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.
Mistake #1: Inconsistent Posting
If you want to build your blog audience, it is imperative to publish quality content on a regular basis.
What exactly does “regular” mean? This depends on your industry, audience, and what you have found to work best for your company.
Buffer, for example, provides a service for helping individuals and companies publish on social media. The company has more than 2.3 million users, many of which stay current with company news, updates, and advice on its company blog.
One thing Buffer does better than many, including some of its competitors, is stick with a regular posting schedule. Through the first 15 days of May, the company published 11 posts. For a company with more than two million users and approximately 342,400,000 posts scheduled since November 2010, this is impressive.
The 30 or so employees of Buffer have a lot to focus on, but this never slows down its blog posting schedule.
Starting a corporate blog is exciting. The first few weeks are full of ideas, content creation, social sharing, and much more. Then something happens. People get bored with the process. They run out of ideas. They get caught up in other areas of their business.
An inconsistent posting schedule makes it challenging to gain traction. Just when you start to gain an audience, readers back away because they aren’t presented with fresh content and have no clue when the next post will be published.
Here are some of the best ways to fight against an inconsistent schedule:
- Create an editorial calendar to ensure you always have topics in the pipeline and an idea of when the content will be published.
- Have more than one writer. While one person is likely to take the lead, such as a marketing professional, others within the company can get involved as well.
- Make it a priority. You have no problem spending time and money on other marketing related tasks, such as attending trade shows, communicating on social media, and buying ad space in industry publications. You need to realize the importance of content marketing, and put just as much energy into this part of your business. With inbound marketing generating 54 percent more leads, on average, than outbound marketing, it only makes sense to dedicate manpower, time, money, and other resources to this strategy.
Hire a Blog Writer
For many years, a large percentage of companies have been marketing with content, including a corporate blog. Some companies have the resources to hire a dedicated employee to focus on nothing more than corporate blogging and related tasks. Others, such as startups that have more pressing needs, have to think outside the box. This often means hiring a blog writer.
Yes, it costs money to hire an experienced and reliable blog writer. While you may find it challenging to take the first step, ask yourself this question: can you afford not to hire somebody to create content?
You understand the benefits at this point. If you don’t have the time and resources to create content internally, the next best thing is to bring a freelance contractor on board.
These tips will help you find the best writer for your company blog:
- Take advantage of job boards where the top writers search for work. An ad on ProBlogger will generate interest from hundreds of writers. While most won’t be qualified, many will.
- Request a targeted sample. Every professional blogger can provide you with samples. But this isn’t always good enough. You want to see what each applicant can do for your business in particular. Narrow down your list of writers (three or so should do) and offer to pay each one for a sample based on your requirements. This will give you a clear idea of which person is best for the job.
- Hire more than one writer. The more voices your blog has, the more personalities (more on this below) you can provide your audience, and the more well rounded your blog will become. If you add a couple freelance writers to your internal staff you end up with a team that is more than capable of posting quality content on a regular schedule.
Mistake #2: Too Much Promotional Content
The beauty of a corporate blog is the ability to create your own editorial calendar. While you can write what you want, your target audience doesn’t have to pay attention.
There is a fine line between using your blog for promotion and using your blog entirely too much for promotional purposes. Do you know when to take a step back?
SurePayroll is one of the best examples of a company that plays it right in terms of company promotion.
You don’t see many (if any) posts touting its services. What you do come across is high quality content that is generated with its target audience in mind.
This post (written by me) is a great example. It details commonly overlooked payroll mistakes. There is nothing in the piece that says “use our service.” Instead, the intention is to provide the reader, often times a potential customer, with content that can help them improve this area of their business. If they have a reason to do so, they will then reach out to the company to learn more about its payroll services. It’s not promotional in the conventional sense, but still gets the job done in terms of generating interest and providing value.
What’s the Solution?
Some corporate bloggers have a one-track mind. They don’t blog because they want to help others. They do so because they want to attract new business. For this reason, it is easy to cloud the line between purposeful content and promotional content.
There is no denying that most companies use a blog as a marketing tool. The ones that achieve the most success are those that understand the importance of providing valuable content.
Remember this: your readers are smarter than you give them credit for. You don’t have to beat them over the head to sell your product or service. By providing valuable content your audience will grow. And as your audience grows, the opportunity to attract customers via your content also increases.
KISSmetrics is one of the top conversion optimization tools on the market. It could easily write one post after the next on everything from its features to its many clients to success stories. Rather than do so, the KISSmetrics blog focuses on valuable content that relates to its product. Its video metrics piece is a good example of this.
The bottom line: you will convert more readers and attract a larger audience when your focus is on providing value. Your readers know what your company does. Your goal is to show them you are an expert. From there, they can decide if doing business with you makes sense.
Mistake #3: Leaving Readers Hanging
The best way to grow your blog’s audience is to publish detailed, high quality posts that provide value. Your audience will not grow overnight, but sticking with this strategy will eventually pay off.
Are you aware of the fact that the majority of websites that rank on the first page of Google contain a minimum of 2,000 words? This doesn’t mean you should stuff each post with “fluff” in an attempt to reach this word count. What it does mean is that you should find a way to include enough valuable count to reach 2,000 or more words.
Tip: here is an article that breaks down the importance of long form content. Read through the links in this piece to better understand why longer is better (as long as the quality doesn’t suffer).
Why so Many Fail
Do you remember the days when 250 words, stuffed with keywords, was good enough to move up the rankings and attract organic traffic? Those days have come and gone. This is now considered thin content. Not only can it lead to a Google penalty, but it won’t do much in terms of attracting and retaining readers.
Here are some of the reasons why many bloggers fail to include enough “meat” in each post:
- Lack of subject knowledge.
- Uninterested in creating high quality, in depth content.
- Don’t have the capacity to take on a writing project of this length.
- Lack of organization.
- Failure to pinpoint a purpose and goal before starting the writing process.
It’s worth mentioning again: don’t write to reach a particular word count. Write to provide value.
Content length is important, as longer pieces lessen the chance of leaving readers hanging.
Mistake #4: Lack of Personality
Over the years, I have created blog content for hundreds of clients. Most enjoy the fact that I interject plenty of personality into each piece. In other words, I don’t rehash content in a boring, bland manner.
A lack of personality is problematic on many fronts:
- Nothing to keep readers on the page, which decreases the likelihood of converting readers into customers.
- Boring doesn’t sell.
- Bland content is difficult to digest.
Brian Dean, author of the Backlinko blog, is the master of creating highly personable content. His writing style is unique, as each piece shows his true personality. This makes the content easy to read and remember. Furthermore, it is appealing to the point of attracting hundreds of comments.
While I can’t say for sure, I would venture to guess that his strong personality goes a long way in generating plenty of email subscribers along with new business opportunities.
You are Unique, Let it Show
It doesn’t matter what type of personality you have, you can use it to create compelling blog content. Maybe you are loud and outspoken. There is nothing wrong with that. Use this to your advantage as you write controversial content.
Or maybe you are more or an analytical thinker. In this case, data and statistical driven blog posts are right up your alley.
Read your most recent blog post with the idea of answering this question: is your personality shining through? If you can’t confidently answer yes, you aren’t being yourself. You want people to read your blog because they enjoy your thoughts and opinions. You might as well move your true self to the forefront.
Tip: a multi-author corporate blog will benefit from having a variety of personality types creating content.
Mistake #5: Same Old Information
Don’t just say you are going to create unique content. Do it. There are steps you can take to ensure that you are actually producing unique content, as opposed to simply rehashing what many others have said before you.
I understand that most topics have been covered time and time again. But this doesn’t mean you can’t put your own spin on what is already out there.
It goes without saying that others have touched on common blogging mistakes. This post, however, is unique in many ways:
- It focuses on corporate blogs.
- It provides solutions to common mistakes.
- It includes a variety of examples (which is most important).
Here is what you can do
The best advice I can give is this. Before beginning the writing process, do as much research as possible on the topic. Search to see what others have said. Analyze the content to see which stance the author took. Compare what is out there to what you believe.
Once you have compiled plenty of research, answer this question: what can you add to ensure that your piece is 100 percent unique? Do whatever it takes to ensure that your blog post provides more value than what has already been published.
Tip: use tools such as BuzzSumo to speed up the research process.
Just the same as many bloggers before you, there is always the chance you will make a mistake. This is to be expected.
You may have run into one or more of these mistakes in the past, but I bet you will face a similar situation again in the future. When the time comes, take a step back to assess your situation. There are many ways to overcome the most common corporate blog mistakes.
What other steps can you take to overcome common mistakes and errors?