I participated in a panel presentation last week on corporate blogging. While each of the panelists brought a slightly different perspective, the overall message to the group of a few hundred local small business execs that were in attendance was that blogging can help their company. Specifically blogging can allow them to participate (or lead) conversations in their industry; increase significantly the meaningful content on their site; provide a way for them and their key customers to evangelize their products; help their search rankings across their site; allow a platform for talking about corporate culture (to both an internal and external audience) and in many cases save hard dollars spent on press releases and certain marketing activities. Here are a few ideas from the panel on how to get started:
- Listen first. There likely are a handful of good bloggers (either individuals or companies) already writing about whatever it is that your company does. Spend some real time searching for and then reading what these influencers are saying.
- Participate. Before you even think about putting up your first post, start commenting on other blogs and becoming a part of the conversation already taking place in your industry. Reach out to other bloggers in your community for their advice and counsel.
- Plan. Good blog posts don’t just happen (especially at the corporate level) – they take real thought and planning. Pick topics that are of real interest to your industry and customers; write thoughtful pieces that reflect you and your company’s view of the current topics in your market; have a real editorial calendar (a fancy way of saying make a list of the posts you are going to write, when you want to publish them and who in your company is responsible for writing them).
- Engage. Don’t stand on your soapbox and shout for the hills (or simply use your blog as a place to post your press releases). Instead pick interesting topics that are timely and relevant to your community of readers and take a point of view. Encourage your readers (customers, employees, etc.) to comment, write their own posts in response, etc.
- Keep it up. It takes a little while to get going and even longer to really build a readership. Keep posting and keep posting regularly (a few times a week is ideal).