Does your business need a blog?
If your company is wholeheartedly behind having a blog, understands that it must be promoted, given some content latitude, given the full weight of the company’s SEO, branding, and corporate dollars to sustain it, then you can consider whether or not your company needs a blog. These questions are purely for the directors of the company brand, as a business blog is an extension of your advertising and marketing, as well as your public relations, and customer service. Your company blog is an expression of your company culture and ethos. If you’re not careful, it can quickly become the snotty nosed kid standing next to mom and dad in their Sunday best – not attractive.
So back to the question – you’ve assessed your commitment, now to assess what your blog is. Is it a product blog for selling? Then call it that. Is it a newsletter? Then say that. Is it educational about your product or service? Whatever it is, be clear and call it what it is so your consumer knows exactly what message or content they’ll find within its pages. Your blog can be many things with proper categorization, but if you envision something truly specific, then you’ll want to be specific.
A blog doesn’t need to be religious, or political unless that’s what your business or organization does. In fact, a blog should express the consumer experience they could expect when using your service or standing within your stores. Snarky blogging does nothing for a company that isn’t truly snarky inside of it’s retail environments. Your blog should be true to your company, follow it’s messaging from advertising, and enthusiasm of it’s marketing – it’s voice is seamless with your brand.
Being seamless with your brand
Being seamless with your brand means you’re not a news organization (unless you are). Your job is not to originate news content (you’re not TMZ), or to be the first to a story (CNN). Instead, a business blog may be filled with news stories that relate to your company’s culture, company news, and rather, relating to the consumer using news, but again, you’re not going to need a full time journalist to operate your blog. It isn’t your blog’s job to be a primary traffic driver, it’s your blog’s job to support your company as the primary traffic driver – it solidifies any messaging vehicle your company has already used to drive traffic. So if you build a blog for your company that develops into a traffic driver over time, this is a win, but if you’re expecting millions of pageviews with a blog three months old, you may be sorely disappointed, sorry.
If you’re creating a blog because you want to interact with your consumer, count yourself blessed if the consumer consumes content and then consumes product, not leaves a comment. The currency of comments has dramatically changed over the past five years, transitioning to shares via Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest. This is how your blog develops into a new traffic driver for your company. Consumers identify with your blog and your company culture, and you’ve done your job – your channel is now a two way street, and you are resonating with your consumer base and probably growing that base, but it isn’t something your blogger is going to create overnight. It’s anguishing, sometimes painstaking work identifying fans, cultivating friendships or partnerships with like folks or even vendors via other social channels I mentioned above.
The unseen side of your blog
The side effect of your blog you won’t see (unless your blogger is an analytics fan) will be Google, Bing, and other search engines that read your content via your submitted blog sitemap. Levels of and dedication to creating content regularly that are ideally matched to your company’s branded website, demonstrate that they are related by the density of the company message, titled properly, and are richly written around focused keywords will begin to rank along side your company page. Again, this isn’t something that happens overnight, it’s something that happens with conviction, with loyalty to the communications channel you’ve created, and your willingness to not distance your company from it’s own messaging platform (this happens all the time).
Some or all of this article may sound complicated, but that’s because of the lingo – it’s not complicated at all. What I’m driving at here is that you must be committed to it – long term. That you understand the voice and content you wish to deliver and your dedication to it. That your expectations of your blog as a traffic driver are in line with reality, and that you understand the light at the end of the tunnel. The investment in time is well worth it.
Words of advice
One last thing… I said that your blog could be many many things with proper categorization, and I meant it. Having the flexibility to build a channel (category) that you see growing faster than others will save you from a hard pivot later to different content, whereas over time, you may see that popular category fizzle, so adapting and building up an old or even a new category is just part of daily operations. We as businesses reinvent ourselves, we change our messaging, we feature new lines, and we change with the seasons – remember that going in.
My final piece of advice for channel builders (company blogs) is to create a content plan that matches the company seasons, and watch your analytics adjust and calibrate until all of your channels within your blog are humming seamlessly – this is where the magic happens.
Nervous? It’s just like any other media campaign you’ve ever endeavored, except this one is more cost effective, more meaningful to consumers, is a mirror image of your company, and most of all, relatable to the average consumer.