Company blogs are now standard in every industry, from car manufacturers to cereal brands. However, not all company blogs were created equal – some businesses manage their online presence more successfully than others.
There are a number of sins in the corporate blogging world, including:
- Posting solely about your own products
- Using a blog primarily as a sales tool
- Failing to create dynamic content
- Neglecting a blog for months on end
- Blogging under an obviously false persona
- Failing to maintain the appearance of a blog
Company blogs have so much potential. Businesses can use these platforms for a range of purposes, from developing a reputation as an industry thought leader, to engaging with customers and building brand loyalty.
One of the most difficult aspects of running a good company blog is generating the right kind of content. Posts need to be consistently interesting and innovative, remaining on-brand without resorting to generic sales-speak.
Here are three top corporate blogs you can learn from.
One company which always strikes the right tone is Marriott International. Their blog, ‘Marriott on the Move’, is universally recognised as an excellent example of corporate blogging.
Written from the first-hand perspective of CEO Bill Marriott himself, the posts are a mix of his own insights on the hotel industry, tips for business success, celebrations of Marriott milestones, and his personal life.
Bill also uses the blog to share his insights on current affairs – in the aftermath of 2013’s Boston Marathon bombings, he posted a message of condolence and support to those who had been affected.
Marriott could never be accused of creating a false persona – Bill blogs from the heart, recently sharing his thoughts on his own heart attacks, and the tragic death of his son. This refreshing honesty is unusual in the world of corporate blogging, and has solidified the popularity of the blog.
Things to learn from the Marriott blog:
- If you have expertise, share it. Bill has been a leading figure in the hotel industry for decades, and he has accumulated a wealth of business knowledge. Sharing your insights can drive traffic to your blog, and raise the profile of your brand.
- Be authentic. Bill’s personal revelations lend a human side to Marriott’s corporate identity. Personality is a vital ingredient for any company – it separates great companies from the rest.
The Virgin Group are marketing experts. Their social media accounts are always full of dynamic and interesting content, so it comes as no surprise that their company blogs show the same creative flair. Although all of Virgin’s blogs are excellent, the Virgin Atlantic blog is one of the best.
The Virgin brand as a whole is about experience – holiday upgrades become ‘Mojo Boosters’, and Virgin Galactic’s on board safety measures are the company’s ‘North Star’. The Virgin Atlantic blog follows this brand tone – visitors to the site can enjoy posts about extreme sports, fine dining, and the airline’s myriad destinations. They do also write about their own services and products, but these posts are in the minority.
Many airlines blog about the technical aspects of running an airline, offering information about plane models, flight paths, and new technology. However, this type of post only appeals to a small audience, and doesn’t make for a successful commercial blog. Virgin knows and understands their target audience intimately, and has put a ‘Virgin’ spin on a potentially dull industry.
Things to learn from the Virgin Atlantic blog:
Research your target readership thoroughly. Understand who your audience is, and what type of content they’ll enjoy reading – and, more importantly, which posts they’re likely to share on social media.
Find the story. Top bloggers find interesting angles, and approach stories in unusual and innovative ways. If your product or service isn’t exciting on its own, find a way of making it dynamic.
Instagram is one of the most successful technology startups of recent years. This popular social networking platform is highly visual, and the company’s blog reflects this – posts generally open with a collage of eye-catching images.
As a social network, Instagram’s entire business model depends on collaboration. The Instagram blog also follows this model, focusing heavily on user interaction. One such tactic involves the ‘Weekend Hashtag Project’, which invites Instagram users to upload and tag photos according to a theme. The Instagram staff choose their favourite images each week, and these are then showcased in a blog post.
Instagram also blogs about current affairs and global events, such as Mardi Gras and the Academy Awards. Generally the post will include information about the event, a selection of user-submitted photos, and an invitation to browse other pictures using a particular hashtag.
Things to learn from the Instagram blog:
- Engage with your readers. Interacting with your audience is one of the best ways to encourage social media shares – hashtags are one way of doing this, although you could also open a conversation in the comments section under each post.
- Blog about current affairs. Diversity is always appreciated by blog readers, and topical posts often tend to do well in terms of page visits.
The best company blogs are diverse, and post about a variety of topics and issues. Here are some ideas for dynamic blog posts:
React to current events and affairs. Have a calendar for the year, and take advantage of upcoming festivals and newsworthy events.
React to industry news with your own insights – this will hopefully gain you social shares and traffic from industry experts, and could end up establishing your company’s blog as a thought leader.
Answer customer questions. To identify some commonly-asked questions, consult your own customer queries, along with sites such as Quora and Reddit.
By following these tips, and studying the tactics and strategies of popular corporate blogs, you can blog your way to success.