Most corporate blogs are a mess. No, not some of them. Most of them.
More often than not, there’s someone in the marketing department who knows what’s wrong and is working to fix the problem. Other times, however, I’ll stumble across a complete and utter dumpster fire of a corporate blog. In these cases, it’s clear that the administrator, who I’m sure is a well-meaning, industrious individual, knows very little about what he or she is doing.
If you think this may be you, here are the first few steps toward turning things around:
1. Write better headlines.
Headlines should be captivating, arresting, and compelling. Not drab, trite, and devoid of pizzazz.
Put some thought into your headlines. Let’s say you’re writing about why natural pest control methods can be just as effective as using chemicals. Which of the following makes a better headline?
- “Natural Pest Control is Better,” or
- “Who Else Wants a Pest-Free Home Without Using Chemicals?”
If it’s not crystal clear which headline will bring more readers to your blog article, it might be time to hire a consultant. Or a writer.
2. Write more often.
Haven’t published a post in over two months? Six months? A year?
Then your blog looks abandoned, which it is, and is probably doing more harm than good hanging out on your Website. If you’re not prepared to add a new post right away, remove the blog from view (yeah, seriously) until you can rustle up some fresh content and work consistently from an editorial calendar.
Otherwise you just look hapless and unprofessional.
3. Write less.
How long are your posts? Most company blogs should aim for 300-600 words. Word count always depends on your audience, of course, but anyone who routinely publishes posts of 800+ words should seriously consider cutting back – especially if the verbosity isn’t gaining any traction.
4. Format articles for the Web.
This one’s a big peeve for me. You see, blogs are on the Internet. They’re not books or magazines. People who read them are looking for a quick answer to a question, not an exposé of some kind.
So format them properly. What does that mean? Simply put, your posts need to be scannable.
Break them up into very short paragraphs. Include subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists wherever possible. This makes it easier for readers to scan through your post – which is what pretty much all of them do, by the way – and find the information they’re looking for.
It’s even okay to use single-line paragraphs sometimes. Or one-word paragraphs.
5. Don’t make a pitch.
Stop trying to sell things with your blog. If the only time you post an article is when you’re pushing a new product or service, you’re doing it wrong. The blog is for helping people solve problems.
That’s it. Really. All the cliches like “building trust,” “nurturing a digital community,” and “becoming a thought leader” are achieved by helping readers with something. The most successful corporate blogs are always the ones that deliver knowledge readers can use. Just showing off what you know doesn’t build readership. Neither does making a sales pitch.
What does build readership is being helpful.
So don’t think of blog posts as an opportunity to peddle your wares. The corporate blog is a tool, and you should use it as part of a very specific, integrated marketing strategy.
Otherwise, it’s completely useless.