Every so often the blogosphere works itself up into a tizzy: Blogging is dead! Corporate blogging? Pushing up co-branded daisies!
So it was refreshing to discover Arik Hanson’s recent post, “What do the best corporate blogs do well?” The post deconstructs some major corporate blogs: Boeing, Google, Target, IBM, and Whole Foods. In it he shows that blogs, especially corporate blogs, are alive and well and pulsing with creativity.
Hanson writes of this list:
By now, we’ve all heard about the Southwest Airlines and Starbucks blogs of the world. But, what about other larger companies? Those we might not hear about as often — but those [that] continue to blog month after month. And do so with what appears to be some success (I say ‘appears’ because we can never know for sure how these companies are measuring success with their blogs). [emphasis added]
Amen, Hanson. Success metrics vary considerably but rewards go to those corporations who do it regularly, even daily.
Great Corporate Blogs Include…
Some of the tactics that Hanson highlights that bring these corporate blogs to the forefront include:
- Personal voice, ranging from the CEO to the average employee
- Views/perspectives “from the road” (or anywhere else the average customer cannot go)
- Intermixing post styles
- Creating stakeholder-specific posts
- Attention to visual communication — including illustration, photography, video, and infographics
- Organizational “breaking news”
- A tool to showcase new products
- A place to leverage the power of celebrity
- A place to answer questions and solve customer problems
- A content blend of tips, ideas, and entertainment
Most brands can use an assortment of tactics to reach their target audience.
One approach Hanson didn’t mention specifically is industry news coverage. Industry news is especially compelling for B2B businesses, for example. It’s one piece of our Newsblogging process.
If you’re looking for additional inspiration here is a round-up of 40 well-known corporate blogs and a little about each one.
So, again, why aren’t corporate blogs going the way of buggy wheel manufacturers and passenger pigeons?
J-P De Clerck gives dozens of reasons why corporate blogs still matter in B2B marketing in a post sharing the same title at the blog Content Marketing Experience. First and foremost he points to context:
Every day I’m surprised to see how many businesses are still blogging ‘the wrong way.’ […] I’m surprised to see how many businesses are blogging […] without taking into account the broader context. It’s traditional PR in a new package: corporate blogs as a way to shout how great they are.
De Clerck goes on to point out a corporate blog functioning only in a PR capacity limits the ability to reach and emotionally move customers.
He points to the social media advantage of a corporate blog. De Clerck maintains that a socially-oriented corporate blog is optimal to reach the “B2B social buyer,” as opposed to “traditional B2B buyers.” He defines the former as a prospect who is: “connected, social-savvy and somewhat comparable to the ‘connected consumer.'”
Making good on the post’s title of a dozen reasons why corporate blogs still matter, he closes with a list of reasons why every business should have a blog. My favorites? “Human and relational branding power” and “Leadership, credibility, and trust.” These blogging benefits never die.
Katie McCaskey is SixEstate’s content director. She tests real-world application of content marketing techniques using the cafe she co-owns as a laboratory. She was Tech Editor of Chief Content Officer, 2010-2011, and contributes to the Content Marketing Institute. Connect with her on Google+ or @KatieMcCaskey.