corporate blogging strategy

Forget the Tortoise, Be a Corporate Blogging Hare

In many areas of business, you can be the tortoise or you can be the hare. There are times when slow and steady wins the race. There are also times when fast is good, faster is better, and fastest is best.

When it comes to corporate blogging, there is no point in sitting on your hands and waiting for something good to happen. Even if you make mistakes, even if you travel down the wrong path, moving fast puts you in position for early success.

Excuses will Slow you Down

Analysis paralysis is real. The more you stare at your blog and the more ideas you consider, the more difficult it will become to pull the trigger. This isn’t to say you should dive in headfirst without a plan. However, if you continually avoid the first step you will never make progress.

Continue reading…

Calipari lessons on blogging

5 Corporate Blogging Techniques I Learned from John Calipari

Most people don’t associate corporate blogging with sports, but as a huge college basketball fan, I always try to draw comparisons between business and life on the court.

John Calipari, the current head men’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky, is one of the top coaches in the game today. Since arriving in Lexington for the start of the 2009-2010 season, he has compiled a record of 190-38. This includes four trips to the Final Four, including a national championship in 2011-2012.

What does this have to do with corporate blogging? Not much. Even so, Calipari’s approach to the game has taught me a lot about blogging and business in general. Continue reading…

common corporate blog mistakes

Top 5 Corporate Blog Mistakes and How to Overcome Them

There are a few things you can do to position your corporate blog for success. Conversely, there are mistakes you must avoid if you want to find yourself on the road to reaching your goals.

Marketing professionals are producing more content than ever before, with 70 percent noting that they have increased production over the past year. Even so, there is a difference between creating just any content and creating quality content.

A corporate blog gives your organization an outlet for publishing a variety of content. From there, it can be distributed through a variety of channels, ranging from email marketing to social media marketing.

Blogging Mistakes to Avoid

It’s easy to understand the power of corporate blogging. It’s difficult to stay on track, day after day, as there are a variety of mistakes that could sink your ship. While mistakes are inevitable, the old adage holds true: knowledge is power.

Here are five corporate blog errors to avoid, as well as advice on overcoming each one. Continue reading…

Zen99 Corporate Blog Review

As somebody with many years of freelance experience under his belt, companies like Zen99 always catch my attention. Here is what you need to know, in a nutshell, direct from its homepage:

“Tax and insurance tools for independent contractors.”

If you have ever worked as an independent contractor, from a freelance writer to a Uber driver, you know that taxes and insurance related details have a way of dragging you down.

How much do you owe in taxes? Where are you going to find an affordable health insurance plan? These questions can drive you crazy, especially if you struggle to find answers.

Despite the fact that I have never used the Zen99 service, it is easy to recognize its power. Some of the top features include:

  • Track income
  • Estimate taxes
  • Protect yourself (insurance)
  • Educate yourself

Enough about the company itself. Let’s move onto its corporate blog. For a startup, I came away impressed with what I found:

  • Plenty of updates. With six posts last month, the blog is on par with what I typically see in this space. This is enough content to keep people interested and coming back for more, but not so much that it bites into valuable time that can be used to grow other parts of the business.
  • Strong focus on what matters. There is nothing more frustrating than a corporate blog that doesn’t stay on topic. You don’t see any of this with Zen99. All of its blog posts cover the basics of tax and insurance. In other words, you know what you are getting when you visit the blog.
  • Not as boring as it sounds. Let’s face it: most people, independent contractor or not, don’t enjoy talking about taxes and insurance. That being said, most people also realize it is a big part of life and business. The Zen99 team has done an excellent job keeping its blog informative yet engaging.

What I would Fix

By making a few minor tweaks, the Zen99 corporate blog could be improved in no time.

Create more Content

There is a lot to be said in this space. For this reason, it would be easy enough to create anywhere from three to five blog posts per week.

This may sound like overkill, but with so many topics to cover it would be relatively simple to keep the pace.

Here are a few topics that would fit in nicely:

  • Independent Contractor Tax Myths
  • Facts and Figures: What you need to Know about Self-Employment Tax
  • Why Health Insurance is more Important for Independent Contractors

These types of topics will inform readers, keep them engaged, and of course, attract visitors from the search engines.

Spread the Love to Different Topics

I mentioned above how much I love the strong focus of the Zen99 corporate blog. What I didn’t mention was how the company could expand its focus to attract more readers.

For example, a post entitled “How Freelancers can Avoid the Flu this Winter” would fit in nicely. It is related to the overall theme, thanks to its medical spin, but doesn’t fit under the health insurance category. Furthermore, titles like these are social friendly.

Final Word

The Zen99 corporate blog has a solid foundation on which the company can build as 2014 comes to an end.

The suggestions above, as basic as they may appear, could be just what the blog needs as this startup continues to grow.

3 Questions to Answer Before Starting a Corporate Blog

The benefits of starting a corporate blog have been discussed time and time again. Before you jump into this headfirst, hoping for big things out of your new blog, it is best to take a step back and assess exactly what you are doing.

Just because others in your industry are using a corporate blog to drive traffic and increase sales does not mean you have to do the same. It may be the right choice, but at the same time it could end up bogging you down if you don’t take the right approach.

To ensure that you are on the path to success, here are three questions to answer before starting a corporate blog:

1. What Type of Information will you Share?

The answer to this question will depend largely on the goals you set.

If your primary goal is to generate leads and turn readers into sales, it would be best to focus on providing tips, guidance, and professional advice.

On the other hand, the primary purpose of your blog may be to keep your clients and prospects updated on the latest company news, such as product launches, awards, and other similar topics.

It doesn’t matter what type of information you plan on sharing. What matters is that you have an idea of the direction you are headed.

2. Do you have what it Takes to Keep it up?

It is easy to get excited about starting a corporate blog. It is easy to write a few posts per week for the first couple months. It is also easy to give up, especially if you aren’t generating the results you were hoping for.

Here are a few things you can do to protect against this:

  • Create a list of 15 to 20 topics to get started on the right foot (and avoid writer’s block).
  • Find others to create content. This can include anyone from a freelance writer to a coworker.
  • Be realistic with your goals. It can and will take time for your blog to catch on. Be patient.

3. How will you Differentiate your Blog from the Rest of the Industry?

Earlier this year, a large real estate firm contacted me to discuss the direction of their corporate blog. One of the first things the marketing manager said to me was this:

We are covering the same topics as our competitors, however, the results are less than stellar.

That was the problem right there. For 15 months, the company never provided readers with unique, engaging content. Instead, they rehashed the same old information and hoped for a high level of results.

If you want to achieve great success with your corporate blog, don’t follow the leader. Pave your own path, starting with the topics you cover.

Once you answer these questions, you will have a clear idea of whether or not you are comfortable starting a corporate blog. If you feel good about where you stand, there is no point in waiting around any longer. And of course, if you need any assistance, you can always reach out to me for guidance.

Socedo Corporate Blog Review

Every business owner, regardless of industry, is well aware of the importance of sales lead generation. The more leads you generate the better chance you have of making a sale. And as you know, the more sales you make the more money you earn.

From a sales perspective, things have changed quite a bit over the years. In today’s world, social media lead generation is all the buzz. While some companies have had success in this area, others need as much help as they can get.

Say hello to Socedo.

The tagline on the Socedo homepage says it all:

“Discover new social prospects that match your custom criteria and qualify them via automated engagement.”

You don’t have to look any further than the company’s testimonials to realize that its service has a lot to offer. This blog post isn’t about using Socedo. Instead, we are going to take a close look at its corporate blog.

There is a lot to like about the Socedo corporate blog. It is only natural to believe the company is generating plenty of business by using its own service, but at the same time it has a huge opportunity to do big things with the help of its corporate blog.

It didn’t take long to recognize why the Socedo blog is so strong:

  • Content depth. Many companies fall short in this area, but Socedo is not one of them. Most blog posts, even those with titles that leave something to be desired, dive into the finer details. Here is one of the best examples: New Ways to Track ROI from Your Social Lead Gen Efforts. At nearly 1,000 words, this post leaves nothing out. The content dives deep, and even more exciting is the fact that it includes several images.
  • Sells the service, but not too hard. It drives me crazy to see wildly popular corporate blogs fall short when it comes to providing high quality content that has the ability to turn readers into customers. The Socedo blog goes far enough to push the envelope, but not so far that readers are scared away. One of the best examples of this can be found here: 6 Social Selling Myths Debunked.
  • A little bit of everything. While many posts provide readers with advice, others touch on company news, such as those that announce a new feature. It is this type of variety that keeps people coming back, time after time, while also attracting a larger pool of readers.

What I would Fix

There is a lot to like about the Socedo corporate blog, however, there are a few things I would change.

Blog More, Keep Up the Quality

A quick glance at the past few months shows that the blog is updated somewhere between five and eight times per month. This is solid output, especially when you consider the fact that the quality never lacks.

What Socedo should do is this: up its production to two to three posts per week, or a total of roughly 10 to 12 per month. This is about two times what the company is doing now, so the time commitment would be bigger. That said, the pay off could make it worthwhile.

Grab Some Quotes

The quality of the content and use of images is what makes the Socedo blog stick out. It could easily be taken to the next level by adding quotes from customers every so often.

In my experience, this is a great way to generate interest from prospects that are on the fence. Once they have “social proof” they are more likely to take the leap and give a service or product a try.

Blog on these Topics

These topics may have been covered in some way in the past, but they are definitely worth touching on again. Here are a few sample headlines that would work well:

  • Socedo vs. the Competition: Where and Why we Win
  • Social Selling Setbacks: Don’t Let the Past Dictate Future Success
  • Socedo Success Stories: Will your Company be Next?

Headlines like these are dual purpose. Not only do they attract readers, but they give them a nudge in the right direction. Providing this nudge when a reader is already on the site may be just what it takes to make a sale.

Final Word

You don’t have to spend days on the Socedo corporate blog to learn more about the company and its industry in general. I am impressed by the fact that the blog has been going strong for more than 18 month, never compromising on quality. By implementing my suggestions above, the Socedo team should be able to reach more people and generate more interest through its blog.

3 Structural Changes for your Next Blog Post

As you become more comfortable creating content for your corporate blog, you may slip into the trend of using the same structure time and time again. While there is nothing wrong with keeping the same basic structure, there are changes you can make to better engage your audience.

Here are three simple to implement structural changes that can yield positive results:

1. Use Lists

From numbers (the structure of this post) to bullet points, a lot of good can come from this approach.

From your perspective, lists will allow you to more efficiently gather and express your thoughts.

From the reader’s perspective, a list is easier to follow when compared to long paragraphs stacked on top of one another.

2. Question and Answer

As an industry expert, you know more than anybody what your audience is thinking. For this reason, it makes sense to pose questions from time to time in your blog posts.

By doing this, you can better identify with your audience while also providing answers to important questions.

3. Dig Up Quotes

This is not something you are likely to do with every blog post, but adding a quote here and there is an excellent idea. Here are a few places to turn for quotes:

  • Coworkers
  • Clients
  • Industry sources such as research firms and third party websites

Your voice and opinion may be solid, but there are times when adding a quote from another party is beneficial. It may take some time to dig up a quote, but in the end it will make for a much stronger post.

By making one or more of the structural changes detailed above, your next blog post will be easier to compose and more attractive to your audience. Furthermore, it will provide some variety, which is essential for those who have fallen into a rut.

Recurly Corporate Blog Review

When it comes to subscription billing and recurring payments, Recurly is one of the big dogs. Just how big is big? Earlier this week, the company received $12 million in Series B funding.

I have long been enamored with SaaS (software as a service) companies, staying current with the latest updates ranging from funding to new products to launches and much more.

As a corporate blog specialist, I always have one eye on this part of a company’s website as I browse in an attempt to learn more.

From the moment I laid eyes on the Recurly corporate blog, a few things stood out (especially when compared to the competition):

  • Clean, simple layout that allows the reader to scour the content and move from one post to the next with ease.
  • Variety of content. While some companies focus solely on one type of content, Recurly has stayed away from this. Its most recent post touches on a new feature, but you don’t have to dig deep in the archives to find other types, such as this one that provides advice to the customer while also attracting new business.
  • Reader-friendly writing style. Let’s face it: some people will have a solid grasp on everything a company offers, including its technology, while others will not. This is why a reader-friendly writing style is so important. Recurly hit the nail on the head with this one.

What I would Fix

After a thorough review of the Recurly corporate blog, there are not many things that need changed. The layout is clean, the content is varied, and the writing style makes each post enjoyable to read.

Here are a few ways Recurly could improve its corporate blog, making it an even more powerful marketing tool:

Become More Consistent

Even though the rule of “quality over quantity” is a good one to live by, there is no doubt that Recurly could generate enough high quality content to post on a more regular basis.

A quick review of the blog’s first page shows 10 posts, with the most recent published on October 22, 2014 and the oldest on August 15, 2014.

During a period of approximately 67 days, Recurly only created 10 posts. This is an average of roughly one per week.

By pushing this number to an average of two per week, Recurly could experiment with a variety of posts to determine which types yield the best results in terms of traffic and conversions.

Go Deeper

I like that almost every post on its blog includes at least one image, often times a chart of some sort.

Some blog posts – A Better Way to Calculate Your Churn Rate – for example, go into great depth on the topic. Judging from the social media widget, this post was shared three times on Twitter and 35 times on LinkedIn.

Now let’s take a look at another blog post published around the same time: Get more out of taxes with Recurly.

Despite the fact that this post was full of useful information, it did not explore the finer details, such as the one listed above (regarding churn rate). As a result, it was not shared on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Not every blog post has to be a novel. Not every blog post is going to provide in-depth knowledge and guidance. That being said, longer posts, those that share unique advice, in great depth, typically perform better.

Final Word

It only takes a few minutes on the Recurly corporate blog to realize that it is well managed and useful on many different levels. As the company continues to reach new heights, there is greater potential for the blog to generate interest, inform others, and strengthen its brand.

5 Biggest Benefits of Starting a Corporate Blog

When faced with the idea of starting a corporate blog, you may find yourself pulled in many directions. On one side, you see your competition blogging and assume that it could do some good for your organization as well. On the other side, you wrestle with questions regarding who will create the content, what topics to cover, and how to grow your audience.

Corporate blogging is not right for everybody, but it is a marketing strategy that deserves your consideration.

Anytime I am asked about the benefits of starting a corporate blog, here is where I start:

1. An Outlet for All your Thoughts

Are you looking for a place to announce a new product or service? Are you interested in sharing advice on a particular topic? Are you ready to comment on industry news?

Regardless of what is on your mind, a corporate blog gives you a place to share your thoughts.

2. Grow your Brand

It doesn’t matter if your company is a day old or has been around for decades, you should understand the importance of strengthening its brand through any means necessary.

There are many things you can do to grow brand awareness, but corporate blogging should definitely be at the top of your list.

3. Prove yourself as an Industry Authority

This is not something that happens overnight. This is not something that happens after a few blog posts. Over time, however, people will begin to see you as an authority in your space. When this happens, don’t be surprised if you begin to generate more interest for your products and/or services.

When I first started as a freelance writer nobody knew who I was, what I offered, or what I could do for them. A few years into my career, once I was established in several key markets (finance, legal, etc.), people began to turn to me for advice. And guess what? Many of these people then turned into clients.

4. Corresponds Nicely with Other Marketing Strategies

Don’t think of a blog post as something that is published and then dies. Every piece of content that you create has legs.

You can share the post on social media. You can email the link to your mailing list. You can share it with clients and prospects.

A corporate blog is just one part of your marketing strategy, and regardless of what you have done in the past it is likely to fit in nicely as you move forward.

5. Connect with a Variety of Readers

This is one of the most overlooked benefits of maintaining a corporate blog. You can connect with current clients, engage with prospects, and provide industry readers with advice and guidance. And that is just the start. Your target audience doesn’t matter as much as your approach. Once your blog is live and you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, the sky is the limit.

Now that you have a clear understanding of the benefits associated with starting a corporate blog, now may be the best time to dig in. This one addition could forever change your marketing strategy for the better.