6 Ingredients for Successful Corporate Blogging
Not too long ago, businesses considered their blogs to be an attractive “extra.” Now, however, it’s obvious that blogging is an integral part of the marketing landscape. In fact, “interesting content” is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media. And here are a few other facts:
- Small businesses with blogs generate 126 percent more leads than those without.
- 81 percent of consumers trust information they get from a blog.
- Companies with blogs have 97 percent more inbound links than those without.
- Business websites that have blogs have 434 percent more indexed pages than those without.
- 61 percent of U.S. consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post.
Pretty convincing, right? We thought so, too. Unfortunately, while business blogging is obviously here to stay, it appears that dull, poorly written content is coming along for the ride. Half-hearted blogging is wasted effort that could actually harm a business’s credibility. Well-done, expertly crafted blog content, on the other hand, can be hugely beneficial.
What’s the difference? Here’s what you need to know:
1. Harvest knowledge and expertise
Identify your objectives and key messages. Then cast a wide net across your entire organization for people with something to say about those topics. Don’t worry about writing ability — if your colleagues have a lot to say but no time to write, a professional writer or content vendor can work wonders.
2. Find topics that pack a punch
Unleash the exciting potential of your corporate blog with attention-grabbing topics that inform readers, tackle issues, and solve problems. Look for topics that trigger an immediate desire to read, respond, or share. For B2B businesses, topics could include everything from a client’s press release to industry news affecting your customers. Food brands can write about everything from recipes to the season’s hottest ingredients. Health care brands can cover things like the latest clinical research as well as tips for maintaining health and well-being. The range of topics is almost endless — anything that educates, entertains, or helps your audience.
3. Boost click-through rates with a compelling headline
Now that you’ve got a great topic, you need an equally compelling headline. The best blog post will fall flat if the header and lead-in fail to grab the reader’s interest. Studies on click-through rates suggest that eight-word titles are optimal, so hover in that range. Images draw attention — but not logos. Headers with a hyphen or colon perform slightly better than those without a subtitle. When using punctuation, a question mark tops a period or exclamation point. Lists are popular, but odd numbers pull in higher click-through rates than even numbers. Go figure. What’s more, blogging is as subject to trends as any other medium. What works today might not be what works tomorrow, so it’s important to keep up with the latest information from trusted sources.
4. Loosen your tie
Too many companies are afraid of dropping the official lexicon and adopting a clear, lively, conversational tone in their blogs. But blogs are all about connecting and conversing, blogger to reader. If you don’t have time to revamp your company materials to reach a general audience, there’s always help. A professional writer can take even the dullest and most technical topic and make it interesting.
5. Less is more
Optimal word count for blog posts begins at 400 and goes as far as 1,000. If you’re nearing the higher end of that spectrum, consider editing for brevity or splitting the topic into two posts. The litmus test for length is a “coffee break read.” Make your posts easy to skim with sections and lists — few visitors will read every word. Mobile consumption is huge and growing exponentially. Optimize for mobile and tighten for impact, so as to avoid loss of interest or endless scrolling.
6. Include a call to action
To leverage the full power of blogging, you need to move your reader to the next step — whatever that might be. For example, you might invite them to enter their contact info in exchange for an e-book, white paper, or newsletter. The call to action can vary, but never conclude with a blatant sales or PR pitch for your company. You want to share your insights and expertise freely, without an agenda. On the other hand, you should aggressively promote your blog itself everywhere you can — on your website, social networks, business cards, emails, etc.
Blogging may be the least expensive form of inbound marketing, but it’s far from free. It takes time and energy to devise topics, do research, write and edit, and promote your content. Take a hard look at the strengths and weaknesses of your team. What role can each member play in the blogging process? Whether you rely on in-house talent or outsourced professionals, you want writers who are comfortable in your industry. You’ll also want writers with an engaging sense of style who can keep your readers coming back for more. To take your blog to the next level, sign up today and learn how we can help.