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By B.L. Ochman
corporateBlog.pngDoes the world really need yet another corporate blog? Is it worth investing the time, money and effort into building and sustaining a corporate blog? Will anyone actually read your corporate blog? And will you make any money because of it? Yes, but…
If you truly want to share your company’s intellectual ability and engage with customers, there’s still no better medium than a corporate blog – IF you follow these guidelines:

1. Think long-term
Think about staying top of mind in the long term. A blog is not an instant solution to a marketing problem.
Let’s say that people now come to your website to buy your products somewhere between two and four times a year.
A blog that is interesting, interactive, well-designed and professionally written can create daily readers who will have your company top of mind every day.
2. Create engaging content
When people do get to your blog, you need to be talking about what people want to hear, not just what you want to tell them. Simple as that sounds, heavy-handed selling or, worse yet, bland “don’t offend anyone” writing are the major reasons that nobody reads most corporate blogs.
3. Make the blog look good
The vast majority of corporate blogs lack a compelling graphic identity. They’re bland looking and they have bland content.
They have tiny pictures or they rely on cheesy clip art. Or, worse yet, they’re all type. There’s no excuse for that when there are sites like iStockphoto with images for as little as $1.
4. Invest in good writing
Most people would rather have root canal than write several blog posts a day. And most people don’t have the skill, talent, experience, or training to write well on a constant basis.
5. Keep the blog writing in-house.
If you don’t have staff members who want to write for your blog on a regular basis, and who will enjoy researching, writing, editing and interacting with readers, don’t start a corporate blog.
The easy answer is to have a professional writer or editor on your corporate blog. If that means you need to hire a social media manager, do it.
6. Keep posts short
Posts that are more than 300 words are unlikely to be read – unless they consist of short sentences and paragraphs; bulleted points; subheads and plenty of white space. Who has time to read 1000-word+ posts on your blog?
if you need more than 300 words in a blog post you probably should split it into a series of posts.
7. Love your readers
– Give link love to people who comment on your blog by linking to their websites and blogs, following them on Twitter
– Try to surprise and delight your readers
– Give readers the opportunity to create content. People love to send stories and photos and videos to blogs they like. Incentiveize them.
Promote your blog
No matter how great your blog, you’ll need to drive traffic to it. That means including a link in the navigation of your homepage, Facebook page, Twitter bio, LinkedIn profile.
Include the url on all letterhead, business cards, advertising and promotional material.
Blog readers are there by choice. You can’t force anyone to read a blog.
The bottom line
Is all this going to be cheap? No! A good corporate blog costs money and time. Time to write, promote and most of all, time to build an audience over time.
Blogging Don’ts
– expect instant results. Building a reputation for blogging has a cumulative effect based on continuously producing content people will want to read, not just what you want to tell them
– try to blatantly sell products
– try to create a blog without a budget. Blog design needs to align with your corporate identity and needs to have features that make it easy to read, comment on, and share.
ABOVE ALL: Do not think of a blog as a substitute for an integrated marketing campaign
Cartoon: Hugh Macleod