The other day I had my brain picked on Twitter and blogging for one of our PR associates who had to give a talk to tother PR folks.
One of the questions I was asked was,
“What do you think are the best social media tools a business can use to promote themselves?”
And of course, I answered Twitter, and then I said Facebook, and then, I answered blogging.
Now aside from the pure SEO benefits of blogging: increasing the size of your website, being able to use weird, but relevant long-tail keywords to bring in new traffic, and the ability to get a corporate message across over and over again in many various forms to reach the minions; we got onto the typical mistakes people make with corporate blogs:
a corporate blog should not be just about selling your brand or product
If no matter what is written, every blog post ends with, or even worse, begins with: At XYZ Corp we sell the best dern widgets in the universe”, then really who is going to keep coming back??
- A blog is not an advertising platform.
- A blog is not a place to tell everyone how great your product is.
- A blog is not always the place to blow your own horn.
- A blog is not the place to speak marketing speak, unless you are blogging about marketing!
A blog, corporate or not, is the place to expand your platform to areas that might only remotely touch onto what you might be selling. Yes, you want to write about areas that are relevant to your business, but, as I like to tell my kids: It’s not always all about you!
a corporate business blog will have content and interests aside from what is being sold
It’s the place to build authority and expand one field of interest. Done well, a corporate blog will stretch the proverbial customer net as far and wide as one can, using keywords and links to entice readers to follow that link and read. Done well, the content will be so engaging and rich, that a reader relaxes a bit, puts their feet up, and continues down the line of posts, soaking in the wit and wisdom. Done well, the reader is so entertained; that he or she forgets why they came there, to begin with, and are just reading. Done well, and eventually, they look up, wonder where they are, and look around to find the rest of the website, very openly and clearly explaining who you are, what the company does, and how to get the great products you are selling! And because of the well-done blog, they are more apt to think that company XYZ sure does have the best dern widgets in the universe NOT because you told them, but because you have so much great knowledge about everything else in the world that might have something, however remotely, to do with those widgets.
The heart of blogging is about being real. Not a selling tool, but a real person with real feelings and a real, noncorporate identity, sitting behind the computer really writing and sharing what they have to say. A real blog is about building relationships with those people who also have similar interests even if they are NEVER GOING TO BUY YOUR PRODUCT!
a blog is like a party
You go to a party to have fun. To kick back, to be with friends, and maybe, you might network, but it’s NOT a business mixer, it’s NOT a job fair, it’s a PARTY! Yeah, you never know who you might meet, but that’s not why you came. Who wants to be the bore of a party? The stereotypical insurance guy who won’t stop selling life insurance policies? Who wants to be the self-centered jerk who always talks about himself and just wants an audience to stroke his ego? Who wants to be the shallow snob who is there to show off?
You don’t want to be that blog either!! You want to laugh. You want to have a deep conversation. You want to keep in touch with friends and meet new ones. You want to hear a good joke, maybe share a few yourself. But you want to have fun and be entertained. So does everyone else who is there (besides the bore, the jerk, and the snob).
After I went forth with my tirade, the next question was posed to me: What if no one is reading the blog?
And again, it’s back to the party. If you go to a party do you stand in a corner, alone, and talk to yourself, waiting until someone else comes over to listen to you? No! You move through the room, you MINGLE. You go to a group of people who look interesting, maybe you know one of two, and you join in the conversation. First, you listen, you gather up what the topic of conversation is about, and then you wait, until it is your turn to interject and add something relevant to the conversation.
Same with Blogging.
if you have a corporate blog and no one seems like they are reading, get out of your own corner!
Go forth and mingle! Find other blogs that you are interested in, that are slightly relevant to what your field is about, that look interesting, that seem like they are fun and engaging. Then listen. Gather up what they are talking about. The easiest way to do this is to take some time and actually READ the blog and comments. And then join in the conversation! Make a comment!
Just make sure it’s NOT selling, not promotional, and not sounding like it’s coming from the bore or jerk or snob! Use your best party line; you know the one that makes everyone laugh or think you are oh so witty. And yes, make sure that you bother to sign in, add your own Blog URL to the login, so when the host of the party/blog wonders who that fun person was who added so much to the conversation is, they know where to find you! All they have to do then is click on your name and it’s just like returning the invitation; except this time the party’s at your house!
no matter what the ultimate purpose of your corporate blog, think of it like a party.
Find interesting relevant things to talk about that will be fun and interesting and entertaining for the reader, however, they might be. And then mingle. If you want to throw a party, first you have to make some friends. And again, you never know who you might meet.
And if you just happen to sell some widgets from the deal, well, that’s a bonus.