Since that time, blogging has evolved from tell-all diaries to income for content marketers to public relations vehicles for large corporations. Today, anybody who has a business and many who don’t maintain a blog. Blogging has become an important driver of both communication and sales.
The good news for small business owners is that blogging is relatively inexpensive compared to traditional forms of advertising. The not-so-good news is that, with so many voices out there, how can you get yours heard?
I took a look at some of the best, well-known corporate blogs around and found that they had five things in common.
1. They Talk About More than Their Products
Southwest Airlines’ blog is the best example of variety. In one day, there’s a post about environmentally friendly Christmas wrap and another about weather patterns around the country. Southwest Airlines invites Internet time-wasters to their site for oodles of feel-good distractions.
2. They Post Information Their Readers Want
Manpower creates posts centered on careers. On their blog, you’ll find posts explaining nonverbal interviewing skills, post-interview thank-you notes, and interview kits. Manpower has identified the group that makes their business a success: ambitious, talented, career-driven people. And they created a blog that caters to them.
3. They Get Real
A surprising number of corporate blogs have a face behind the posts. Marriott is the most impressive example. J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., the Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, authors each and every post. You just can’t resist the compelling combination: a high-brow executive writing features about an immigrant housekeeper and singing the praises of a big-hearted priest. And Marriott’s photo? You want to call him “Grandpa” and bring him a piece of pumpkin pie. It’s social marketing gold.
4. They Engage Readers
Starbucks’ blog is written almost entirely by readers. Customers come to the blog to make suggestions or post complaints. Other readers rate the posts to move them up or down the popularity ladder. A section of the blog is devoted to “Ideas in Action” where Starbucks’ ambassadors (again notice the personable photos with every post) relate how suggestions are being implemented.
5. They Feature Content on Charitable Causes and Human Interest
Nearly every corporate blog I visited had posts relating to charitable causes. Starbucks talks about its contributions to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. Whole Foods features posts about its launch of the “Do Something Reel™ Film Festival” to promote films that seek to make a positive difference. Southwest Airlines’ has posts honoring the veterans in the lives of their employees.
These successful blogs used all the techniques above to engage their readers. But their strategy comes down to one thing: make readers feel good. Whether its heart-warming stories of firemen heroics or practical resume advice, the blogs make readers feel better about themselves or the world. They’re the kind of posts people flock to in moments of frustration or boredom.