June 26, 2014
Starting a company blog is certainly easier said than done, but the fact that you are reading this now shows that we are succeeding! One of my initiatives is to revive the RefineCo blog. Although we still have a ways to go in the blog world, I wanted to share some tips and tricks that I’ve discovered from getting this company blog going with the help of Stacey.
First off, why should you blog? Aside from the wonders that it can do for your SEO, I believe that the true benefit comes from making your company appear more approachable and, in a way, alive. A blog allows you to communicate with your current and potential customers in a less formal way. You can allow readers to get to know you and your insights, which can reassure them of your knowledge and expertise in your field.
Before you get started, it is very important that you make sure that your staff understands why you are starting this new initiative. Long story short, as the Social Media Examiner states:
Helpful Content = Trust
Trust = Leads
Leads = Sales
And of course, Sales = Work. Need I say more?
Now, where do you start?
First, define your audience. Who do you want reading your articles – current and potential clients/partners, people in the industry, future employees, etc.? Now what kind of information would they find valuable and who is going to provide them with this information? We decided to include everyone in our office in the blog on a rotating schedule. Not only does everyone have their own expertise to offer to the world, but we believe that this is a valuable exercise for professional development. It allows staff to hone their writing skills by having to clearly articulate their thoughts.
Taking the next step.
We knew that it would be hard since most people likely haven’t written much more than a text message since their school days. Instead of getting everyone to dive right into the blog world, we took baby steps. As a stepping stone, I interviewed all of our staff members with a variety of work and life questions, and sent them their responses. Instead of having to start from scratch, they were able to create a blog introduction about themselves with minimal effort. This allowed them to take a crack at writing and decide the manner in which they wanted the world to perceive them. We thought the idea of bios would add a human element to the site and would be a great way to introduce the writers to the readers. Not only did the staff love learning about their colleagues, we had great feedback from both clients and interviewees saying they appreciated being able to get to know the team. Those blogs provided a unique insight into life at RefineCo and it has reassured clients and potential candidates that we are a good fit.
We are now in the process of getting everyone to write their first or second blog (this is my first!). Instead of simply assigning a topic to each person, we had a brainstorming session with all of the developers to come up with possible blog topics. The list far exceeded any expectations I had. I highly recommend brainstorming sessions because people are able to bounce ideas off one another and build them better than you could likely do all alone at your desk. When I meet up with writers, I give them the list as a starting point for deciding a topic – some choose one directly from the list, some take their own spin on it, and some have entirely different topics in mind. The point is, I let them choose. The quality and content will be more interesting when the writer has a passion for a topic.
The more, the better.
How often should you publish new blog posts? While flooding the internet with your company’s blog everyday would be ideal, it’s not very feasible. It is important to find a good balance especially since you don’t want to overload workers. What may work for one company, may not work for another. Set a goal and adjust it accordingly if you see people are struggling with deadlines or if they are far exceeding them. Originally we were hoping for two blog posts a week. This was short lived. After the introductions were mostly done, we saw that this wasn’t feasible – people were on holidays or had important client work to do. Instead of being disappointed with people not being able to meet blog deadlines, we decided to cut back to once a week which is much more doable. So, whether it’s once a day, week, month, etc., just make sure to build a consistent stream of content.
Reap the Benefits.
Our website traffic has more than doubled from pre-blog months. Of course there are a variety of factors for that, but in the last month, more than half of our website traffic originated from visits to our blog. There is no doubt that this blog, in conjunction with social media accounts, has helped spread our company name. Let it do the same for you!