As a writer, I get a real sense of satisfaction from blogging for business. It’s a platform that I can use to share my thoughts and opinions. Like anything, writing is subjective and my passion for it isn’t always shared. For some, blogging for business is exciting – until they get bored.
I remember a time when it was rare for a business to have a blog. A website, absolutely, but there was a lack of understanding about what benefits regular updates could bring to an audience. After all, companies spent months on copy for their websites, so what more was there to say?
Times have changed, and most organisations will have a blog. That said, many forget to put the time and attention into establishing a tone of voice that will resonate with the audiences they want to attract. As a result, they don’t appreciate the value of blogging for business.
In this blog I hope to encourage readers to avoid the boredom of blogging for business by thinking differently and putting some simple processes into place.
Communities not just content
Blogging for business is about building communities. There should be a focus on sharing content that is interesting and insightful. Businesses need to think carefully about what their customers want to read and how they can be made to feel special.
It may be that a company shares the launch of a product on a blog before it is announced anywhere else. Social media channels could be used to tease the news and drive traffic to the website to amplify the message.
Alternatively, other organisations may want to use a blog to provide updates for stakeholders such as share price or investments. The news that is shared doesn’t have to be consumer focused, it could be very much about the business and its bottom line.
The wonderful thing about blogging is that you can share whatever you choose. The content is for you to decide, to draft and to upload. The difference between a good blog and a bad is that one will be written for the audience and the other for the company chairman.
It’s important not to fall into the trap of writing for an internal audience or for niche stakeholder group. There are other ways that you can communicate with these people. Put in place a clear objective for the blog and a target audience and stick to it.
Taking blogging for business seriously
Having a clear understanding of what will be shared on a blog will guide the content strategy. For a blog to be successful it needs to be taken seriously. This means that it needs the support of the board of directors.
It is no use passing a blog to a junior member of the team and leaving them to it. Not only will that person be responsible for writing all of the content, posting it and managing responses, but they will also need to collate the information in the first place.
This will rely on them having access to senior members of the team.
Blogging for business is a marketing tactic. It should be managed and coordinated by the sales and marketing function of an organisation. As a direct method of communicating with customers and prospects, it should be taken seriously.
Setting the tone
Once a company has agreed what information will be shared on a blog; whether that be product launches, category insight, industry comments or simply just news, a tone needs to be agreed.
It isn’t always as simple as to agree an approach and to stick with it. If a blog is to be used as an online magazine for a business, then the way that you draft the content will change. Taking into account articles will come from different sources, it would be unrealistic to assume everyone would speak in the same way.
As such, it makes sense to agree priority messaging, consistency in terms of language and then to add some personality. The last thing you want to do is to lose the story through overcomplicating the copy.
Blogs and the bottom line
Good blogs can attract an audience, capture attention and retain interest. Bad blogs will do the exact opposite. Just like all marketing communications, the opportunities that blogging for business presents to a company should not be underestimated.
With the right amount of time, care, attention and investment a blog could have a direct impact on the bottom line. In fact, entire businesses have been based on blogging and there is now an industry of influencers that are only too aware of the commercial benefits they can bring.
It all goes back to a point I made earlier. Blogging for business has to be taken seriously by the senior management team if it is going to deliver the results you expect.
Setting standards and sticking to them
The simplest way to ensure that blogging for business delivers a return on investment is to set standards. Putting KPIs in place in relation to visitor traffic, dwell time and bounce rates will give the evidence of whether the content being shared is having the desired impact.
Testing and measuring new features – perhaps a day in the life – will showcase what the audience wants to see. Anything that shows a drop in analytics should be reconsidered or adjusted to make sure it is relevant and resonates.
Sharing not selling
I’ve yet to meet anyone that likes to be sold to. In order to keep the content of a business blog interesting, the focus needs to be on sharing. This could be sharing stories, sharing facts and figures, sharing product information or behind the scenes footage from a factory.
Whatever it happens to be, make sure the posts that are being uploaded have a value to the reader, even if that is purely interest.
Of course, blogging for business is a promotional tool and can be harmlessly used as such. For example, offering coupons or codes for money off. There is no problem with offering prospective customers an incentive, but make sure that it is interspersed with other posts. Blogging for business should always be about more than just another space to sell.
Don’t get bored of blogging for business
When something is shiny and new it always attracts the most attention. Fast forward a few months and it’s just another piece of furniture in the office. Blogging can be the same. At first everyone wants five minutes of fame and to share their story. Over time this will change. People have less time to allocate and bigger priorities. It’s up to those that manage business blogs to retain interest.
What is great about blogs is that they can change and evolve. They don’t have to stay exactly the same and they can become a space to have fun.
Rather than getting bogged down in the detail, think of a business blog as a newspaper. Put together regular columns and updates from different members of the team. Test and review products or services and provide updates and feedback.
Use blogs for business as a way to add personality that you cannot anywhere else. Once you start to build a community, to interact with people and to attract the attention you want and deserve, you will come to realise the benefits of blogging for business.
Top tips when blogging for business
When starting a blog for business or reviewing the content strategy that you have in place for your online communications, remember to cover the following points:
- You are creating communities not just content. Don’t write for you, write for the reader and you will get more engagement and repeat visits.
- Make sure you have the support of the senior team before you start. Don’t waste time on something that will become dormant in a matter of months. Put your ideas on the table and get the team excited about the benefits blogging can bring to business.
- Take the time to get the tone of voice right for your blog. This doesn’t have to be rigid but sharing consistent messaging and language will stop you from confusing the reader.
- Remember that blogs can have a positive impact on the bottom line, but they take time and that means money. Be realistic about what can be achieved and put measures in place.
- Set standards that will ensure your content is well written, credible and reflective of the business. Don’t be persuaded to rush a blog or to share content you know is not up to scratch.
- The content you post should be about sharing not selling. Don’t fall into the trap of constantly pushing your message to people. Engage and encourage them to join your community.
- Don’t get bored of business blogging. Make it exciting, keep it fresh and have some fun. Some of the best content comes from the most surprising of businesses, make sure that you are one of them.
Calling on the professionals
As an agency we work with many clients that have business blogs. As well as managing the press office and social media channels, in many cases we will draft and upload the copy for their blogs too. Every organisation we work with is different, but to provide one example, we have been working alongside the YM to create a series of lockdown stories which have attracted a lot of attention.
Rather than use the blog to sell to others in the business community, the YM has created a space that shares insight, support and camaraderie during some of the most difficult times. It is a great example of best practice when it comes to blogging for business.
If you’d like to discuss ways that the team at Open Comms can help to raise the profile of your brand, manage the reputation of your business and support with your content strategy throughout 2021, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, call: 01924 862477 or follow @OpenComms_.