These days, a corporate blog is on par with having business cards or a website: every company has one. Unfortunately, not all of them know what to do with it.
When used correctly, your company’s blog can be a powerful marketing tool, but the key is to offer regular, well-written content that provides real value to the readers. As marketing expert John Hall noted for Forbes, “the digital landscape is brimming with vacuous corporate blogs that offer nothing of value.”
An effective blog should be updated regularly, offer value-rich posts, and be free of grammar and spelling errors. Before launching a business blog, consider who will be responsible for writing it. There are, broadly speaking, three options: a c-suite executive, a company employee, or an outside freelancer.
If possible, having a C-suite executive contribute to the blog is a great way to make your corporation more accessible. Putting a face and a personality to the CEO instills trust in the consumer and allows them to get to know your brand on a personal level. “By offering a way to connect back to you directly, you give people a chance to get to know you better, get more information and value and choose to hire you,” advises Tom Searcy for Inc.
The downside is that blogging takes time and energy that may be better spent elsewhere. It requires a passion for communication and an enthusiasm for making connections with readers. Also—not to put too fine a point on it—sometimes the best leaders aren’t necessarily the best writers.
In larger companies, the marketing department will usually handle the brand’s social media presence, but depending on the size of your company, you may not have a dedicated marketing department. In a small or startup company, employees may already be wearing a number of different hats, so be conscientious in adding “blogger” to someone’s list of responsibilities. Just because your customer service rep majored in English doesn’t mean she has the skills to maintain an engaging blog. We’ve chronicled what happens when a corporate social media account goes rogue, so make sure that whoever you do choose for the job understands the appropriate tone for your blog. Misguided attempts at humor often lead to offended customers and the need for public apologies.
Hiring a freelancer as a “ghostblogger” can be a great solution for a corporate blog…or a disaster waiting to happen. Ghostbloggers generate content based on your suggestions or needs, written in your corporate voice. Like ghostwriters, they sign away their right to claim authorship in exchange for a fee. There are thousands of talented copywriters out there who are hungry for freelance work, but there are also a lot of inexperienced hacks. You can hire freelancers on sites like Elance, a freelance marketplace, or by posting the position on a job board such as the one on Problogger. As with any service, you get what you pay for. There are writers who will knock out a blog post for ten bucks, but the quality of their work won’t reflect well on your business. To build a successful partnership with a ghostwriter, offer a fair rate, clearly define the scope of the project, and make sure that both sides sign a detailed contract.
Who Is the Best Choice for You?
Every company’s needs, goals, and budget are different, and there’s no one-size-fits all plan for a successful blog. Consider your options carefully, and remember that you don’t have to pick just one person to shoulder responsibility for the blog. If multiple writers will be posting, it’s a good idea for a single person to review the articles before posting. No matter who is doing the posting, never scrimp on proofreading.
Who writes your corporate blog? Let us know in the comments!