Business Magazine

The Blog is Dead. Long Live the Blog

Posted on the 22 November 2011 by Iangreen @GREENComms

The blog is dead. Long live the blog

Much has been recently about the rise of Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin with many arguing that they are finally marginalizing the blog as a means of communications for corporates and individuals.
At GREEN Communications we are a big fan of the blog – and manage several for many of our clients – so we are delighted to see the latest report by HubSpot showing that blogs still have an important role to play in any companies’ communications strategy.
Corporate blogs with interesting, on-message, regularly-updated content remain a compelling weapon in any company’s communications armoury – particular when they are linked to other online corporate profiles like the company website, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin profile.
According to HubSpot’s  State Of Inbound Marketing report companies still see blogs as being a key component.
You can download the report here but some key findings include:

  • If your company doesn’t have a blog, you are now in the minority: 65 per cent of those surveyed had a blog (up from 48 per cent two years ago).
  • Most of the companies surveyed (71 per cent) blog at least once every week – and there’s a clear reason for that – the report shows a direct relationship between frequency of blog posts and acquiring new customers.
  • 57 per cent of the companies have acquired customers as a direct result of sales leads generated from their blog.
  • More companies have woken up to the value of  social media, probably because of  its lower customer acquisition costs (62 per cent lower, according to the report) when compared to traditional marketing.

Too often we find that companies put the cart before the horse when it comes to social media – setting up a Twitter or Facebook account when they have very little to say. The main reason they do this is because “everyone else is doing it”.
At GREEN we believe it all starts with your corporate website and your blog – these two form your online head office which directs visitors to everything you do and, unlike all other social media channels, your blog is 100 per cent owned by your company.
With this in mind we’ve been thinking about what makes a good corporate blog. So, inevitably, here are our top ten tips for successful corporate blogs.

Set Your Guidelines

When creating a blog you must be able to define the value that it’s bringing to the reader. Your need to clearly define the focused theme that your team will follow. Choose a blog name and theme that fits well with your company’s expertise, but don’t be afraid to branch out into a larger space. Your blog should provide pertinent information for consumers interested in your area of business.
Once you’ve chosen an area to cover, create a set of editorial guidelines that your bloggers can follow.

Choose a Blogging Team

Not everyone can write – at least not in a manner that draws in the reader. More crucially, not everyone wants to write and many positively avoid it. So choose individuals that are knowledgeable and comfortable writing about the areas you would like to cover. Some companies prefer to elect an editor or group of editors to have a final look at all blog posts, while other companies allow their bloggers to publish directly. We prefer the later – if the guidelines are clear you should trust the people your working with.

Dress Down

If your website is the suited and booted face of your company, then your blog is your Dress Down Friday look. A blog is a place to let down your corporate hair and get to know your customers. Think of it as a conversation between people, not between a brand and one person. In order to have a conversation, you need two people – a blogger and a reader.

Avoid PR and Marketing

Might seem like strange advice coming from a company that specialises in public relations and marketing but the insight, knowledge and expertise that a blog can impart is far more useful than any PR pitch that you could post. Stay away from trying to selling and marketing – you can do that on your website or in deadwood media publications.

Take it on the chin

Many organisations run scared of social media in the belief that some people (and there will be some) will just use it as an opportunity to say bad things about you. But they would probably be nasty about you anyway whether its through social media or in a pub conversation.
Accept that you will have detractors but make a point of welcoming criticism and using it as an opportunity for providing feedback and improvement.

Outline Your Comment Policy

Open up your blog for full feedback, you will get a variety of comments – positive, complimentary, hateful, and spam. Be prepared for everything and create a comment policy that your team can follow. GREEN’s comment policy can be found here.

Get Social

Use share tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg.  Share tools allow your users to pass along your content and that’s a great way of creating brand ambassadors. We use a simple addthis button to make sharing easier.
Also, integrate you blog into other social media platroms by creating profiles across social networks that your readers and customers are active on. Facebook and Twitter are a good start, and YouTube is a must for video-sharing. When you post on your blog, announce the new post on your social networks and ask for your readers’ opinions on the subject.

Promote Your Blog

Just as you would promote any other company initiative, get the word out about your blog.  Share the URL on your website, social networks, business cards, e-mails, and advertisements. Without promotion, building an audience can be difficult. Get behind the quality work that your team is putting into the blog and promote away.

Monitor and Feedback

One way to get a pulse on your blog and its effects on the community is to monitor mentions and feedback. Set up Google Alerts for your brand, blog name and any keywords that might be relevant. At GREEN we use a number of programmes to monitor what our clients are saying online and what is being said about them.

Track Everything

Make sure your web analytics tools are switched on. We generally integrate Google Analytics into any blog we are managing. This tells us how much traffic the blog is receiving, where it’s coming from, where the referral websites are and which posts are being read the most.
Armed with this data we can then tweak future posts to ensure that we are getting the tone and content right.

Are we missing anything? Leave a comment and let us know… or if you need help with you blog get in touch.

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