Does your business have a blog? In an age where content is king, many companies' websites now include a regularly updated feed of original articles and posts. But running a business blog isn't just another time-consuming task to add to your marketing to-do list: It's a valuable branding tool that can build deeper connections with customers.
"A blog is a great way to get your name out there, in terms of press and SEO, but it's also a great way to put a face to that name," said Jason Baker, senior editor of Mediander.com, a "knowledge engine" that connects search topics with relevant context and information. "To consumers and generally curious people, a lot of companies can seem sort of mysterious and implacable. Producing a high-quality, trustworthy blog will humanize your business."
Committing to regularly updating your website's blog does take time and effort, but the positive effect it will have on your brand is well worth it, especially if you want to position yourself as an expert in your industry. Baker offered a few tips for writers and editors of corporate blogs. [Content-Marketing Secrets Every Small Business Should Know]
Use a style guide
"The biggest time and headache-saver is using a style guide," Baker told Business News Daily. "Readers of blogs want consistency. They want a regular frequency of posts and they want to trust the writing. Having a standard way to deal with names, capitalization, italics, links, etc., helps you establish that trust. And if your blog features multiple writers, a style guide will help you bring all those voices under one roof."
If you don't have the time to create your own style guide, you can consult existing ones such as the "AP Stylebook," "The Chicago Manual of Style," or guides written especially for online publishing, like "The Yahoo Style Guide."
Have a good content strategy
Running a corporate blog isn't just about updating readers on what's going on at your company, or even just within the industry. A great content strategy is about offering people information about topics they're truly interested in, and connecting it to your own area of expertise. For example, Mediander's blog looks at what's going on in the world through a pop culture lens.
"We talk about new books, upcoming movies and TV shows, and trends we've noticed in music," Baker said. "We run appreciations about famous figures we care about who have died, and observe calendar events, such as Women's History Month and National Poetry Month."
In addition to capitalizing on current events and holidays, Baker also noted that fun features like quizzes and contests can help keep readers engaged and interested.
Place a high premium on editing
One of the most important aspects of running a blog is editing. Edit your writers, Baker said, and if you're the writer, have someone edit you. Making sure your blog posts have the right tone and are factually correct will save you time and embarrassment down the line. This process will also make you care more about your content, and can even bring new relevance to time-sensitive content.
"Even something occasional or topical can be written with feeling and style and context, such that it won't become obsolete," Baker said. "Things live forever on the Internet, and oftentimes you come across something that was published last year or the year before. If readers find your blog in this way, you want them to say, 'Wow, these guys were on the case. What else are they talking about?'"