5 Tips for Setting Up a Corporate Blog
A guide to effective blogging in the corporate environment
The web is full of guides to setting up a blog, primarily because bloggers eventually run out of things to talk about and decide to talk about themselves instead.
With this said, a resource on how to set up a blog is probably the last thing the internet needs and if you want a more general article on personal blogging, you’ll be better served going elsewhere as I’m not going to talk about how to install blogging software, nor will I offer tips on how to write articles or generate content. Instead, I’d like to share some experience and offer some advice on how to blog for your company.
Tip 0: The benefits of blogging
Before going any further, it is worth stressing that a company blog is not the same as a personal blog, so before launching into this, here are a few reasons why you should run a blog for your business:
- Increased publicity: Your company blog gives you a platform to disseminate an opinion on your industry. The press might even start coming to you for opinions and in general, it gives your name a higher profile, so long as you don’t say anything too outrageous. Actually, if you’re feeling really cynical, you could argue that saying something outrageous does actually give you a higher profile, although I do contend the notion that any publicity is good publicity.
- Search engine optimisation: The three little letters that dictate large swathes of the internet these days, SEO is a manner in which you try and raise the profile of your site with search engines and climb the rankings for various key words without really letting on that you’re trying to do so. Blogging can be a key step to improving this for your site and can lead to a higher position in search results. This of course theoretically means more traffic to your site which in turn will result in more customers, so long as everything is working for visitors when they get to your site.
- Fun: Running a blog can not only be satisfying, but it can actually be fun, and there isn’t enough fun in the business world. Updating a blog can be a welcome distraction from your day to day responsibilities whilst still providing a net benefit to your company. Plus, even if you are operating in a relatively dry industry, you might still find you can occasionally write daft things like how you could insure Father Christmas.
Tip 1: Get to the core of your company
If you are starting to blog on behalf of your company, then your first step is to boil down what you do to its core and get to what makes it interesting. To use our own blog at YOUR Insurance as an example, we primarily sell public liability insurance for small businesses. Therefore, our relevant topics are going to be business insurance and general small business related issues.
If we ran our blog purely about business insurance, we would be helping our customers out a little, but I suspect no one would read our content because insurance issues are to be frank a little dry to people inside the industry, let alone outsiders. When taking in the bigger picture and relating our company to the broader small business community however, there is a wealth of information and interest there and it still reflects the core of what we do, especially if we can put an insurance-related angle to it.
Having only set our blog up a few months ago, we have a small but dedicated readership and we get a reassuring level of positive feedback thanking us for our mix of insurance and business related articles. It doesn’t matter what your company does, you will be able to find something to blog about that is still relevant to what you do and interesting to the wider community that you serve.
Tip 2: Don’t panic if it isn’t perfect
Browsing around advice articles on how to blog, you quickly become aware of some of the best platforms and practises there are out there but due to technical limitations or circumstances, you won’t always be able to stick to this. You might not be able to use the platform you want due to a server issue or you might be limited on the sort of content that you can host.
There are lots of things that I wanted to do differently when setting up the YOUR Insurance blog, but had I held out for these, I’d still be waiting and wouldn’t have anything running yet. Don’t make excuses to put off setting up a corporate blog if it is something you want to do and if things aren’t perfect yet. There definitely comes a point when working things out over time is better than trying to do everything at once.
Tip 3: Don’t be shy, be social
If you’re setting up a blog, set up a social media presence as well. This doesn’t mean you have to open up an account with all the FaceSpaces and TwitBooks in existence, but find at least one that you feel is a good fit for your company.
I would personally recommend Twitter and LinkedIn to support corporate blogging based on our own experience and would be weary of Facebook largely from personal experience, although this will all depend very much on the sort of business you run. If you have a very design heavy company, you might find Pinterest useful for example.
Social media can help you find other people working in a similar field to you or interested clients and customers who might appreciate the articles you are producing. Although operating on these platforms should be treated as a two way conversation, it equally works as a fantastic broadcast platform to spread your message just a little bit further and give your blog more of a chance to be shared around by those who enjoy it.
Tip 4: Regular updates are not daily updates
If you commit to updating daily, you will burn out rapidly. There are conflicting opinions about committing to a regular update schedule and the notion that if you have nothing to say you probably shouldn’t say anything. I probably lean slightly more towards the latter, but a balance between the two is undeniably important.
Updating once or twice a week is ideal and you can always update more from time to time if you feel the need to, or have something particularly interesting or timely to comment on. You don’t want this to take up all of your time if you have a company to run with other, frankly more important things to do.
Tip 5: Try to enjoy it
A good hint that your readers might not enjoy your content is if you haven’t enjoyed producing it. I’ve rather enjoyed writing this piece, which means there’s a good chance that someone out there reading it is enjoying it too. It might not be you, but it’s bound to be someone. Hopefully.
Write about what you enjoy from time to time and mix it in with the business focused stuff. If that happens to be the industry that you work in then that’s ideal, but if you have another true passion, bring some relevant insights from that over an apply it to your company. Obviously, don’t go too far off topic, but I’m always interested when I read an article and the author has brought other interests in to illustrate a point, or has even just displayed a little personality in their writing.
Corporate blogging can yield great rewards both from a business point of view and from a personal point of view. If you’re at all on the fence about it, then give it a go and see if it works.
No one is going to come after you if your blog fails or if you decide it’s not for you, but you might just find it is an ideal fit for your company. The best piece of advice I can offer is to go forth and make enough mistakes to the point that you’re in a position to write a post a bit like this one.
Written by David Hing for YOUR Insurance, a broker specialising in public liability insurance for small and medium-sized enterprises. We have a blog that talks about business, insurance and anything else remotely related to the two.