5 tips for a better business blog

Don't let your company blog become like this -- worn out with tired references.

Don’t let your company blog become like this — worn out with tired references.

It’s probably the most neglected spot on any business’ website:  the company blog. No one has time to whip up 500 words on the work the firm has planned for the summer or provide insider tips for customers, so updates become few and far between. Yet if you are looking for ways to improve your company’s credibility with customers or stand out among competitors, it’s worth it to invest some time into blogging.

Take a look at your company blog, as it is today. Are most of the blog posts little more than a press release retread? A few pics from the company Christmas party — in 2012? It’s time to put more effort into your company’s blog. Here are a few easy steps you can take without a total behind-the-scenes redesign.

1. Always include photos

Think about the blogs and websites you enjoy reading. Likely what drew you in were the great pictures. I like Smitten Kitchen because it has lots of beautiful pictures of food, along with helpful photos showing different steps in the cooking process. Or take Fathom’s list of 24 Best Travel Blogs. All are exploding with eye-catching images that make your mouth water for a vacation far, far away. You don’t have to be an award-winning photographer, but you and your employees should train your eyes to look for great blog photos, and then take them. Set up a Dropbox account where phone pics can be stored so that everyone who posts to the company blog can access them.

2. Think like your customers

If your company provides a service, think of all the different Google searches your potential customers are doing in hopes of finding someone who does what you do. Try to write blog posts that show that potential customer your company is the answer to her prayers. This essentially how inbound marketing works

Take Skillings & Sons, Inc., a family-owned well drilling and water system company based in New Hampshire. Not the first company you’d think of when it comes to producing an interesting and readable blog. Marketing firm and inbound marketing specialists Means-of-Production (which hired me to work on content production), created one advice-driven blog post for Skillings & Sons each week, showcasing their wide range of services and staff’s expertise. After one year, Skillings & Sons saw their web traffic go up 233 percent and online sales leads up 20 percent.

3. Keep it under 600 words

Whether you are providing instructions on how to change an air filter or are expounding on the benefits of blogging (ahem!) your posts need not be more than 600 words. Not many people have the time to read more than that, even if they are engaged in the subject. 

4. Keep it light

Company blogs should be helpful to consumers, but also provide a window into your business culture. Do you allow people to bring pets to work? Snap a photo of Rex and post it on a slow Friday. Have you brought on a new hire? Post a welcome message, introducing him to your clients. The main focus of the blog should be pertinent to your business, but customers respond well when they see the faces of the people behind the company. Don’t be afraid to let them into the break room once in a while.

5. Keep it up

As someone who struggles to keep my own company blog current, I know it’s tough to produce the content needed for regular posts. But maintaining a schedule is important not only for your site’s SEO, it shows your company is consistent and credible, important attributes to highlight when trying to attract new customers. Of course, you can also hire a firm like BLH Writing Solutions for content production and designing post schedules that will keep your company blog regularly updated. 

For more information about blog content services, contact Beth at blh@gardnerstate.com.

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