Whether you are planning your first post or looking to refresh a corporate blog with an existing following, there are three key questions to ask yourself:
- What do you want the blog to achieve?
- Who is your target audience?
- What sort of content and usage is therefore appropriate?
Here are eight tips to keep your blog fresh for 2010:
1. Establish clear goals – It is important to determine goals for the company blog as you would for any other communications channel. For example, you might want to provide updates on company news, offer commentary on industry trends, or share educational and how-to content.
2. Provide a mix of content – To ensure readers keep returning you must provide a good mix of interesting and topical content. Remember, if you want to be thought of as an industry expert, act like one: instead of replicating articles from other sites, provide your own comment and analysis before linking to the articles in question. By all means, use available corporate content, such as your company press releases, but preface these with comment or elaboration to provide the reader with additional value. However, know where the line is between blogging and selling: if you force-feed your audience with too much sales-speak you will quickly drive people away.
3. Schedule time to blog regularly – If the weekend newspaper replicated old articles, or failed to appear regularly, you would seriously consider whether to buy it again. Think of your blog as a similar news stream and ensure the content is kept fresh and relevant. Whether you decide to blog daily, weekly or fortnightly, have a schedule in place and stick to it. That said, make your approach flexible enough to cover hot topics or breaking news when it matters.
4. Use a mixture of authors – Having multiple blog authors offers several benefits. It lessens the burden on any one person to provide posts and makes a virtue of diversity, showcasing different writing styles and ideas, which in turn creates better search-optimised content. However, be selective when approaching team members as potential bloggers. Not everyone may be suited to the task, so seek out the natural written communicators.
5. Encourage open dialogue – A blog should become an online forum and readers need to be encouraged to comment and share their views. Always respond to comments where appropriate and pose questions that will open lines of communication. For example, British Airways subsidiary Open Skies posts all visitor comments, good and bad, on its blog.
6. Participate in conversations on other blogs within your industry – Participating in other blogs will help establish credibility and, if you comment as an expert, will bring more readers to your blog. If you are a professional service firm ensure you are commenting on blogs within your clients’ industries; not only can this increase your following but it can also attract potential new clients to your website.
7. Make your blog, and its content, easy to find – Ensure that you link prominently from your website to your blog and optimise your content as you would on your website. By using keywords in your blog that are not providing the desired return on your website you can target gaps in your website SEO strategy and make your content work harder for you. Embrace social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and use these as ways of notifying followers of new blog content.
8. Keep going – A blog following takes time and effort to build, but with good planning and quality content your efforts will be rewarded.