In a post urging companies to bring back the corporate blog, Six Pixels of Separation cites a recent study to remind us how much value consumers derive from corporate blogs. Consider this:
• 60% of consumers want to see content directly from brands
• 46% of consumers say they read the blogs of their favourite brands (if you frequent Whole Foods’ blog for niche-ingredient recipes or consult Delta airlines blog for travel pointers, or you can relate)
• 40% prefer to read content directly from a company blog rather than from a news magazine or website – vs. 25% who prefer social media as their go-source, and 22% to third-party articles
The value of a corporate blog goes beyond the vanity metrics. Corporate blogs, when done right, act as the true voice of a brand, offering consumers the trustworthy information they’re searching for. Corporate blogs, when done right, educate, engage and entertain, and turn readers into subscribers.
But it takes planning. This checklist will guide you through the process of creating your company blog, including clarifying your mission, creating your strategy, picking a platform, and executing it to to achieve maximum potential.
1. Mission Statement
A clear mission statement will keep your blog project focused from planning to execution. It enables your content creators ( / employees) to measure each of their content pieces against your overarching purpose to make sure each piece fulfils it, and will help you evaluate the viability of a new content ideas.
When it comes to blogging, the why must come before the what. Start by answering these questions and be as specific as possible:
• Who is your core target audience?
• What kind of information are you hoping to deliver to them?
• What’s the ideal outcome for that audience?
These answers make up the three components of your blog’s mission statement. It’ll be a working first draft. Here’s Inc.com’s mission statement, for example:
“Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.”
Content Marketing Institute suggests posting your mission statement where it can be easily found by readers and urging your content creators to print it out.
Marketers who have a documented strategy are 66% more effective in their content marketing efforts. Blogging without a strategy is like playing baseball without the bases. You might have great ideas, but you’ll be running amock. Your mission statement offers the why, but your strategy offers the what. Your strategy should include the following:
• Your target audience. One of the keys to creating engaging content is understanding your target person’s questions. This requires an understanding their beliefs, wants and needs
• An assessment of your existing content. Think inside the box: what content do you already have? Understanding and cataloguing the existing contents compartments of an existing website is the first step to identifying gaps and opportunities
• Keyword research and trends analysis. Make use of free tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool and Google Trends to take advantage of trending topics
• A distribution plan
• A performance measurement strategy
For each of these steps in further detail, refer to our 7 step guide to content marketing
There are many benefits of choosing a blog to host your content marketing efforts. Companies who blog are proven to get more leads each month compared to those who don’t, and it can be great for SEO for the link building opportunities it offers.
To make sure you get those benefits, choose a content management system that has a solid core functionality that lets you and your content creators upload, edit, delete and organize your posts easily. The best blog platform is flexible and customizable, with a built-in SEO plugin like Yoast or Scribe, is able to host the right types of content, and present it in a way that doesn’t limit you and your developer to a handful of stock templates.
If you’re planning on executing your blog strategy internally, there’s more to think about than how to motivate your employees to be content creators. Establish:
• A team (CMI suggests you’ll need an editor, technical, creative resource, and more)
• Writer’s style guidelines
• A negative comments handling procedure
• A meeting plan
Your blog is meant to work as a part of an overall marketing strategy, not to thrive in a vacuum. Maximize your blogging efforts by incorporating other tactics to bolster it – social media, SEO and SEM. All of these working together will amount to your brand’s online authority.
Check back for more pointers on making your digital marketing efforts stand out, from content creation to distribution.
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- Your Checklist for Creating an Effective Corporate Blog - Wednesday Sep 10, 2014
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