It’s estimated that 95% of blogs are abandoned: left to rot, forgottten. These blog ghosts can haunt a company. Businesses which start a blog, but fail to update it, are advertising their lack of commitment to customers. It’s just not worth starting a blog, if you’re not able to see it through. Here, ClickThrough copywriter Jack Adams, a qualified journalist, whose degree focussed on citizen journalism, gives his top tips for writing a company blog.
In my previous post, about sourcing good content to publish on industry news feeds, I stated that those not particularly knowledgeable in journalism law would be well-advised to give news writing a wide berth.
Instead, I recommended a company blog as an effective alternative. Company blogs boasting meaty pieces of well-written, appropriately-keyworded content are a fantastic source of traffic; they are a good way to boost the SEO values of your businesses’ site, and provide a regular stream of fresh, unique content, which is vitally important if you want your site to rank highly in Google, post-Panda.
You can also use it as a soapbox from which to keep your target audience, and your members of staff, informed on the latest developments within your business or sector.
As evidenced by the many barren company blogs that currently litter the Internet, blogging, as part of content marketing strategy, can be hard to maintain.
You’ll be overcome with boundless excitement at the possibilities for your company blog at first – furiously noting down 250 words posts on your latest product launches, or opinion pieces on a development within your niche etc.
In many cases, though, the early enthusiasm seeps away and the posts dry up.
Even on the rare occasion the publish button is hit, the post is left representing something of sophomore slump – failing to live up to the high standards set during the initial burst of blogging activity.
For many businesses a lack of time is a major reason for their blog becoming desolate.
These problems aren’t limited only to those blogging for their business, though; it’s a problem that most bloggers are overcome with at some point – as I’ve found in the past.
However, this should not put you off if you’re considering setting up a company blog section on your own site. It can be an incredibly easy thing to do if you commit to it.
So, here are my top tips to good blogging:
BE PROFESSIONAL: Whilst it’s okay to write with a conversational and chatty tone when working on blogs, it’s also important to ensure that you retain an air of authority and professionalism. Don’t forget you’re blogging on behalf your business; your customers are likely to see your efforts. If they encounter poorly-written, ‘LOL’-laden posts they’re unlikely to take you all that seriously.
Your company blog should be used to provide customers with the type of valuable content (note, it doesn’t always have to be captivating) that could encourage a conversion. You aren’t going to get these desired conversions if simply think you can get away with publishing banal rubbish.
DON’T NEWSJACK: Though it might be incredibly tempting to try to drive a little more traffic your way, by mentioning X celebrity, or a keyword relating to a huge breaking news event in your blog: you should limit when you do it.
Yes, it’s okay to be resourceful, but you’re just going to irritate people with posts that are ultimately irrelevant to what they’re looking for – be it those searching for the latest celebrity gossip, for example, or your loyal customers.
Make the most of highly-searched terms by all means – include them in your blog headline, blog body, tags etc. - but remember that there’s a time and a place for being cheeky.
KEEP IT RELEVANT: Continuing on from the previous point, you’re not going to be able to keyword your blog content appropriately if you’re publishing blogs on subjects irrelevant to your business. Your attempts at stuffing your keywords into a blog that’s completely unrelated are going to stand out to all and sundry. Google is likely to notice this and your whole site could be penalised. It’s not a risk worth taking.
ROTATE BLOG-DUTY: Audiences are very receptive; if posting on your company blog becomes a chore, they’re probably going to pick up on it. The aforementioned sophomore slump will be obvious. Many businesses are guilty of relying on one writer to come up with all their posts; this often, although certainly not in all cases, results in tired old content, written without any real enthusiasm – something, sadly, that no-one will want to take five or ten minutes away from their day to read.
By rotating who writes on your company blog, you can ensure that the post ideas are always fresh, introduce new authoritative writing tones, and keep the enthusiasm levels high amongst those charged with writing them.
Here at ClickThrough, we don’t just rely on one member of the content team to write all of our blog content, we always rotate - allowing for greater coverage of a variety of specific topics and areas. We know this works.
DON’T LET IT BECOME BARREN: When visiting a businesses’ site for the first time, a potential customer’s first port of call will often be the company blog. Online is all about trust: signals that a business is alive and well and trustworthy. Customers always want to know if the company can be trusted before parting with their money: a regularly-updated blog with considerable amounts of good content is a reassurance resource.
Ultimately, your company is blog is primarily a resource for those that visit your site to use to learn more about your business, your products or your sector.
If the first post on your blog reads, for example ‘PUBLISHED – 02/04/2009,’ those visiting your site are going to be convinced that there’s no sign of life and that you don’t care about providing your customers with valuable information or interesting content.
Following its Panda algorithm update, Google has cemented its love for fresh, well-authored, unique content; sites that feature large amounts of this are more likely to rank highly than those that don’t.
So, if you leave your blog untouched, you’ll not only be sending out the wrong message to those who visit it, but you’ll also be missing out on the SEO benefits – effectively the Internet marketing version of shooting yourself in the foot.
In order to maintain a steady flow of posts, you could arrange an ideas session at the start of each month.
It doesn’t have to be a massive time-consumer - just a short forum in which people within your business could bounce post ideas around and spread the word about topics or developments that have previously been overlooked.
If you’ve started a blog, and have it linked on your homepage, and you haven’t updated it for a few months, there’s a simple solution: take it down. You wouldn’t leave a half-finished display in your shop: why do it online?