Blogging for business: you're doing it wrong

We Kiwis love Facebook and consequently, there’s no shortage of brands jostling for our attention on there (Edgerank changes be damned).

Blogging, on the other hand, isn’t something a whole lot of New Zealand companies seem to have gotten the hang of. Vend and Xero are two that regularly maintain their blogs, and do a pretty bang up job all round, but they’re very much the exception rather than the norm.

The two common pitfalls seem to be:

a) a drop off in consistency (you mean well, start strong, then taper off and eventually more or less give up – but if you’re going to blog, you’ve got to commit to posting regularly, whether it’s twice a week or twice a month)

b) blogs that just straight up stink. Blogs are not a vehicle for self-promotion alone, and if that’s how you treat yours, it’s never going to take off.  If your posts consist of a measly three or four paragraphs and always end with a sales pitch, you’re doing it wrong. Ask yourself – would I want to read this, as an outsider?

Sure, use your company blog to talk about yourself. Share company news and insights behind the curtain, case studies, FAQs, posts showing your product in action. Offer sneak previews and special offers. But look beyond that and think more like a publisher. Spotlight customers. Interview experts. Comment on relevant current affairs, industry news and events. Post how-tos and top tips.

Think useful content that can stand alone, even away from the blog.

So why bother?

It puts a human face to your brand

You might have paid big bucks for an agency to craft your brand identity, but punters don’t relate to logos – they relate to other human beings. Social media is your best shot at giving your company a personality. Blogging smart, witty takes on industry issues or amusing behind-the-scenes stuff is infinitely more memorable (and valuable) than an RSS feed of copied-and-pasted press releases – and it leaves control of your message squarely in your hands.

It boosts SEO

Want to boost traffic to your static site? Search engines lap up fresh content, and blogging about relevant content brings in relevant traffic. If you’re writing and promoting posts of value, that’s the first step toward establishing a regular audience that will read, comment, share and come back for more. And thus, the great SEO circle of life continues.

It can lead to more

As well as qualified leads, that could mean attracting potential collaborators, mentors, investors or other useful connections. The savvy/lucky might get on media radar as an industry source or parlay this into speaking/writing gigs. (But please, if you’re going to pitch a thought leadership piece for publication, read this first.)