Blogging is one of the most powerful ways to engage with customers and keep your business present in their everyday life. It also establishes a steady voice for your brand. Like every other form of business promotion, blogging takes time, planning and expertise. This means knowing what content to share and how to present it in a way that people can relate to. When you accomplish this, you can connect with your target customers and make the largest impact. (more…)
Most business owners now understand the importance of blogging in terms of raising the profile of their business, both online and in their local community. But even those who were early adopters of blogging as part of their marketing strategy for their business don’t always think of the following three benefits:
1. Ward off competition
It’s true: Blogging can help your business stave off a competitor. Let’s say you run a small consulting firm specializing in helping companies save money on their telecommunications bill. If you’re doing it well, your blog is full of stories of satisfied customers and tips that make it clear that you’re the expert in a particular niche. Why would a potential competitor want to have to try to prove that she is more awesome than you when you’ve already cornered that market?
2. Attract investors
In the same vein, having this record of your thoughts and experiences can also lead to someone saying, “That company has a great business model and is led by a fabulous person. I’d like to meet with them and see if I can be part of their future success.” And once you sit down with this potential investor, they already feel as though they know you, your dreams and your company’s raison d’être.
3. Organize your own thoughts (and get feedback!)
Kind of like keeping a journal, a business blog helps you keep track of ideas that you’re considering for your company. Better yet, they’re ideas that your audience can weigh in on. Say you run a small chain of coffee houses in a tri-state area and you hit upon an idea: What if your stores hosted an open mike night or a poetry slam? By blogging about it, you can both record your idea and gauge potential interest in these events. Maybe your readers aren’t that interested in either idea, but they would like to see you make room for a mother/daughter tea event. There’s extra revenue, just like that.
We know what you’re thinking: “Man, I have GOT to get on this blogging thing, even though I have no time!” Don’t worry… we can help you out. We work closely with our clients to go beyond informative blog writing — we study your industry, learn its acronyms, talk about your dreams. In short, we capture your voice.
So when it’s time to finally start that blog, or turn your existing one over to a professional who can be sure it gets updated more than once a quarter, give us a call at (800) 299-5498 or shoot us an email at hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com. We’ll have your blog working for you in no time!
Blogging for business is one terrific way to stand out from the pack, especially when your company is in an ultra-competitive industry. Blogs can help give your brand a digital edge in a crowded marketplace. And no industry is more crowded and competitive than cosmetics. The business of being pretty can get downright ugly, and the ones rising to the top are the ones using digital marketing to its fullest. LUSH cosmetics is one company rocking blog marketing to help stay on the radar of ever-fickle makeup devotees.
Launched in the 1990s in the United Kingdom, LUSH is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Mark and Mo Constantine. Since then, the company, known for its great-smelling products with all-natural ingredients, has become a major contender in the worldwide cosmetics market. But having a unique products and original take on cosmetics isn’t enough. LUSH has had to employ unique marketing techniques in order to remain a memorable and powerful force in its field. The LUSH cosmetics blog is part company newsletter, part beauty magazine and all LUSH.
The company keeps its products and philosophies on the front burner while blogging. LUSH achieves balance in blogging by maintaining an upbeat attitude throughout its posts. Beloved employees are celebrated with the same enthusiasm that new products are blogged about. Other recent posts include a behind-the-scenes look at how the brand creates perfumes, a profile of animal activist Jane Goodall and DIY recipes for Earth-friendly cleaners. Since LUSH’s products are different and environmentally-conscious, the copy in all of the posts celebrates the brand’s uniqueness.
Another smart move on LUSH’s part is having a toolbar which directs blog readers to easy access to Internet shopping for all their favorite products. LUSH is one of the most clever brands on social media, so it brilliantly makes access to its Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages incredibly easy from the blog.
Yet one of the greatest things the LUSH blog does is blog all of the time. Blogging with regularity is the only way to make it work, and clearly the brand has figured this out. Posting new blogs several times a week is a simple trick companies of any size can do to help them stand out from the pack.
It’s a common tragedy. You’ve been cooking right along with an amazing and inspired blogging-for-business campaign. Your company’s blog thus far has been filled with inspired ideas, informative posts and really dynamic content. And then just like that, you’re dried up and run out of ideas. Call it blogger’s block or creative brain freeze but whatever you call it, the sudden inability to write blog posts is definitely a downer. The automatic impulse when we’ve run out of creative steam is to just stop and hope we’re struck magically with great ideas. But when it comes to blog writing, quitting is the worst possible thing you can do when you’re stuck.
Greater minds than ours have pondered for ages about the curse of writer’s block and how to move past it. But when it comes to blogging, we’ve certainly had plenty of experience getting stuck and powering through it anyway. Blogs, especially branded ones, should really be published several times a week in order to be effective. And this is fantastic news if you’re wrestling with writer’s block. No, really! Using blogging’s tight deadlines and never-ending schedule of new content as a motivator is a sure-fire way to squish stuckness. Short posts with pictures, reblogged posts from blogging idols and contemporaries and posts with videos instead of text are all terrific blogging solutions to help push through it. By continuing blogging, even when it’s hard, you and your company are working toward something instead of just surrendering. If you can just write through the tough, uncreative, blah times, you are sure to find that your blog will be all the better for it.
Quitting or swearing off blogging every time we run out of ideas or feel uninspired isn’t really a solution, anyway. In order for our blogging campaigns to remain effective and powerful, we have to continue to produce content. Sounds hard, huh? It doesn’t have to be. Besides, we’re here to help.
Some of the best examples of blogging for business come from social media sites. Popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn use blogging to say what a million status updates and tweets could never say: more. Blogging is still the fastest and most comprehensive way to express daily the recent happenings and goings-on at your business. For example, Goodreads.com, the booklover’s social media paradise, uses its blog to keep members in the loop of all the nifty booktacular things happening on the site.
Part Facebook, part neighborhood bookstore, Goodreads users are passionate about reading, books and their favorite authors. On the site’s message boards, discussion threads and reviews users get in hot and heavy conversations about what they’re reading. Recently, the site made headlines when it was purchased by Amazon. Naysayers worry that Amazon’s corporate bent will put a damper on Goodreads open and lively discussion. Judging by the company’s blogging efforts however its hard to notice the regime change just yet. Infographics on Shakespeare, famous authors playing along in a short story game, and announcements of video chats with bestselling writers are the kind of posts Goodreads fills its blog with. The blog wisely stays on the topics of books and reading and invites users to weigh in and sound off. Letting Goodreads’ members in on the discussion is brilliant and very on brand as the sites users are famously opinionated.
But you don’t have to run a popular social media site to get folks talking. Opening the door for comments and conversations from your blog’s readers is a terrific idea any of us can do. By composing posts that ask for readers thoughts and ideas you’re not only getting your consumers thoughts but helping your blog post go viral by inviting comments. Provocative questions, opinion polls on new products and interactive trivia games using photos are just a few ways to get the comment love flowing. After all, your company is chatty and interesting in real-life so why can’t your blog be the same?
Some of the most powerful companies in the world use blogging for business to reach out to new customers, communicate with employees and help create powerful web content. And every Monday, we profile one of these bigwigs in hopes of inspiring you to start an amazing blog marketing campaign of your very own. This week, we look at how outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia elevates blogging into something pretty amazing.
The byline at Patagonia’s blog simply reads, “The Cleanest Line: Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia.” Yet this company blog is more than a corporate newsletter or boring product pitch disguised as a blog. The Cleanest Line transforms our old ideas about corporate blogs by creating an online magazine that reads more like NPR or GOOD then a commercial for hiking boots. Journalistic in style, the writing at The Cleanest Line is high-quality, interesting stuff. By blogging about the things that are important to them — like mountain climbing, responsible clothing manufacturing practices, independent documentaries and environmental causes — Patagonia tells us more about itself as a brand in a few posts than a billion press releases ever could. While the blog does feature images, clearly the point here is to read and get Patagonia’s message.
In addition, the simple design and layout make it easy to kick back and read several posts. Again, this is surely intentional. The Cleanest Line is company blogging built on a brand’s message and philosophy and, best of all, it’s actually interesting to read and enjoy.
Marketing magazines and SEO blogs have long shouted the praises of The Cleanest Line and Patagonia’s blog creation innovations. We can easily see why. What Patagonia does so brilliantly is use its blog to provide a company narrative. This smart move is something all of us can use blogging for. Try not to think of daily entries as “Ugh! Another blog post!” but as more opportunities to using blogging to spread your ideas and beliefs. Let The Cleanest Line inspire you to take blogging to new heights.
As blog writing and content marketing gurus, we are quick to dish out expert advice when folks ask about launching blogging-for-business campaigns. Not to toot our own horn, but having launched corporate blogs for a diverse and large group of clients, we feel qualified to talk about such matters. Nevertheless, it’s always a wise idea to get tips from other blogging and content professionals. With that in mind, here are four of our favorite blogging tips from around the web.
Length Matters: Abidemi Sanusi wrote a terrific column yesterday for The Guardian about business blogging, and the best piece of advice featured in the article was about length. Sanusi recommends keeping posts short and we agree. “As a guide, a blog post should be about 400 words. If your post is longer than this, think about serializing it. People tend to scan web content, so make every word count,” he writes.
Remember Your Audience: Knowing who you’re blogging for is key before you get started. Or, as Elizabeth Saunders told Mashable awhile back, “Your blog content should appeal first and foremost to your customers and potential customers. Think about what they would want to read and form your content around meeting their needs in a unique way. To increase readership, you can include links to these articles in your company email newsletter.”
Get the Picture: Images, photos and videos make for blogging gold, and several posts a week should be rich in these things. “I highly suggest all posts have some kind of graphic,” writes Jacqueline Wolven. Wolven says “go crazy” when it comes to blog images, just play by the rules. “A note about photos and images — PLEASE use your own when possible or give credit when you are using someones and a link to their site.”
Spit it Up and then Clean it Up: Nothing slows down the flow of creativity and great blogging than the endless (and mostly ridiculous) pursuit of perfection. Getting the words and ideas down first is paramount. You can always fix the boo-boos, bad spelling and weird sentences later. “When you try to edit as you are writing the post, it can stifle creativity and take longer to produce. Get everything written and then go back to make the necessary modifications after you are finished,” writes Matthew Brennan for B2C.com.
Those are some of our favorite blog creation tips. Readers, now it’s your turn to tell us some of yours!
“Content! It needs more content!” is something we blogging-for-business experts seem to bark endlessly. We preach this message primarily because we’ve seen first hand how brands can transform their web presence by creating lots of dynamic blog posts. The more content, the better, right? Sort of. Blogs with spammy, uninteresting posts and websites with tons of poorly-written content aren’t doing brands any favors. Then again, neither are the brilliantly-written but never updated blogs we see out there. So we wondered if, once and for all, we could answer the burning question: When it comes to blogging, what wins — quality or quantity?
In a perfect world, the search engine super solution consists of blogs that have lots of great-written posts. Super blogs like Huffington Posts and Mashable have seemingly unlocked this formula. Consistently ranking in the top five most-read blogs on the planet, these two powerhouses are highly read — but that doesn’t mean every story is a winner. Recent headlines tracking celebrity sideboob and online cat videos prove that even the big dudes have bouts of lameness. But what keeps these mega-blogs on top is the never-ending output of new posts. After all, the No. 1 killer of company blogs, hands down, is the inability to keep up with new content production. So it’s better to have lots of something than tons of nothing and therefore quantity wins, yes? By default, sure.
But don’t count quality out entirely. We are in no way giving you a hall pass to create tons of crappy blog posts. Quite the opposite. Brands that want their blogs to be taken seriously have to do both — produce lots of content which is also interesting to read. The quality of your content — whether it be on social media accounts, your product descriptions or your blog — should be a top priority. You are, after all, using digital marketing to introduce consumers to your company and therefore want the impression to be nothing short of awesome.