Tom Johansmeyer discusses seven key steps to getting a corporate blogging initiative off the ground.
Companies that dismiss corporate blogging are doing themselves a disservice. The fact is there’s an abundance of untapped marketing and sales potential waiting for those willing to engage and inform their potential customers via a corporate blog, and while you put off what most companies have already accomplished, your customers are being lured in by the competition.
In this collection of videos, Tom Johansmeyer, Director of Marketing, Claims, and Crime Analytics at Verisk Insurance Solutions, gives you a step-by-step guide on the basics behind successfully launching a corporate blog.
Step 1: Setting the Right Corporate Blogging Objectives
Before jumping into any new initiative, it’s crucial to establish clearly defined goals and methods of measuring performance. In the case of blogging, while there are many metrics out there for tracking online performance, the only way for a company to determine which ones are truly important and applicable is to lay out its objectives for its blogging initiative first.
“When I started, I did it all wrong,” explains Johansmeyer. “I had my eye on traffic numbers…. The objectives should [be focused] outside of the blog more. Set more realistic targets. It shouldn’t be about bringing people to your site, it should be about bringing information to your sales force on what your target market is looking at.”
Step 2: Dealing with Executive Pushback and Internal Concerns
Executives assessing the risks associated with corporate blogging may express concerns over unchecked content creation. This is fairly common, explains Johansmeyer. A corporate blog is simply the evolution of employee communication; it’s typically its scale that seems scary to executives.
It’s important to understand the amount of control a blogger can have when forming your corporate blogging campaign. Yes, things can go south. But that doesn’t mean they will. Knowing what your company has to gain from a corporate blog in terms of a content marketing strategy and building rapport with customers is vital to dispelling corporate concerns. As long as you can adequately articulate the value of blogging as a tool your businesses needs to utilize to expand its online presence you should have no problem landing the executive buy-in you need.
Step 3: How to Attract Readers and Gain Momentum
“Posting killer statistics at least once a week will make you’re corporate blog more successful immediately,” says Johansmeyer.
With more and more content being produced on a daily, hourly, by-the-second basis, companies face a stiff task in separating themselves from the competition through the quality of their blogging content. A gimmick may provide a short-term solution, but over the long-term, you’ll need a repeatable plan that makes your content and writing something that grabs readers’ attention and keeps them coming back for more. One way to accomplish this Johansmeyer recommends is to utilize eye-catching statistics.
Giving the reader valuable information should be a prime goal of any content marketing strategy. By including statistics, you can achieve this desired result while making your reader more inclined to return to your website.
Step 4: Securing Engagement & Buy-in: Turning Your Employees into Blogging Advocates
If your blog posts and updates are hitting the web so fast that your employees aren’t even aware when new content is up, you may need to reconsider the importance of keeping your team in the loop. When you keep your employees updated on content developments and updates, you improve internal engagement. While having a quick trigger is good for content, so is being able to fully utilize it in tandem with your employees. Your employees will feel more involved with the content program and they’ll be better able to help share and distribute it throughout their own networks, as well.
Step 5: Debunking the All-Mighty Value of Comments
In this video, Johansmeyer aims to debunk the notion that all blogs need a comments section for legitimacy, noting that it’s the content that should make a blog and create engagement — not the comments.
“I hear – over and over again – that unless you have comments open on a blog, it’s not a real blog,” he says. “Well, then you don’t have a real blog. Who cares? You still have a marketing tool.”
What’s the alternative? It comes back to your established goals. It’s very unlikely that your #1 objective involved comments. Again, instead of fixating on metrics that don’t lead back to your goals, start focusing on the things that matter. If you’re successfully pointing your visitors toward your sales funnel then chin-up. Your end-0f-quarter conversion rates will be far more impressive than any boasts about comments would be.
Step 6: Let’s Get Visual: Using Visuals to Increase Your Blog’s Appeal
Vanilla content can get boring rather quickly, and with all of the other online content out there you better be providing your visitors with a compelling, engaging experience — otherwise, they’re out of there and on to the next thing.
“People want to see more than words, even if it is in a corporate blog,” he says. “You should have some visual elements just to break the monotony. At a minimum, you’ll need headshots of the [people writing the content].”
In this short video, Johansmeyer provides some tips and ideas for applying graphics to spice up your corporate blog. Visual elements are a terrific option to break up the monotony that comes with heaps of content, and they could just be the difference between an exit and another crucial click.
Step 7: Factoring in SEO
One of the primary marketing advantages of corporate blogging is that it provides an excellent platform to improve your company’s visibility in search.
For that reason, Johansmeyer advises companies to have an endgame in mind when crafting SEO copy. Don’t try to retrofit your SEO practices to your goal, he says in this video. If you have a product you’re trying to push, create copy with it in mind. Without a proactive approach to SEO writing, he says, you’re unlikely to get the most value out of your corporate blogging efforts.
Editor’s note: This article has been adapted from a video series recorded with Tom Johansmeyer, Director of Marketing, Claims, and Crime Analytics at Verisk Insurance Solutions.
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Do you know how to get started?
Corporate blogging programs are an essential component of an effective content marketing strategy. Blogs written by your employees can benefit your company in many ways including:
- Generating leads through search engines
- Helping build your brand by demonstrating your team’s culture and expertise
- Give your sales team a valuable vehicle to better connect with target prospects, customers, and key influencers
- Roles necessary to get off the ground
- Checklist templates for responsibilities and delegations
- Quick start guides to help you understand the process