I don’t care if you have 5 employees or 500 employees, if your company isn’t blogging, you’re missing a HUGE opportunity to:
- Build awareness for what you do and what you sell
- Attract an audience that actually cares what you have to say
- Increase traffic to your website
I’m still amazed by the number of companies that don’t have an active blog. In study after study, companies that blog generate more return on marketing investment than companies that don’t. For example, HubSpot conducted a study last summer comparing the website performance of companies that blog to those that don’t. The study found that companies that blogged enjoyed:
- 55% more website visitors
- 97% more inbound links (a key factor in SEO)
- 434% more indexed pages
I know, I know, you’ve heard this song and dance before. You know all about the benefits of blogging. Well, what are you waiting for?
Easier Said Than Done
There is only one thing that keeps most organizations from blogging…FEAR. The most common fears include:
- Fear of People: your company is scared of people. If you write stuff on your blog, people will hold you to it (or hold the info against you). Worse, maybe competitors will get the upperhand – since information might leak out through the blog? And of course, people will say bad things about you in the comments. More good than bad will happen, trust me. Get over your fear and try a few posts – you won’t look back.
- It’s Too Technical: HTML, CSS, RSS and PHP? Sounds like a bad game of Scrabble, right? A lot of organizations get hung up on the technical side of things. It’s too much work or will cost too much money to get a blog up and running. Honestly, it’s cheaper than almost any other type of marketing (and a lot easier to get a return). If you can type an email, you can probably figure out how to set up a basic blog. Custom programming and design costs more (but not as much as you think). And it will be well worth the investment.
- Who’s Going to Write the Stuff? This is the biggest challenge in my opinion. It’s a lot of work to produce high-quality content on a regular basis. And if you succeed, you’ll also need to interact with your community (a topic for another post).
How to Make It Work
The last thing you want is to launch a blog and then have no content there. Your blog becomes a ghost town, and nobody comes to visit. You don’t have to crank out 100 posts a month to be successful. If you focus on quality over quantity, you can easily get away with four posts per month in the beginning (the minimum number I recommend).
Here are some other suggestions that may help you turn a company blog into your most valuable marketing resource:
- Hire a Journalist: if you can hire a journalist (preferably with experience in your industry), do not pass Go – just do it. A journalist is used to writing quality content, on deadline, on a daily basis (in most cases). There are a lot of great out-of-work journalists out there, and probably a dozen or so in your area that know how to write for the Web too.
- Build the Editorial Team: if you can’t shell out the cash for a journalist, gather a team in your organization that you want to participate in the blog. Evaluate each member of the team based on their expertise, past writing experience, other responsibilities and so on. Reach an agreement with each person on the team about how many posts they will do per month (provide coaching on the right word length, tone, etc.).
- Build an Editorial Calendar: set a recurring appointment with your blog team (even if it’s just two of you) and set an editorial calendar (ideally for the year, but make adjustments each month).Review topic assignments and previous month accomplishments. As readers suggest topics or other ideas come up, add them to the calendar. A Google Doc or Google Calendar is ideal for managing this information across your team.
- Share Success. Be Competitive. More often than not, I’ve seen this approach fail at the last bullet point. Brainstorming topics is easy. Sitting down to crank out a 500 word post is another. Use the monthly meeting to share success. Show the total number of blog contributions per team member, highlight the posts that generated the most traffic (or got retweeted the most). If you have the ability to track website traffic through to the sale, give credit to any blog-related opportunities.
- You Can’t Make a Fish Juggle. Some people aren’t cut out for writing. If there’s nobody in your organization capable of writing great blog content all the time, and you can’t pick up the slack, you have one of two choices: don’t do it or outsource it. While most people frown on outsourcing writing for blogs and social media, it’s done all the time.
Just Start, You’ll Figure It Out
A lot of companies get stuck in planning, or design, or writing stuff in advance. Just stop – or start for that matter. Ask all the ‘smart people in your organization to write just one post this month – expect only a handful to follow through. Some posts are better than none posts.
This is the smartest area you can spend your marketing energy today. Your blog will attract people most interested in the topics you write about. If you write about stuff relevant to the business you’re in, that’s qualified traffic. From there, it’s up to you how you engage and interact to build long-term relationships.
Good luck. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it. Let me know if this post somehow pushes your organization over the edge.