You’ve been told you need a company blog, so you have one.
You may even publish an article every once in awhile (if you remember). But overall, your blog is a “dead-end zone.” Heck, you don’t even want to read it! Your content is that boring – if this sounds at all familiar, you’re not alone.
Too many companies have enthusiastically created a blog because they were told it was vital to their marketing efforts, all the while not really understanding how it fits into an overall strategy. Here we’ll review the why behind creating a company blog, how to integrate it into your marketing plan and how to create engaging content people actually want to read:
If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Your company blog is a lot like that tree. If you don’t have a strategy in place to generate traffic to your site, you don’t really have a blog – you have an ornament. The purpose of your blog is to educate, entertain and inform prospective and existing customers around your services. Hence, if you aren’t driving traffic to your company Website there is little incentive to keep an active blog running! You can think of your site as the hub of your online marketing strategy and the sources generating traffic as the spokes. Social media posts, Google advertisements and organic search traffic are all worthy strategies for encouraging prospects to click through to your site, and we usually recommend a multi-tiered approach to garner the most effective results. However, the blog’s primary purpose is to convert those prospects into paying customers once they get there.
Now, obviously, most visitors won’t choose to do business with you based on a single article. And that’s OK – blogging, at its best, is a long-term strategy designed to build relationships over time. And you do that by regularly producing high-quality content people are interested in reading. Which brings us to our next point:
What should you write about?
Of course, everyone wants to know the answer to that question (even seasoned content producers struggle with it). But let’s first discuss what you shouldn’t write about:
- You shouldn’t write about the features, details and technical aspects of your product or service (for the most part)
- You shouldn’t write about things that have absolutely nothing to do with your business or industry.
- You shouldn’t write about topics that you yourself wouldn’t find interesting.
So, what does that leave?
You should be answering common questions, providing information that helps prospects reach their related goals and highlighting the benefits of your offerings.
There are many ways to generate topic ideas including analyzing keyword phrases being searched for, repurposing existing content, expanding upon questions frequently asked of your sales force and explaining new practices and trends that would be of interest to your prospects. But that leads to another question:
How do you stand out from competitors?
With nearly every business now in the online sphere, this is a common concern. The reality is you may have some content overlap with your competitors, but that’s OK. Even though most businesses do have Websites, most are NOT producing quality content. By simply regularly publishing relevant articles, you will be standing out! Other ways to leave a lasting impression include:
- Writing simply and clearing (ie. avoid industry jargon).
- Using colorful language (ie. paint a picture using illustrative examples with plenty of adjectives).
- Incorporating infographics (ie. these illustrative graphics are 30 times more likely to be read than a purely textual article).
- Being consistently good at what you do (ie. if you want to be known for producing “how to videos,” make them the best tutorials they can possibly be).
- Weaving your brand’s core message into posts as often as possible (ie. look for relevant opportunities to expand upon your brand values).
But none of that matters if you don’t convert.
Having engaging content is one thing – converting interested prospects into customers is another. No corporate blog post is complete without a clearly written “Call to Action,” inviting the reader to opt-in. What specific action you want your reader to take will depend on your unique goals. You could invite your prospect to sign-up for your company newsletter, download your latest white paper or direct them to an inquiry form.
Of course, the best way to figure out what works for your business is to test different strategies and track them over time. You can use Google Analytics to determine which posts are getting the most views and which are getting read the longest. You can also create unique “Call to Action” links with each post to determine, which type of calls are getting the most traction.
Finally, don’t forget to optimize your posts using best SEO practices. That includes incorporating strategic keywords into titles, writing meta description tags and maintaining a mobile friendly Website. According to a recent Google report, 61 percent of customers will leave a site if it’s not mobile friendly. Mobile responsiveness will only continue to grow more important when it comes to yielding favorable search rankings in the years to come.
As you can see, maintaining a high functioning company blog can be a valuable tool for generating leads, sales and revenue. Above all, remember your blog will only give back the effort you put into it.