3 Steps to A Breakthrough Corporate Blog


By Stanford Smith, Contributing {grow} Columnist

There’s a peculiar paradox in the social media world.

Take a look around and you will see creative individuals kicking butt and taking names.  They are writing amazing content, organizing humanitarian aide, even toppling autocratic regimes.

These pioneers are accomplishing extraordinary objectives with very little resources.  They don’t have a multi-million dollar war-chests or legions of eager staff at the ready.

All they have is passion and a mission.

So, here is the peculiar question.

Why aren’t Corporate Blogs leading the way?

After all the corporate titans do have a multi-million dollar war chests.  Corporate CEOs can enlist the best and brightest to tackle any problem.  Gargantuan PR departments can spread their message to every corner of the globe.

For the most part, the social mouthpieces of these giants, their blogs, represent the worst blogging best practices.

I suspect that  “traditional advertising” is to blame for a corporate blog’s dismal performance.

Traditional advertising prioritizes speed, packaging, and efficiency over passion, culture, and voice.  As a result, most blog becomes a hollow placeholder for the marketing department, saddled with big logos, promotional advertising, and the ubiquitous zero comments counter.

Corporate Blogs Must Do Better

The road to readable and usable blogs is actually shorter than corporate chieftains may think. In fact, almost any corporate blog can benefit by taking these 3 Key Steps:

Step #1: Tell Product Experience Stories

Storytelling will always be the best way to communicate. Customers and prospects are hungry for simple stories that show why a product or service matters to them.

Mom wants to hear about other mothers who are trying to get their kids to brush their teeth.   The IT manager wants to know how a backup storage product protected important data after a catastrophic flood.  The overworked and time starved husband will take notice of a short story about how other husbands used technology to never miss an anniversary or school play.

Smart companies will search through their testimonials and customer service feedback to create and post these stories.

Step #2: Practice Bar Stool Writing

Most corporate blogs sound like a college term paper.  The passive, four paragraph, diatribe that dominates corporate Word documents has no place on a blog.

Instead, try what I call, “Barstool writing”.

Think back to the last time you shared a drink with your best friend.  During that conversation, you probably recommended a movie, a book, or new dance club. I’m sure your recommendation was straight-forward, benefit-focused, and conversational.

Write your blog posts with the same approach.

Speak directly to the reader by imagining that you had to read your post to them at the bar around drinks.  Delete anything that sounds unnatural, forced, or “corporate”.

Do this and your blog will instantly exude a deeper level of authenticity and relevance.

Step #3: Feature Real People

People make blogs work.  Stock art, logos, campy illustrations, and fancy typography corrode the blog’s voice and saps its passion.

Whenever possible, use real faces to complement your posts.  Customers want to see the people behind the corporate curtain. This may be difficult in traditional marketing cultures, but it’s essential for an effective blog.

Think about:

  1. Take a photo of your customer-service department and using it to write a post about your top 10 customer-service win’s.  Remember – use real stories that emphasize your product’s benefits. You can expand this technique to other departments too.
  2. View company events as opportunities to share your culture with your customers.  Include pictures and video to show off your people.
  3. Get your vendor’s and strategic partners into the act.  Consider letting them guest post on your company blog and insist that they include a photo or video of their team.
  4. Don’t isolate your CEO.  Your CEO is the standard-bearer for your culture and represents your voice in the community.  Model your effort after Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, and encourage your CEO to write about your company’s values and vision.  Note: Seriously question having a blog, if your CEO isn’t willing to champion it.

What’s Standing In Your Way?

I’ve helped dozens of companies with their blogging efforts. Every one of them has expressed concern and outright fear about taking the mask off their corporate blog.  They are afraid that their customers would doubt their professionalism or quality.

In every situation, they were wrong.

Their sincerity, openness, and real-world authenticity separated them from their competitors.  Customers appreciated their no-spin approach.  Vendors and suppliers understood their brand on a deeper level.

In the end, their blog became a strategic asset for their business rather than a marketing eyesore.  This new way of approaching their customers seemed peculiar at first but delivered results.

It will do the same for you.

Do you agree?  What are the challenges you face with injecting life into your corporate blog?

Stanford Smith is a hopelessly addicted angler, father of 3 hellions, and the wild-eyed muse behind PushingSocial.com. Follow him on Twitter to get his latest unorthodox tips for getting your blog noticed and promoted.

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