Corporate Blogging: Avoid the Wrong Role Models
When you’re launching a business-to-business (B2B) corporate blog, the worst thing you can do is look to the likes of TechCrunch, Mashable and Technorati for a starting point. The mass media blogs that are so popular — and which may have inspired your own initiative — are fundamentally different from what you’re about to kick off. Don’t get me wrong: I read mass media blogs regularly (and even write for a few), but the dynamics are wholly unlike what you’ll encounter with a corporate blog. If you have visions of turning your corporate blog into the next Gawker-sans-edge, take a look at the four tips below.
1. Volume, volume, volume
When you have a dozen writers each contributing at least one post a day, well, you’ll have a lot of content. When you have one writer who’s also toiling away at other marketing tasks, you won’t. Committing to a blog post every day is a challenge for a business, especially if your blogger wears other hats.
2. Remember your mission
You’re not looking to break news or freak out the establishment. Rather, you have a corporate message to promote and a market to engage. Don’t try to emulate blogs that are trying to do something fundamentally different from you. Sure, you can learn a lot from them, but the mass media sites shouldn’t be used as templates.
3. Think past the content
Content impacts design. If you have a narrow focus and only one writer, for example, your tag cloud won’t be of much use — it will be full of terms that are almost identical. Ditch the tag cloud and other dynamic capabilities. Instead, try a “top stories” box. You’ll have to select them by hand, but you’ll have far more control over your environment and what your readers click.
4. Keep your traffic dreams real
In fact, don’t even think about traffic for a while. Your first few months will be thankless, as you build up the archive that people will read later. Your first three or four months are an investment in future readership. Once you’ve been blogging for a while, traffic numbers are less important than the types of readers you win. Would you rather have 50,000 visits a month or only five who are likely to become clients? There’s no ROI for unqualified eyeballs.
There aren’t many major corporate blogs out there for B2B companies to emulate. And the employees most likely to kick off these initiatives are like me — card-carrying citizens of the blogging community. We’re more inclined to look to the blogs we love instead of those that make sense. As you get your corporate blog off the ground, always ask yourself, “Am I a blogger, or am I marketing my company?”
You know what the right answer is.