The blog as we know it started off as a place where people could share their thoughts online or keep a running diary. In fact, its usefulness as a daily online log is what gave it its name: “Web-log” got shortened into just “blog,” and history was made. However, the blog has expanded into something more, and now is used by corporations and individuals to share with the entire social media universe what is happening with them or their company.
When businesses get involved in the blogosphere, they can make great strides in promoting their organization and interacting with their customers. However, there are some pitfalls to avoid when companies make a new blog and want their customers to read it and share it. Here are some key points that you’ll want to keep in mind when developing your corporate blog:
1. Be Funny, Engaging, or Edgy
Technical and corporate writing sounds much different than what people expect to find on a blog. Giving the blog to someone who writes technical articles is probably not going to convey the right kind of tone on the blog. Rather, it’s better to have the blog written by someone who has a casual style and talks to the consumer as if they are actually having a friendly conversation face-to-face. Find writers who are knowledgable about your industry, but don’t be afraid to go after quirky writers who can bring an added element of personality to your niche. Grist is on one of the best examples of bringing excitement and edge to the green and eco-friendly industry. They are different and sometimes whimsical, so they get social shares.
2. Mentions Of Products Cannot Sound Like Advertising
When companies construct their blog with all kinds of good information, they must ensure that the mentions they do make of their products do not sound like marketing pitches. When the company mentions its own products, the mention has to be all about the benefit to the customer and how that benefit ties into the purpose of the article. For example, a travel company that mentions great vacation spots shouldn’t over-advertise their services in their own articles. Pushing your company in the customer’s face simply sounds disingenuous, and most people don’t like being secretly marketed to.
3. The Blog Has To Have Relevant, Timely Content
When companies begin blogging, it is very easy for them to talk about solid data on their products. However, the corporate blog that focuses less on trying to sell a product, and more on simply providing relevant, useful information is the one that will attract the most visitors. Take Vivint for example. “The Neighborhood,” an extension of their blog, has all manner of useful articles on everything from social media apps to tips on hosting outdoor parties. Rather than putting their products front and center, the blog reads like a friendly advice page that also just happens to be run by Vivint. Even though it is a blog, don’t feel like you have to stick to just writing. Engaged readers with infographics, interactives, and other engaging content.
4. The Company Has To Take A Backseat
Even when a company has taken great pains to make sure that they are not marketing themselves too much on a blog, they must also make sure that it is not obvious that they own the blog in the first place. When people find an interesting corporate blog with all manner of logos and marketing splashed all over the place, they’ll go elsewhere to read.
Most people can appreciate what large corporations provide in the way of services and products, but that does not mean that they want to be bombarded with mentions of a company when they are on a blog that otherwise looks and feels friendly. Simply offer useful ideas for users of your product. For example, Whole Foods’ blog offers healthy recipes for current customers and healthy eaters in general.
5. The Tone Should Always Be Respectful (Even Towards Competitors)
Most companies are often a little bit too harsh on their competition and not nice enough to companies who are not the competition. Rather than using a blog to undermine the competition to potential customers, it is better for companies to use their blog to note greatness wherever it is found. Having a blogging or business partnership with a non-competitive firm helps the company to be more genuine to customers. People who read the blog will figure out that the company owns the blog, but when they see the company praising other businesses, they are going to see the company as more human and easy to relate to. Otherwise, the company looks like they are using all their available resources to mudsling the competition and market their own products.
In the end, a corporate blog should be a friendly and casual place that is not a marketing showcase. Companies have to avoid marketing themselves on their blog and focus on making the blog informative and fun to read. If they’re able to do that, then the increased customer interest will naturally follow.