Think you’re ready to start a company blog? Here are eight
rules to follow when you write that first post – and every other post after.
1. Know your goal.
Your ultimate goal is to gain more business (or more
support, if you’re a non-profit), but keep in mind the goals specific to the
blog. Things like:
Get more web traffic
Collect email addresses
Build a community
B smart: To build authority with potential customers
and with search engines, don’t try to sell something every five minutes.
2. Write stuff your
audience wants to read.
Content should be:
Related to your business
So useful and/or amusing people
want to share it with friends.
Not an ad for your product or service.
If you’re a medical company, write about healthy lifestyles.
If you’re a nonprofit, write about people you’ve helped. If you’re a B2B
company, write about industry legislation and best practices.
B smart: Posts with tips, tricks and how-tos are
3. Write an intriguing and specific title.
Specify what’s in the post and why it’s valuable to your readers.
“Sack Lunch Ideas” is boring
“Make Every Day Delicious”
“12 Easy and Delicious
Sack Lunches” is both specific and interesting
B smart: Include relevant keywords for search engine
4. Make it easy on
Chances are, your readers’ eyes are already tired of the
screen. Huge Dostoyevsky blocks of copy could scare them away. Break up the text
with subheads and bullet points. Readers should be able to tell what you’re
saying at a glance.
B smart: Train yourself to keep posts under 500
words. It’s okay to occassionally write a longer post that’s more in-depth(i.e., “everything you need to know
5. End with a call to
Give people something to dowhen they finish reading. For instance:
“Read more” (followed by
links to posts on similar topics)
“What’s your favorite sack lunch? Tell us
in the comments!”
“Like this article? Pass
it on!” (followed by share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
B smart: Choose calls to action based on your main
goals. Sharing is great for traffic; comments are great for community-building.
6. Add a picture.
Use a photo a relevant photo that’s striking or amusing to draw
the eye and help break up the text. Only use pictures you own, or have
permission to use from the owner.
B smart: Search the Creative Commons section
of a photo-sharing site like Flickr for images you
can legally use (as long as you link back to the owner).
7. Post on a schedule.
You don’t have to post every day – five posts a week can be
daunting to your subscribers as well as your writing team – but posting one to
three times week, preferably on the same days (e.g. every Monday, Wednesday and
Friday) is ideal.
B smart: Share your own posts on your social
networks. You can connect some networks (like LinkedIn) directly to your blog
to post new article links automatically.
8. Reply to every
thank people who compliment the content. Strike up conversations with your
B smart: Don’tfeed the trolls – in other words, don’t try to argue with people who post
inflammatory comments just to get a rise out of you. Instead, shut them down
with something benign like “Thank you for your input.” Consider implementing a
Comment Policy reserving the right to ban trolling, strong language, racial slurs,
What questions do you have about blogging? Let us know in
Imagine earning a living by letting thousands
of people read your diary. It sounds ridiculous. Crazy. Dangerous, even. But
happening nonetheless. Well, sort of.
The blog (short for web log) started out as a
sort of online diary where people published their daily musings for all to
read. Now, hundreds of millions of blogs all over the web are resources for
entertainment, information and income.
Yes, some bloggers make a living blogging.
Not by posting random musings, though: by posting fun or useful content other
people actually want to read. Niche blogs may help people get out of debt,
dress fashionably, get novels published, or (yes) blog for a living. These
bloggers build huge followings with great content, then make their income by either
selling their own products (e.g. books or online workshops) or selling ad space
on their blog.
Oh, yeah. Businesses are jumping on the blog
bandwagon. And for good reason:
Engine Optimization – Search engines love keyword-rich
content, especially new keyword-rich
content. So if you are regularly updating your blog with articles relating to
your business, you’re going to get more traffic from Google, Bing and the rest.
Starting a conversation, giving your organization a face and a voice, and connecting
with customers. By posting content like how-to articles, you are solving
problems for customers and potential customers—so they’ll naturally trust your
product or service to solve their problems, too.
Authority – Just
by being in the business (whichever business it is), you know more about it
than the average Joe. Show off that “inside look,” and you give the subtle impression
that you know more than your competitors do.
if you’re going to do it, do it right.
Maybe you already know the benefits of a
corporate blog. Maybe you already started one. But are you doing what’s
necessary for success?
Content – A blog post is an article, not an ad.
Leave your sales pitch at the door. Make it useful, entertaining, and related
to your business—but don’t list services or product features. In the medical
industry? Give healthy living tips or compare fad diets. Sell luggage? Review
great destinations and give tips on getting through customs. Ask yourself what
information will make your customers’ lives better. Then give it to them.
Regularly – You can’t just write one or two posts
every couple of months and expect new business to come pouring in. The experts
say you have to post twice a week, minimum. It helps if you do it the same days
every week, like Mondays and Fridays.
to Comments – You’re trying to connect with people remember?
So reply to every comment: thank supporters, answer questions, and resolve
issues with any disgruntled customers. Plus, reach out and become an active
commenter on other blogs in your industry.
to Spend 10 Hours Per Week Blogging – I know from
experience. Sometimes it’s a little more, sometimes a little less, but between
researching, writing, reading, and replying to comments…10 hours is a safe