What are the ingredients for a good corporate blog?
This question has plagued mankind since the dawn of, well, the Internet, some 20 years ago. In that time, brands and corporations have been attempting to attract readers and spur interaction, but many fall short of success.
We’ve been thinking a lot about corporate blogs recently at CMD and what makes them succeed or fail. So we did some research and at the end of the day came back with this definition of a good corporate blog: a good corporate blog helps make customers smarter. There, I said it. A good blog educates.
Our theory was confirmed earlier this year when a blog that we manage for a client—which features an educational strategy—won the BtoB Magazine award for Best Corporate Blog.
In order to understand what makes a corporate blog good, we first must explore what makes a corporate blog bad:
1) We, We, We Syndrome: Too much focus on the company. Nobody wants to read a blog that is all about the company, announces company news, explains how great an organization is, and links to product brochures. If this were an actual disease, the Center for Disease Control would classify it as an epidemic, because this type of blog is everywhere.
2) Casket-itis: A blog that has not been updated since June of 2007 is officially dead, and turns away readers who are looking for current information.
3) Lackus Strategyus: English translation: no strategy or cohesion. This type of blog puts bits of information together piecemeal in hopes that it will appear as an organized unit.
So back to the original question: what are the ingredients for a good corporate blog? Here’s my take:
4) Serves educational content: A corporate blog that addresses industry hot topics and shares its point of view encourages conversation while helping customers understand the key issues. Brands have an incredible opportunity these days to become their own media outlets and speak directly to the market with educational information that years ago was reserved only for trade publications.
5) Offers rich media: A blog should contain multiple ways to educate. A mixture of written blogs, videos and podcasts lets visitors choose the format in which they want to consume the information.
6) Presents multiple voices: A good corporate blog is a platform for the participation of others, as well. Invite your best customer to contribute a guest post, or interview a key supplier and ask for their view on a pressing issue. Adding multiple voices from inside and outside your organization demonstrates your willingness to foster discussion, and to help readers, rather than simply push product.
7) Posts consistently: Posting every week shows the audience you are serious about the effort and will attract repeat visitors. This also helps to fill the sales lead funnel.
As early adopters of this content philosophy, we are now starting to see the real results of engaging directly with customers and becoming the “media.” CMD saw this trend coming and took action about three years ago with a client’s corporate blog. Our recommended content strategy at the time (talking about industry trends, inviting guest posts, showing videos of experts in the field, hosting informational webinars) was to focus on industry hot buttons from a journalistic approach; basically everything except the client’s products.
This client understood what we proposed, and welcomed taking the position of a thought leader who facilitated conversations with potential customers. Now, the BtoB Magazine award for Best Corporate Blog hangs in their office.
What questions do you have about corporate blogs?