By now everybody knows that if your want your company to succeed one of the things you need most is to have a company blog. Company blogs are important! They showcase a company’s personality, help endear the business to readers, show off expertise and commitment to their communities, etc. This is something everybody knows. What not everybody knows is how to do the company blog “thing” well.
It’s relatively easy to set up your company’s blog. While many believe that WordPress isn’t the best idea for professional blogs, a simple WordPress installation and rerouting of your domain name servers takes less than an hour to set up. Viola! You’re done! Except….now you have to fill that blog with content. Here are some tips for how to do that.
Identify Your Audience
Hopefully by now you’ve already done this. Identifying and familiarizing yourself with your audience is an important part of market research. There is more to this than simple demographic information. It also means identifying which trends are the most popular, which styles of writing and language get the best responses, etc. For example, if you’re trying to market your products to a younger audience, conversational writing filled with slang and colloquialisms will work best. For an older market, something more formal in tone is usually required. Identify how your audience “sounds” before you start putting pixel to page and writing those blog posts.
A Quick Word About Slang
Do you remember being younger, when you would read books by adults trying to sound young? They would try to incorporate slang and shorthand and it always came out sounding stilted. Try to avoid this with your own blog posts. If you are unfamiliar with the language of your audience don’t try to force it into your blog posts or you’ll sound just as stilted in your blog posts as those books did when you were growing up.
The best way to learn how to incorporate audience-specific lingo is to spend some time in your audience’s world–not just trying to figure out how to market to them but figuring out how to befriend them. The more time you spend in that world, the more its language will work its way into your blog posts naturally.
What Helps the Most?
So many companies fall into the trap of only blogging about the services and products they offer. Don’t make this mistake? Remember: blogging is the grandparent of social media. The golden ratio applies. This means that only 20% of your blog posts should be promotional in nature. The rest need to be helpful in some way.
For example, let’s say you’re a lawyer. You wouldn’t want to only blog about the type of law your practice or why people need to hire lawyers more often. You would also want to post about the legal issues facing your client base.
A bankruptcy attorney, for example, could draw in clients by blogging about personal finance tips, credit repair and savings techniques. If your specialty is employment law, you can win clients by walking readers through different legal processes, like what the Social Security Administration wants to know before approving a disability application, or how to detail problems with supervisors or coworkers before reporting them for harassment.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Your Client Base
One technique that has been particularly successful is showing readers the inner workings of an industry. The KISSMetrics blog is a great example of this. KISSMetrics is a company that specializes in helping clients track their web analytics and site engagement. Instead of simply creating posts that define the different aspects of analytics tracking and metrics measurement, the company creates fully fleshed out case studies and in-depth research reports about why metrics matter, how to measure them and how to implement what you learn from those measurements and, well, anything and everything that is even remotely related to marketing–even if it isn’t analytics specific, like this report on the science of color.
A person could read the KISSMetrics blog and learn enough that they don’t need to hire the company at all, but KISSMetrics isn’t exactly hurting for business! In fact, their blog is one of the most respected blogs online, even outside of marketing and web development circles.
What it all boils down to is this: if you want your company’s blog to be successful and help you attract clients, you need to use it to really serve your audience. Calls to action, etc. are great but remember: a blog post is not a sales page. Blogs are supposed to inform first, sell second (if at all). Serve your readers first and the money will follow.