Corporate Blogging Done Right
My company recently decided it was time to join the blogging world. Naturally working in such a large company there was a number of different opinions concerning what the blog should be about, what kind of information it should included and how it will increase the bottom line. After hearing /watching these conversations I decided to look into corporate blog best practices. Below are a few best practices I think that are important outlined in an article titled “10 tips for corporate blogging” on Mashable.com written by Erica Sallow.
Establish a Content Theme and Editorial Guidelines
Establishing a content theme and editorial guidelines allows the reader to have a clear understanding of what the blog is about and why they should care to read it. The article recommends to “chose a blog name and theme that fits well with your company’s expertise, but don’t be afraid to branch out into a larger space.” I believe by doing this the company is able to position themselves as the information authority by blogging about the company’s expertise but also communicating they are innovative by discussing and new ideas and changes.
Editorial guideline are a great place to start when hashing out what fits in the blog and allows the writer to stay on track and always delivery well thought out content.
Choose a Blogging Team and Process
Being that blogging is a form of content marketing, the content of a blog must be perfect (or close to it). By choosing a team of core bloggers with great writing skills and outgoing attitudes the blogs will be reflect these features and as create engaging and interesting content..
The article outlines two options regarding the process the blogger (and/or blogger team) must follow. One, having an editor or a group of editors and two, allowing the bloggers to post at their own will. I believe it is important to have an editor to make sure the blog doesn’t ‘miss the mark’ in terms of content, and make sure it supports the company’s brand. Also, any writer will tell you it is difficult to edit and fact check their own work. That being said, I believe a best practice is to have an editor.
Humanize your Company
This relates to choosing a blogging team and process. The article suggests “think(ing) of it (the blog) as a conversation between people, not between a brand and one person.” Be allowing blogger to have their own by-line on blogs is makes the communication feel more like a conversation with an expert, rather than a monotone ‘how to manual’ from a brand. The article also suggest allowing the blogger to have their own voice and writing style. While this can be beneficial I believe the voice or writing style needs to be complementary to the brand.
Avoid PR and Marketing
This is often hard to do because a blog essentially a marketing tool. The article suggests “if (the blog is) maintained correctly, it will act as a repository of real analysis and opinions provided by your company’s fine employees.” You often see corporate blogs writing about new promotions or upcoming sales. The article suggests “stay(ing) away from trying to sell your readers. There are appropriate venues for that, and your blog shouldn’t be one of them.” It is important to keep this in mind when choosing a blogging team and/or creating an editorial calendar.
The article suggests to “make it a policy to welcome criticism, thinking of it as an opportunity for feedback and improvement.” This is a best practice that I believe can be applied to anything done in the corporate world, or life for that matter. Being that blogging is a form of social media welcoming criticism and dealing with negative feedback is part of the game and can be very useful when done right.
Outline a Comment Policy
The article warns “if you open up your blog for full feedback (which you should), you will get a variety of comments — constructive, complimentary, hateful, and spam. Be prepared for everything.” The article suggest creating a comment policy that will help your team deal with each comment in the correct way and make sure everyone else on the team is doing the same thing. The article suggests having a process when deciding when to reply, delete, by pass or answer a comment. I believe it is important to answer every comment and only removing comments with offensive language or inappropriate content. Each comment presents an opportunity for customer relationship management, risk management or customer engagement.
By adding social media share tools to your blog you are allowing your “readers to promote your work” according to the article. The article also suggests passing on comments to the appropriate person in the company and having them respond to the customer while maintaining the same personal tone. I think is this great advice because it shows that the blog is not just a place for friendly posts and updates but rather a genuine communication tool that allows the customer to reach further into the company if they would like. By responding in a personal way the company is able to strengthen these new relationships and hopefully generate a positive brand image (and sales).
The article also suggests “promoting your social presence on your blog, by implementing links, buttons and widgets that link to your social profiles. This will enable readers to stay connected with you across platforms.” In my opinion this only works if it is done consistency. When using social media it is important to choose tools that are complementary to increase you social media presence and perceived know how.
Having a Strategy
It is easy to get lost in the social media world and to only use tools because they are available, or worse, because everyone else is doing it. Think anything else in business a bog needs a clear strategy that can guide the blog through times of industry and technology change.
Other links of interest: