10.03.2012 | Heather Campbell
Having a corporate blog can be a huge resource for driving traffic to your company’s website, building out your business, and garnering media coverage. However, with so many competing platforms and styles of blogging, it can be difficult to determine what is best for your business. I recently attended PRNewswire’s webinar “ Corporate Blogging Best Practices: Building Your Brand & Boosting Business Through Thought Leadership,“ to see what a couple pros had to say about best practices for corporate blogging.
The webinar was led by Jeff Corbin, CEO of KCSA Strategic Communications, and Thomas Hynes, manager of Blogger Relations with PRNewswire. Corbin brings expertise as an integral voice on KCSA’s corporate blog, while Hynes is familiar with blogs of all kinds—he runs PRNewswire’s blog, Beyond PR, as well as two personal blogs (Tomblr and Bike Gang!). The two blogging pros offered the following tips on best practices for successful corporate blogging:
- Grab attention quickly. If you want people to read your blog, you have to get them interested in what you have to offer. After all, as Hynes notes, what’s the point of a blog if no one is going to read it? In order to gain traffic momentum to your blog, use snappy, catch titles. Also make sure you start off with a bang – the average user gives a web page three seconds before deciding to hit the back button, according to Google.
- Be helpful. Blogs need to offer something to the reader to gain readership, not simply be a means to selling your services. Make sure to offer advice that positions your company as a thought leader on the subject, without being self-serving. Always remember, regardless of SEO practices and timing your posts, quality of content is paramount to gaining a blog readership.
- Know your audience. Who is reading your corporate blog? Or, who do you want the audience to be? What are they interested in? A corporate blog for Nordstrom, for example, might have a very different readership than the corporate blog for BMW. Think of who you are trying to reach with this blog, and who you want to view you as a thought leader—then, pick your subjects accordingly.
- Use voice. People want to hear from other people. Dry content won’t connect with the audience, and isn’t easy to read or understand. While a corporate blog should be informative and professional, let your own leadership voice and personality shine through. Blogs are conversational, not academic. Use them as a way to give your corporate voice personality.
- Maintain brand consistency. This is extremely important—don’t let your brand be about one thing, and your blog about something else. The whole point of a corporate blog is to communicate from your brand. How can you do this? KCSA has a social media head who vets all of their blogs before they are posted. Here at Communique, we have established values that guide all of our communications, and a blog goes to more than one team member before it goes out. The easiest way to ensure your blog is consistent with your brand is to…
- Have a strict corporate policy. KCSA maintains corporate guidelines for its blog, of which all staff are aware. If your company is public, this policy needs to abide by FCC regulations. Corporate policy on blogging gives your staff an exact outline of what is and what is not appropriate for the corporate blog, and can save you future headaches and wasted time over poor blog content.
- Think about traffic. While your blog should be about communicating your company’s point of view on industry topics, it can also help drive traffic to your site—something that is extremely useful for business development. Make your blog easy to share, link to other posts in your blog, and guest blog for other sites—all of these will optimize your SEO. Incorporate key words in your headline and subheads, and tag all of your posts with key concepts or keywords. Additionally, do a little outreach: issue blogs as press releases or HTML emails, list your site on blog search engines and directories, and syndicate your content.
- Use a schedule. Both Communique PR and KCSA have this blogging practice in common: schedule out posts. Assign posts on a cyclical basis to staffers, and keep that schedule public. This way, everyone contributes a different perspective, and your corporate voice is well rounded. This is a fun thing for the office to work together on, and builds morale—everyone is responsible for the voice of the company, not just the higher ups. Additionally, a schedule keeps the blog regular and organized, and doesn’t leave the weight of blogging on one single employee.
- Be careful with comments. Replying to comments on your blog can open a can of worms. Hynes has thought long and hard about allowing comments on press releases on PRNewswire, and has come to the conclusion it would not be valuable. If you have a point of view, you’re confident in it, and it complies with your internal corporate policies, then replying to comments on your blog can establish your corporate voice more thoroughly. However, this type of engagement can be a waste of time and resources. Additionally, if your company is public, FCC regulations will apply. Whatever you decide to do, think long and hard about your corporate blog’s stance on replying to commentators—and develop a thorough corporate policy around the issue, so that your attitude remains consistent.
”Corporate Blogging Best Practices: Building Your Brand & Boosting Business Through Thought Leadership: was a fantastic webinar with many useful tips on creating an effective corporate blog presence. These tips are useful when it comes to maintaining our own blog at Communique PR, and can be effective for brands of all scales. Blogging is an excellent way to cultivate a corporate voice and establishing your company as a thought leader within its industry. Additionally, brands are able to insert themselves into topical conversations, which can result in media coverage and increased website traffic. However, as corporate blogs are a direct line of contact between a corporation and the public, they need to be carefully strategized and executed. Following PRNewswire’s best practices is an excellent way to strategize around your own corporate blog.
For more on corporate blogs, see:
For more from Communique PR on corporate blogging & thought leadership, see:
- Creating a Corporate Blog
- Thought Leadership – what is it and why is it so important?
- The Power of Blogs