The artful science of effective blogging techniques
Maintaining a blog can be one of the most effective ways for a business to raise its profile, promoting its brand and engaging its customers. But making a company blog into an effective resource involves combining a lot of different factors, some of them more intuitive than others.
A well-managed blog can be one of a company website’s most effective SEO tools, because it provides a source of constantly updated copy highlighting topics relevant to its business. That makes the blog a natural home for the sort of keyword-rich content that search engines love, while regular updates can help to give that text a leg up when compared to a static page.
But keywords are only half the story where strong SEO is concerned. Modern search engines place an increasingly high premium on content that users can be seen to value: websites that people link to, or visit repeatedly, or reference in social media. And blogs can provide businesses with a uniquely effective tool for attracting this sort of dedicated following.
Since blogging first gained popularity as a sort of public journal for personal users, businesses have been exploring ways to harness that same networking potential. Company blogs have used models that range from a collection of press releases to articles highlighting different services described elsewhere on their website. These represent a good way to begin thinking about how a blog can help the business, but stopping there can forfeit a lot of the blog’s potential.
The most effective blogs don’t just contain a collection of buzzwords or a catalog of company resources, but find a way to engage readers, encouraging them to visit the site again and share what they have found. In a way, this mirrors the elements that make an effective personal blog, such as content readers will find useful or engaging — even entertaining, if that can fit with the company’s image.
So what does an optimal company blog look like? It can take a number of different forms, depending on the company involved: A blog can be a home for discussions of developments in the industry, or a spotlight on the business and its employees. Businesses that wish to create a customer community can use blogging to host a dialogue between its users, by inviting comments and responding to user questions.
What sets a company blog apart from its personal counterparts is the need to build and reinforce a clear public image that invites readers to do business. A blog with strong copy and a well-thought-out editorial direction can reinforce a company’s brand and boost its visibility, drawing in customers who might not have found it otherwise. But any blog works best when filled with content that doesn’t feel like an afterthought: Readers are becoming increasingly savvy about when they are being marketed to.
An effective company blog engages its readers in its own sort of transaction, providing useful information in exchange for their continued attention. And in an increasingly virtual marketplace, having an engaged network of online visitors can go a long way toward raising a company’s online profile, improving its SEO rankings and attracting potential new customers.
Has blogging for your business increased your company’s visibility, and/or have you helped create productive conversations with your audience? We’d love to hear about it below!
Erik Owomoyela is a social media consultant and content contributor for AEI.