A company blog can accomplish several goals at once: Establishing your corporate identity or brand, marketing your products, or providing customer service for common problems and solutions.
But too many company blogs fail to get read or to attract regular readers, because they make a few mistakes that can be corrected with a small effort or a simple focus.
1. Your Blog is Too Hard to Find
Pull the latest blog post — or three — onto your company’s home page. A single link that says Blog atop the site won’t get clicked. You need to lure visitors into reading, just as newspapers and magazines do. Also, don’t spawn multiple blogs until you’re as big as Google. Put everything into one feed. Readers will choose what appeals to them.
Make your posts easy to share, too, by putting buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, other social networks, and email on each post. Emailed articles get a lot of clicks, because they’re person-to-person recommendations.
2. Your Blog is Too Hard to Read
Too many links and promotional images on posts have proven in tests to distract readers from finishing a post, or remembering it well. On company blogs, other stakeholders often press to have links to the rest of the site included in the blog template. Take a hint from the official Google blog. Despite all the links Google could add there, it’s kept it stripped down and focused on the blog posts.
3. You Don’t Post Regularly
This is the hardest one, yet not too hard once you get used to it: Post something every day before noon. That gets customers and fans into the habit of checking back regularly, as well as building up a hefty body of content quickly that will be found via search and links. Many companies try to get key employees to blog personally, but it’s hard for them to keep up after an initial burst. Put someone in marketing communications or PR on the job of getting a post out every day.
4. Your Posts Are Too Long
A blog post can be as little as 150 words. Most readers won’t hang in past 500 to 700 words. If you have more to say, make it a multi-part post. Don’t waste your work with a single superpost that doesn’t get read to the end.
5. You Don’t Have New Information in Your Posts
No one needs another commentary on an industry trend. Find something specific to add about your company or its products. Cite stats from studies, or from analysts who follow your company or its sector. One new nugget of info per post will keep readers coming back. Company success milestones, such as a million customers, are good blog fodder, too.
6. Your Blog is Too Insidery
Avoid this: “Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that the licensing issues with ABM are controversial.”
Presume I’ve been hiding under a rock. Presume I don’t know what ABM is, or if I do, I’m clueless about the controversy. Explain it to me in one paragraph. If someone tells you that your post is lame because “everyone knows this already,” congratulations. You’ve hit the mark.
Journalism 101 dictates that just because you say something is “unique” doesn’t mean it is. Presume you’ve got a new reader and clearly explain what you’re talking about, within reason, of course.
7. Your Blog is About You, Not the Customer
Resist the urge to use the blog to show how smart you are. Instead, show how helpful you can be.
Explain how to get and use the product. Demystify complex issues for customers. Republish the snippets of help or documentation pages they most need to see. Acknowledge problems quickly, and provide workarounds or promises to fix them soon. Link to Web pages and videos made by customers. Cheerily answer the dumbest questions you get, and start your answer with, “That’s a good question.” It is.