but don’t seem to get anywhere with traffic, right?
It may be that your content is simply not very compelling to anyone other than (or even including) you.
What do your people care about?
Say you’re a new parent browsing the web one sleepless night; which of these posted by a private preschool seems most compelling?
- “The kids in our K-1 class had so much fun making their sand art today.” Or
- “How early childhood education promotes brain development, socialization and family stability.”
How much more value does this preschool provide to its readers if its content is more aligned with the second topic? Rather than sharing something about them, as the first post does, the second shares something for the reader.
The content then becomes less about the company and more about a problem the company exists to solve (ie. educating young children). It’s about the context the company and its customers or potential customers exist within.
Of those two subjects, which is more likely to bring the reader back to see what’s new tomorrow or next week? Which is he more likely to share with his other new-parent friends?
Educational and generally interesting content is not just more compelling and likely to gain repeat readers; it’s also easier to stumble upon in online searches.
If you’re that preschool, you want people who search “Early Childhood Education” to find your site. People searching those terms may be potential customers, employees, or advocates of your company who never knew of it before. Meanwhile, unless I’m the parent of a kid in the K-1 class who was making sand art, I’m not searching for “K-1 sand art.”
It’s more difficult to produce content that is educational or entertaining, but useful content is what will distinguish your blog from an online corporate billboard of announcements.
High-quality blogging requires some research and planning for which it can be hard to find the staff resource and time. But, staff resource and time aren’t exactly well allocated producing a blog no one cares about, are they?