How to Run a Successful Company Blog?
Many companies know the importance of a blog and online presence, but time constraints and financial implications can often leave company blogs stagnant and unattended. This article offers a few pointers to keep your company blog fresh.
Probably the most important starting point to this article is the simple question "What is a Blog?" It may seem obvious to many computer-savvy individuals, but the internet is always gaining more users and these previous technophobes will have heard the terminology, but not fully understand. Basically, a blog is a 'web log,' a series of thoughts recorded on a website, with the opportunity for readers to comment, add their opinions and even link to other related articles. The website is often constructed via blog platform, such as Wordpress, or Blogger and the visual 'skin' of the site can be easily changed to make it suitable for the relevant theme. Blogs are often free to set up, although more technical expertise is needed if you require a custom built, integrated, or unique template.
Why are company blogs so important?
A good blog provides a platform for a company, or organisation to inform customers and clients, both past and potential, about their available service offerings and products. Blogs can act as a press release and offer valuable exposure to a vast audience. A regularly updated blog can generate increased readership, with blog authors becoming leading authorities in their field. Customers not only come for advice, but to ask questions and this provides the perfect opportunity to recommend the suitable product, or service. But as I mentioned earlier it can be difficult for many SMEs to find the time, or suitable content to populate a blog. Many companies start with good intentions, but soon find that the blog readership is small and therefore concentrate their efforts in other areas. It is important to remember that creating a popular blog can take time, people need to be able to find your content and that will not happen overnight. Other companies quickly add a lot of posts and then find they have run out of valuable content.
The time and effort taken to write and publish the articles, or even replying to comments, can seem like a strain on any marketing departments resources, therefore blogs are left 'unattended' and potential customers feel aggrieved that nobody is listening, or responding to them. This has two effects, firstly visitors stop returning to your blog if new content is not added on a regular basis, secondly it can actually leave your potential customers angry, wondering why you cannot be bothered to respond to a simple question. And, if they are online and a regular 'poster' on blogs and forums it is likely that they will spread the word throughout the blogosphere, ultimately creating a greater issue and providing the company with a fire-fighting exercise. And with the viral nature of the internet, once those words are published, it is almost impossible to get bad reviews and negative feedback erased forever.
So what are the solutions for your company blog?
There are three potential strategies for companies to embrace. The first is to hand over the blogging reigns to a work colleague, preferably with a good grasp of the English language and most importantly a love for your company, products and services. This does result in a complete redirection from an exiting job role and it will quickly become clear that blogging and social media interaction becomes an ever increasing job role.
Secondly, the company can hire a dedicated blogger, social media representative and PR officer. The individual will work alongside the sales and marketing team and generate relevant posts for new products and marketing initiatives. This is a great method and can be hugely beneficial to any organisation, but is only feasible for larger companies who can afford an additional full-time wage.
The final option is to hire a blog management company. The internet marketing agency will generate blogs, press releases and even additional content for your website for a monthly retainer fee, considerably less than a full-time salary. All the company needs to do is provide a list of sales events, product launches and marketing projects for the up-coming month and your account manager will generate a timetable for blog posts on a monthly basis. The agency will be able to call upon a team of experienced writers, so although they may not specialise in providing high-specification waterproof LED TVs for executive yachts, they will know somebody that has that does. It is important to remember to approve your monthly timetable and to check each post is interesting and most importantly factual, but a good agency will ensure they have done the relevant research. Once the posts have been created, they can also be used within the ‘Help and Advice’ section on a company website, or within the FAQs.
If you already have a blog, then most agencies will happily adapt a similar writing style and continue on the existing blog, but if your company has no blog presence the agency will be able to help you start a new blog, either as an integrated part of your existing site, or via a marketing leading blog provider, such as Wordpress. So overall your marketing department workload could be greatly reduced, with a far greater output and monthly reports, detailing the blog analytics, will help your company to improve the content for the forthcoming months, possibly highlighting new, or expanded articles and even new product lines, or service offerings.
There is actually a fourth alternative, but I didn’t think that was worth mentioning: don’t blog, just ignore the importance of digital marketing.
Paul Atherton is the Creative Director of 9DT, a digital design and marketing agency that combine creative thinking with technical expertise. Paul has worked with international brands, high-street stores and major internet retailers in the UK and Europe, helping to produce eye-catching marketing initiatives on a national and local scale. These projects include entire website rebuilds, newsletter and social media campaigns, PPC advertising, SEO projects and blog management.
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Name: Paul Atherton