While launching a new corporate blog can be daunting, it can pay dividend when it comes to branding and marketing. But doing it successfully really comes down to two things. First, you have to create great content that your audience will want to read and share. Second, you need to continually promote your posts to drive new readers to your blog.
Here is how to ensure your corporate blog meets those two criteria.
Be personal and authentic
Don’t fill your company blog with corporate speak or product promotions – no one wants to read this. Instead, try to create a genuine relationship with your audience. One excellent way to do this is to write content that is heartfelt and honest. A good example is Marriott’s corporate blog, “Marriott on the Move.” Written in the voice of Marriott’s CEO, Bill Marriott, this blog features personal recollections and opinions mixed with useful insights and advice.
Write longer content
There’s a misconception that the Internet loves short soundbites of 500 words or less. But this isn't always true. For instance, one analysis by serpIQ looked at the correlation between search-engine ranking and content length. It found that the top-ranking content was more than 2,450 words on average, and that the length then fell steadily to around 2,050 words for content that ranked 10. Longer content also keeps readers more engaged. For instance, this study by Medium concluded that the most effective blog posts take about seven minutes to read.
When you write posts for your corporate blog, don’t just present facts -- tell a story. If you create a compelling narrative for your readers, this will lead to much higher levels of engagement. There’s good science behind this. When we read a story, our brain mimics what the people in the story are experiencing. For instance, if a person in the story looks around, then neurons related to vision fire in the reader’s brain. The results can be astounding -- as in this case study, which showed that telling a story increased the number of people who read an article in its entirety by 300 percent.
Promise actionable information
Before anyone reads your blog post, they see the headline. Unless you capture their interest right away, they’re not going to click through to the main content. The most effective headlines promise concrete information that people can use. A recent study by Conductor bears this out. Thirty-six percent of people prefer headlines that start with a number, as in “10 Ways to Lower Heating Costs,” while another 17 percent favor “How to” headlines. That compares with only 11 percent who prefer questions such as “What Are Some Ways to Lower Heating Costs?”
Launching your blog
Now let’s look at how to promote your new corporate blog. Before you get into the more creative ways of publicizing your blog, make sure you have the basics covered. First, share your blog posts on your company’s Facebook page and Twitter feed -- and don’t forget to do it on your corporate website as well. Second, submit your blog to relevant blog listing sites. Third, put out a press release about the new blog. Fourth, if you have an email list, send out an announcement here too. Finally, make sure that all of your blog posts have prominent share buttons.
Engage online communities
One way to increase the reach of your blog is to bring your insights to other online communities. For example, sites such as Scoop.it and Storify let you generate content which other people can follow and share into their own social channels. There are also lots of highly targeted online communities where you can get involved. Don’t just sign up and share your blog content, though. Instead, become an active member of the community so that you build engagement and trust – this will drive much more readers to your blog.
Advertise your blog posts
If you have the budget, then advertising your blog posts can grow your audience quickly. A Google AdWords campaign is one effective way of doing this. Focus on finding relevant low-competition keywords with modest search volume. There’s no need to go after expensive high-competition keywords, since you’re promoting specific blog content, not a broad product category. Facebook ads are also becoming increasingly important. This is because organic reach -- the number of fans you can reach for free when you post content on your Facebook page -- has declined dramatically over the last couple of years.
Market your posts to bloggers
Another powerful way to grow your blog following is to get other bloggers to talk about your posts. Connect with bloggers on sites such as mine, Tomoson, and start to build a relationship with them. Bloggers have an enormous influence on their readers. For instance, a recent study showed that blogs are more influential than Facebook and Twitter content. You’ll also get more backlinks to your blog posts if you do this, which will obviously boost your search engine rankings.
Use word-of-mouth promotion
It may seem old-fashioned, but word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways of promoting content -- particularly for B2B blogs. It’s the original social media. In fact, a study from Nielsen showed that word of mouth is the most trusted source of information -- more than advertising or social media. So get in contact with your existing clients and ask them to tell their colleagues about your new blog. You can also simply tell people about it when you talk to them, and get your employees to do the same. While you’re at it, make sure you put your new blog’s URL on your business cards, letterheads and email templates.