Content is king, and an ever growing number of companies are seeing the value of content curation as a way of highlighting their expertise and bringing attention to their company. This is especially true for company blogs.
Content curation is a great idea for company blogs, especially if they’re part of a larger communications strategy that includes other social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. And whether you’re the hot new cupcake store at the mall or are delivering the newest must-have mobile app or high-tech solution, your experience and insight can attract an audience and following that elevates your profile. It can also help establish both you and your company as leaders in your space and help drive new business.
Before you launch your blog, there are a few things you’ll need to take care of. Some key first steps include updating your website to highlight your blog, naming and branding the blog, identifying contributors, and creating an editorial calendar. Once it’s launched you’ll need to feed the tiger, so building a repository of publish-ready material before you go live is a wise idea.
Next, you’ll need to identify your audience – and be sure that your blogs bring added value to them. This will encourage readers to keep coming back and like a tumbleweed, you’ll begin gathering followers. I’ve seen blogs generate RFP requests, invitations to speak at trade conferences, and open the door to opportunities for contributed articles in industry magazines and journals.
A few useful tips to creating and launching a successful blog:
- Write for your audience: Create a list of key search terms that are important to your business and your audience and use these whenever and wherever you can. This is also a great way to improve your blog’s SEO.
- Get personal: Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. In a recent Interprose Voice blog, Brian Walker wrote about Dishing Up (PR) Results and included a recipe of “Nanny Jones’ Chicken and Dumplings.” This proved to be a particularly well-read blog that had the added bonus of driving traffic to the Interprose Facebook page, too.
- Build your audience: Now that you have a blog, you need to expose it to the masses. This topic is worthy of an entire post itself but for starters, leverage the blog across your company and customer base. Be sure to share new posts across your company’s social platforms and encourage your employees to do the same. A company blog is a great resource to the sales team, especially if your executives are sharing market insight.
- Pictures are worth a thousand words: Blogs are typically a short read, so including eye-catching images will help tell the story quickly.
- Be shareable: Make sure you embed social buttons for key platforms – Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, at least – so that your message can easily be shared across these platforms.
- Make it a team effort: Engage an entire team of contributors, when resources allow—multiple voices allow you to provide perspective on a wide range of topics. Guest bloggers will add another layer of value for your audience, too. Remember, while you’re educating your audience, you’re also raising your company’s visibility, reputation and value in your industry.
- Use some movie magic: Video is a great addition to any blog. A two-minute introduction to a new product, or the CEO addressing a market trend or strategic news announcement can be great fodder for a video blog. However, when using video, don’t forget to provide a text recap that leverages your SEO keywords.
Launching a blog should be part of your overall communications strategy, but don’t underestimate the time involved to create and maintain it. Dedicated time and resources are vital to make it a successful venture. And something I can’t stress enough, especially if you’re launching a company blog and will be relying on your employees or communications team for content: Don’t wake the beast unless you’re willing and able to feed it regularly.
The value to your customers – and the way to grow a following – is to consistently provide fresh, relevant content on a regular basis. We recommend our clients maintain one- to two-months’ of content “in the bank” before launch; you’d be amazed on how quickly that bank account gets depleted during busy times.
Now the only thing standing between you and your blog is a blank sheet of paper. In my next post, I’ll share some hints on how to fatten up your bank account of ready-to-publish blog posts.