After conducting a fair number of content audits in my time, I feel that the time has come to speak out about company blogs at their very best and worst. Over the next few months I’ll be taking you through some blogging basics, starting today with the question: “should it be a blog post?”
Introduction to blogging for business
There are so many resources online about why your business should be publishing content on a blog, like this one from Hubspot. Generally the advice is that blogging helps you to do one (but hopefully more than one) of the following:
- Increase traffic numbers
- Convert traffic
- Improve authority
Yay! I love all of these things and I’m sure you do too. Why wouldn’t you want more traffic and conversions? Unfortunately it’s very much a case of “easier said than done”. The concept of a having a blog is simple, but actually carrying out the work can be quite difficult. Where do you even begin when it comes to creating a blog?
A question that clients often ask me is “what should we write about?” something which should never be an easy question to answer; a blog needs a content strategy just as much as any other area of a company website. Not only that but a blog also needs governance in terms of who will be responsible for writing, editing and keeping it up to date. Running a blog isn’t something to be taken lightly as there is plenty of investment time needed.
It’s when these considerations aren’t taken into account that issues start to occur with company blogs. So let’s work together to try and improve things for you, starting with which kind of content you want to publish.
Writing text based content
The company news update
We all love to shout about the awesome things we’re doing as businesses, but think about how relevant this is going to be for your audience. Some sites do an excellent job of sharing their news, but others fail due to the lack of relevancy and depth.
Put it this way, do you spend your time reading mundane posts online that make little difference to your life? It’s doubtful. But you might read a post about a company news update if you find out your favourite shop will soon be opening in your town, or if you hear about a new product launch.
Where they really belong: you might want to consider that this type of post might be better placed in a press release or media centre area on your website.
Charity work update
It’s wonderful to do charity work as a business, and of course you’ll want to share the positive stories with your customers and wider audience. The only thing with this is that you can end up having a lot of posts saying much of the same.
I recently audited a company blog and found a lot of charity work posts amongst their really insightful industry news. The main issue was that the content on the pages was really thin, often under 100 words in length, and the URLs were also virtually identical if a charity event took place annually.
Where they really belong: social media platforms are perfect for this type of content as you can share your news and updates in a more informal setting, and also engage with people who have helped your charitable work.
Adding media based content
Images of team activities
Company team building days, nights out and Christmas parties – all of these are events where it’s likely that many photos will be taken. Despite the protests of some team members, it’s also likely that these photos will end up on the internet in some way or form.
The question is where should they go? It’s true that pictures of the team away from their desks brings a sense of personality to the business, but it’s important to remember tone in the grand scheme of things.
Where they really belong: with Flickr and Instagram around, there are plenty of great social networks specifically designed for sharing images online.
The same goes for videos. Usually any corporate videos would work their way onto a resource or “about us” page on the main website and not the blog.
This might be different if the blog post is a little more informal and the video is catered to this – perhaps it could demonstrate users interacting with the product, or perhaps one of your team has presented at a seminar or conference and you want to show people that you are a source of authority.
However if you’re going ultra-casual and you’re thinking about posting a video of someone spinning around on their office chair or something else less relevant to your audience, try a tailored social media platform instead.
Where they really belong: Vine, Instagram, and YouTube all have potential here depending on the length of your videos. YouTube can be a good starter home for your content that you could embed into a blog post if it ends up being something of great interest to your audience.
Hopefully you now have a better idea of what type of content to avoid on your company blog. Of course that’s not to say you shouldn’t include anything that gives you personality, just think about where the best home is for the type of content you have at hand.
By doing this you might just find that you start building communities in other areas of the web, and you will also help to keep your website free of bloat. After all, who wants to find a load of old image URLs causing a mass of 404 response code errors in Google Search Console? Not me!