Golden Rules for Corporate Blogging: Preliminary Questions (2/3)

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by: Yann Gourvennec

Preliminary questions

First and foremost, define the purpose of your corporate blog even before you start writing the first line. What is the objective of this blog? Is it about awareness? Is it intended for you to share knowledge with the community? Is it there to show that your corporation and its experts are particularly good at something?

If you are able to answer any of these questions, then you should also know what and how to write in it. Of course, it is possible to maintain a blog just to talk about the weather. But at the end of the day there are very few chances that this is going to benefit your corporation. Eventually, not only  will this make your blog ineffective, you may also run the risk of losing your management support. It is particularly advised to target your blog as if it were a standard information vehicle, through a carefully chosen niche strategy.

It is also recommended to create a blog per activity, rather than one that mixes up different subjects. This will increase the community effect and make it a lot more efficient. Think about starting small rather than launch upfront as many blogs as you have domains that you’re dealing with. It is much more desirable to have two or three blogs which are successful rather than a hundred which are not. Besides, don’t forget that blogging could be time-consuming.

How much time should be devoted to that exercise? And by whom? This is probably the most crucial question. If the blog depends on an individual then it can also become a mind-boggling question. Very often, bloggers who do this for leisure, give up after a while or once they have moved to a more time-consuming job for instance and their free time vanishes or is considerably reduced. This is one of the reasons why a lot of blogs disappear after roughly a year of activity. When it comes to corporate blogging, things are theoretically easier because experts are plentiful and it is possible to pool expertise and form expert-teams so that experts aren’t all busy at the same time. One can therefore establish rosters for the blog to be maintained on a regular basis by different people. Even on the open Internet, this is one of the most effectual methods which I have found in order to keep the blog alive in the long run.

Ideally, expert teams for corporate blogging should comprise six to seven bloggers, or maybe more (although it is dubious that there are going to be more than six of seven people who update the blog on a regular basis). Should some of these experts move jobs or tire of entering posts on the blog, do not hesitate to bring in more experts and change the team. Ideally there should be somebody in your corporation in charge of facilitating the team and helping them. A facebook and bios of the experts on the ‘about’ page can also work wonders. It increases personalisation and establishes credibiity. Besides, it addresses the point that the blog isn’t a flog (i.e. Fake blog, a blog written by some advertising agency or fake professionals/experts).

If you want to attract more than 50 visitors per day, at least three to four hours of work will be required every week. Once again, if you’re getting yourselves organised in expert teams, the amount of time that each individual would spend every week on the blog is going to be limited, although it won’t have any impact on the quality and update of the information produced. A minimum of one article a week has to be delivered for the blog to merely exist, but do not expect much if you can’t produce at least three to five each week. Once again, if your team is made of six or seven high-grade experts, this should not be a real problem and should not be too time-consuming. All these people also need coordination, the corporate and marketing teams should cater for that.

Lastly, do not forget that blogging is not an end in itself, but just a means to an end. However, if it is well-managed, it can be tremendously successful with regard to the objective which you have set at the beginning of your approach (see above).

Blog post classification

Let’s classify the type of content that you can find in a blog along four main categories:

  • Firstly, the easiest type of posts, let’s begin with those articles which contain lists of links and resources. All you have to do is to add a link to another article, a tool or other reference material, video etc. and establish a link with your activity and add a comment. Please note that articles which do not contain a personalised comment are an absolute non-starter and should be excluded at all cost. Besides, even if it is brief, any comment should contain added value to make the post worthwhile. On average, you should reckon that this type of articles will take up 30 minutes of your time.
  • Secondly, it is possible to enter articles whereby your experts will comment on news or events and even possibly seminars. In the corporate world there are a lot of these business seminars going on. My advice for this is to publish comments and notes taken during the seminars and presentations. Very often this kind of posts is very successful and brings in a lot of added-value content. Besides, other participants to the seminar event will also be using your minutes and/or linking to theirs. This is also a very practical way of enabling those people who haven’t been able to attend the event to benefit from the content which was produced at that time.
  • The third type of article which you could post are those one could call reference articles, whereby you will give your expert advice and opinion. These are probably the most gratifying ones for an expert, those which would establish his/her expertise in the most transparent fashion, but they will also be more time-consuming, and despite the quality of their content they might not be the most successful ones. However, this paradox should not stop them from producing this kind of articles, on the contrary. Once again, do not attempt worldwide fame with niche expertise, it is much better to be well positioned on that niche which will make you and your corporation visible in your ecosystem.
  • Lastly, there is what I would entitle best practice articles. These are the ones in which experts are going to define and describe, for instance, the 10 Golden rules for doing this or the other, the five most common traps which you should avoid etc. They might not be the most profound of articles, but they will work wonders since online visitors are keen to find them on the Internet. This kind of article is also going to bring returning visitors, and track-backs (i.e. Other blogs linking to yours).

Last but not least, it must be added that a good corporate blog should comprise a mixture of these classes of posts. The blog in which you will have only lists of resources, or reference articles, or even best practice articles could not be very successful in the long-term.

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