Should you start a corporate blog?
These days it seems like every manager and their intern (mainly the intern) runs a corporate blog. And with the growth of social media and search engine optimization, it’s little wonder why. There are some great benefits to having your own blog picked up and shared across new audiences.
Now, before firing up WordPress, there are some important factors to consider. You need to ask some tough questions, and devote resources to setting out, and maintaining, the ground rules. Here they are.
Why are you blogging?
This is perhaps the most overlooked question of them all. Why do you want a blog? What is your organization trying to say? It’s not enough to list expected blogging benefits—drive interaction, grow engagement, generate leads, and so on—you need to define its purpose.
Are you using the blog:
- To express your organization’s world-view?
- To help people get the best results from your product, service or solution?
- To show the company’s human side?
- To establish your firm as a thought leader?
- Or all of the above?
Defining your goal(s) will help you to focus on key topics, rather than waste time and resources on subjects that don’t match your needs.
How are you blogging?
The next step is to figure out how you will meet your goals.
Will you keep the blog in-house, using a custom publishing platform? Will you task specific departments with monthly contributions using a Tumblr account? Or will you set up a WordPress site and outsource content generation to save time?
These questions and more are answered in part by the resources you can devote to your blog—and believe me, when I say you need to dedicate resources, you really do. We’ve all seen those “corporate” blogs that start out with lots of posts, then sort of trail off into nothingness over a period of months or weeks as resources get diverted back to “core” activities.
What will you blog about?
This is an obvious question, but one you need to answer. What topics will you cover? What issues matter to your target audience? Why are these issues important to your business? What does your competition write about? (And how will you differentiate this content from said competition?)
When you’re starting out, the choices seem overwhelming. But it’s important to pick a focus that works for your organization, as the topics you write about will define the audience you attract.
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but the important thing is to build interactions. Write on topics that inspire conversation, then ask your audience for feedback. Blogging is a conversation—not a one-way channel—and the info your readers give you can help drive your content in new and interesting directions.
How will you measure blogging success?
It’s tempting to set the standard of success at the number of views or readers your blog attracts. But there are other metrics that may offer more value.
Repeat visitors, intelligent comments and questions, social media shares and re-posts, links from authoritative websites, outbound links or conversions—all of these are signs that you’re blogging well.
As we’ve said before, the most important point is to take that first step and consider the why, then the what. Then—and only then—start blogging. (And remember it’s OK to have fun with it.)