Many business functions probably continued to run as usual over the recent holiday period, but if there was one area where marketing departments were likely to hit “pause,” it was the company blog.
Hopefully, marketers have become experienced enough with using editorial calendars and other planning tools that they don’t have to end their blogging hiatus with a feeling of starting again from scratch. The beginning of a new year isn’t just an opportunity to develop or pursue fresh story ideas, however. It’s an opportunity to look more holistically at your company blog and how you can increase the performance of your content.
Measuring success with a corporate blog varies widely, of course. For some firms, the increased traffic to their web site can assist with driving inbound leads to their sales team. For others, it’s part of an orchestrated buyer journey they manage through tools such as Marketing Cloud that nurture customers from awareness to consideration and finally, a purchasing decision.
No matter the marketing metric, however, it’s safe to say that a blog that gets substantial visits and engagement helps companies reach their overall marketing goals. Before you continue to hit “publish” from January through next December, consider some of the following tactics as a way to boost the return on investment (ROI) for your blogging efforts.
Too many companies simply think that churning out ever-larger volumes of blog posts will get them customers. Instead, they need to consider what will get their blog posts to rank higher in search engine results. This begins with a good search engine optimization (SEO) or keyword strategy, of course, but it’s also a matter of having other sites and blogs link to your posts. That sends a signal to search engines like Google that your content is authoritative and helpful, which makes them more likely to be found when prospects and customers go searching for information.
Do some searching of your own for topics related to your blog. Look at the sites from major media outlets or even well-respected independent bloggers who are covering the same areas. Where it’s appropriate, reach out and suggest they link to your post. Here’s a basic template for the message you can use:
Subject Line: You’re spot-on with your recent article about [keyword]!
I work for XYZ Corp., where we publish a blog about [topic similar to the recipient]. I recently noticed you had run an outstanding piece about [keyword]. We actually delved into the same thing on our blog, and we had some insight that might be of interest to your audience [briefly describe content with specific insight].
If you want to link to our post in your article, it’s here: [URL] If you do, we’d love to help drive more people to your article by promoting it to our followers on social media or in the e-mail newsletter to our customers. Let me know what you think, and thanks for your time and consideration.
Some content creators might ignore your requests, but others will jump on the chance to have their work reach a wider audience, particularly if it’s a publication where the information tends to be time-sensitive. Your blog content, on the other hand, should be timely but perennial, so that when someone finds it through search it will still be relevant -- and lead to direct business results.
If you’re launching a new product, opening a new office or announcing a change in your leadership team, a press release is a standard way to let the media know. It’s not the only way to tell some of your firm’s best stories. In fact, simply running a press release as a blog post is a mistake because the former is intended to be scanned by journalists (or investors) for the relevant details and then followed up with additional questions.
Conversely, your company blog should be all about answering questions, providing more colour and context around important issues to your industry. Many firms now do both: issue a press release on a newswire and in a news release section on their web site, while having a blog post that breaks down news in more accessible terms. The blog may be read by customers, prospects and other important stakeholders long before the news gets covered by the media, so this is your chance to create the angle you think is most relevant.
If this sounds like more work, try this: record a conversation with the CEO when you’re getting briefed about the key details that need to go into the press release. Then, transcribe the audio and use it to create a more conversational blog post and have him or her review both at the same time. Aligning various kinds of content is a Marketing Cloud best practice.
It can be expensive and time-consuming to make videos, podcasts, infographics and other content that fuel the marketing process. Hopefully you’re already repurposing these kinds of assets on your blog, whether it’s a transcript of the podcast, an embed of a video or infographic and so on.
Now might be a good time to think about slicing and dicing that content on the blog a little more. Just as you can segment lists in your email database to send messages based on specific customers’ interests, your blog should be organized with an eye towards niche interests, curating and collecting posts based on how they might appeal to a certain company size, industry sector or product and service category. You’ll save your audience time -- which they can then allocate towards engaging more deeply with what you’ve offered them.
No matter which of these or other strategies you try, make sure you set some new goals for your company blog in 2018. A blog may sometimes seem like a never-ending story, but there’s always room to throw in a few interesting plot twists.