Customers and prospective customers approach you and your team every week with questions about what you do in your business. Business blogging is a way to turn those FAQs into informational articles (weekly blog posts) that can be read, shared and used to highlight your expertise in a particular subject area.
Who is the best person to sign these blog posts?
Before you answer that question, there are many other details you must put in place. In fact, in my list of the 10 steps for success when you’re starting a company blog, you’re already at the ninth step when you’re looking at who will do what.
Even as you’re going through your initial planning steps it will be helpful to start forming a picture of the overall voice and positioning of your blog.
Option One: Leadership voice
This is a blog or blog post penned by the CEO and/or leadership team of your company. Company leaders who blog show that they want to connect personally with their employees, customers and prospective customers.
According to a study by BRANDfog, it works! 78% of respondents would prefer to work for a company whose leadership is active on social media, and 82% of respondents said they were likely or much more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team engage in social media.
Rather than answering how-to questions, company leaders typically take a higher level view of their company and industry, sharing a glimpse of the thought leadership behind their success. One example is George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research, who is one of many Forrester bloggers.
Option Two: Multiple voices
The CEO of Royal Caribbean has a blog that features other team members, and not just from the leadership team. One way to improve on a blog like this is to be consistent with how you display the guest author byline (for people who may only contribute once or twice), or link to their user profile (for people who will be posting regularly).
Depending on your blogging software and the add-ons you choose (in WordPress these are called “plugins”), you can create a page for each blog author, including a photo, brief bio, and links to their posts. (Here is an example of my author page at SteamFeed.)
The U.S. grocery chain Wegmans does a wonderful job of presenting their blog’s multiple voices. While they don’t have individual bio pages for each author, their Our Authors page beautifully demonstrates how Wegmans pulls together their larger community of those involved with delivering their products to the consumer. (A link to each contributor does bring up a list of that person’s blog posts.)
Bonus tip: Your blog’s search engine rankings can improve dramatically if your blog authors set up a Google+ profile and claim “authorship” via Google. (Here are more details about Google Authorship.)
Ultimately, people like to connect with and buy from other people, rather than companies. So give all your company bloggers a voice, face, and profile that helps build a community between them and your readers.
Option Three: Company voice
Some of my ghostblogging clients don’t want to be thought leaders, and that’s okay. You don’t need to be a “blogger” or a thought leader in order to use business blogging as an effective marketing strategy, and not every company blog or blog post needs to have an individual voice.
Similar to the text on your static website pages, a blog can simply present information on behalf of the company, with no one designated as the blog post author.
Techie tip: Ask your IT team or website developer to display the blog post author as something like, “Customer Service Team” or “[Company Name] Team,” rather than the default “admin” byline moniker. “Posted by admin” is a sure sign that you didn’t put much thought or effort into setting up your blog.
Even if you take this approach, you can still invite comments and have a dialogue with your readers (just don’t expect too many blog comments too soon). In the comments section, have team members sign their responses, similar to what many companies do on Twitter to individually sign their tweets (there’s less room on Twitter so usually initials are used, e.g., ^RH).
When deciding who will sign your company blog posts, you don’t need to restrict yourself to one of these three options. Your business can have different categories, or even multiple blogs, for a variety of voices and approaches to blogging.