Blogs have transformed from your sister’s digital diary into some of today’s most powerful digital marketing machines.
According to a recent Social Media Examiner industry report, nearly half of marketers identify blog posts as the most important content for their business. The report also illustrated that blogging has a strong foothold in the B2B space, showing that 77 percent of B2B marketers are more likely to use blogging versus 64 percent of B2C marketers.
Why are so many businesses hopping on the blogging bandwagon? If done right, blogs can drive website traffic, convert marketing leads and position your company as a thought leader in its industry. But, again, that is only if done right.
Unfortunately, plenty of company-run blogs are just … blah. Why? They haven’t been approached strategically. To make your company blog work for you, there must, must, must be strategy driving it.
Key mistakes can thwart company blogs from reaching their fullest potential (and ROI). Is your company making any of the below blog blunders?
1. Misunderstanding the blog’s function
Today’s buyer is increasingly squeezing companies and businesses out of their decision-making process. Prospects turn to the Internet to educate themselves long before reaching out to your company. But your brand can wiggle back into that conversation by contributing educational, informative and helpful content to their search via a blog. Your prospects are hungry for information, and you must be one of the hands feeding them in a non-salesy way.
Yet, some companies use the word “blog” interchangeably with the “company news” or “press” areas of their websites. Ensure that you establish trust with readers from the start by exercising the term “blog” correctly. Separate your company’s vanity content (news, press releases, event announcements, etc.) from your blog by creating distinct sections for each.
2. Failing to bridge your blog to your company’s expertise
Examine the pure content of your company’s blog posts. Does it relate to your company’s expertise and knowledge? Or are they one-off editorials about topics the author would like to write about? Your blog should funnel into your marketing strategy, not your CEO’s or employees’ personal interests.
Take Bill Gates, for example. He established his own blog, Gates Notes, where he pens book reviews. He doesn’t take these musings to the Microsoft blog.
Your employees can certainly blog on their own, but when utilizing the company blog, it must relate back to the marketing strategy by creating content that bridges your company’s expertise to the readers’ information needs. Determine topics that prospects could learn more about to make a more informed decision and then write. This is a complex process and takes work and research on the backend.
So, to recap, keep in mind that a blog should not be:
Company news or press releases
One-off articles from employees
Your CEO’s journal
3. Forgetting to brand
You should treat your blog like its own media entity. Make like a cattle rancher and brand it. It must have a name, tagline and editorial mission statement. Your blog can even live under its own URL.
For example, Stellar, a Jacksonville-based engineering, design and construction firm, has a blog called Food for Thought. The blog is targeted at food plant manufacturers (a niche segment of Stellar’s services) and owners and lives on its own website, stellarfoodforthought.net, with a design unique to the blog brand, including fonts, photos and email templates.
4. Abandoning your readers
One of the worst things a reader can think after finishing your blog post is, “Now what?” Don’t leave your readers hanging—give them somewhere else to go in your marketing funnel.
Every blog post you publish should provide a next step. The end of your post is prime real estate—it’s where your blog presents such actions. These “actions” don’t have to be complex, but they do have to be strategic. Some examples:
Downloading an e-book or whitepaper
Emailing or tweeting the author
Subscribing to a newsletter
Reading related content
Viewing a relevant case study
Now, examine your company’s blog. Are any of these blunders standing in its way?
Allison is an Account Manager at Reputation Ink, a Jacksonville-based firm that builds reputations through content marketing and public relations. You can tweet Allison at @allisonbanko to learn even more business blog best practices.