Blogging – Everyone is doing it. We all know it helps with building awareness and increasing Internet marketing efforts, but the lack of an official template for success with blogging can make it tedious. Trending subjects change at such a fast rate that keeping current, relevant, and engaging may seem difficult for many companies who are new to the blogging scene given the vast range of topics to blog about.
If blogging the right way is time consuming, then why blog at all?
Well there is no doubt that it helps with search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, but how does it help? Blogging in relation to SEO allows you to generate new fresh content, link bait opportunities, content syndication, and provides opportunities for deep linking to main website pages. Blogging can be helpful in your link building strategy, because getting quality inbound links to your blog can help your search engine optimization efforts.
How can you tailor your company blog to be successful?
There is no official method for creating a successful blog, but we’ll give you some insights based on years of internet experience and countless blog posts. We’ll take a look at successful attributes of three corporate blogs with some of the highest subscribers, number of unique visitors, and number of incoming links, showing that they are good in attracting and retaining readers as well as generating buzz. These blogs have achieved great success and incorporate many successful blogging elements, making them excellent examples to learn from.
The most important element of any blog is going to be content, which should be related to the company or industry in some way, but does not necessarily promote products. Give readers something stimulating to read and they will be engaged, but over promotion of the company and its products will hinder blogging success. Topics should be funny, inspiring, interesting, or bizarre and can based on trending topics, good information, good research, and new discoveries.
Aside from content, which varies tremendously based on industry, here are a few tips from one of the top internet marketing companies that will help engage readers and promote them to generate buzz.
Patagonia: The Cleanest Line
Patagonia retails their own line of outdoor gear and clothing, but doesn’t promote its products on its blog. Instead its focused on posts relevant to the lifestyle and use of their products such as consumer achievements or stories. Aside from this, here are examples of successful elements on this blog:
Use Of a Hanging Thought/Read More Tag – Using a read more or hanging thought tag has three main benefits. These tags creatively entice readers to click the link and read more and help with reader engagement. Also creative or intriguing hanging thoughts can help click-through rates. Lastly, the main benefit is the SEO advantage of minimizing duplicate content. This post uses this tag in the link that says “Continue reading “Watch “Shattered” a Short Film Featuring Patagonia Ambassador Steve House.”
Strong Keyword Usage – Patagonia has strong keyword usage of keywords relating to the type of activity many of their products are made for. For example, this post is focused on a remarkable climbing feat, thus the use of the keyword “climbing” is well used and relevant to both the post and company. The keyword is repeated several more times, yet not excessively, in the text displayed when clicking the hanging though link.
The Red Cross: Red Cross Chat
The Red Cross Chat generates an extremely high number of unique visitors each month, which may be heavily dependent on the blog’s content and sharing capabilities. This blog focuses on the organizations humanitarian efforts, inspirational stories, and posts encouraging readers to interact with the organization. Below are a few successful elements of this blog to take note of.
Inverted Pyramid Structure – What is meant by the term “inverted pyramid” in relation to a blog? Traditionally readers start at the bottom of the pyramid with broad pieces of information, and continue reading to ascend the pyramid to the final conclusion of the written work. With blogging, this concept is inverted, meaning that bloggers want to know the overall topic and benefits of the blog post before reading. Many blog readers bookmark posts and read them later, so capturing their attention quickly is important.
Good Titles – Titles are extremely important, if not the most important element of a blog. They give the reader an idea of what the blog is about and are often the reason a person chooses to read a blog post. Capturing reader attention with interesting, funny, shocking, or titles indicating personal benefits are often successful in gaining the reader’s attention. This is related to the inverted pyramid concept, meaning that a good title will help in stimulating readers wanting to know the benefits of reading the article right away.
Inviting People To Interact – The post shown to the side is great for reader interaction and engagement because it gives the reader a fun way to interact with the company. The Red Cross Chat is specifically strong in this aspect by encouraging readers to interact in numerous other posts, getting readers more involved with the organization. Most blogs foster reader interaction through comments related to blog posts, but a fun and exciting way to encourage interaction may often be more effective.
Viral Sharing – At the bottom of the blog posts are several ways to share the blog post with others. Viral sharing generates buzz so making these sharing options visible and easy to use is extremely important. Sharing on the more popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and others can help generate buzz across social media platforms. You want people to talk about your company, so give readers something they want to share and make it easy for them to share the information.
Facebook: The Facebook Blog
One may expect a tech company or online company to create successful blogs by nature, but this is not always the case. However, Facebook has created one of the top corporate blogs in existence. Their content is the most relevant to its product of any of the 3 companies, but the content is more focused on presenting news related to the product and its user benefits. Below are a couple elements of the Facebook blog that have been found to be beneficial when blogging.
Heading & Subheadings – Headings and subheadings are extremely useful in allowing the reader to see the immediate benefits and content of the blog post; relating to the inverted pyramid concept. These headings and subheadings allow readers to skim the article quickly and increase the chances of reading the blog post, whether it is immediately or later once bookmarked.
One Image or More Per Post – Incorporating images into your blog posts help with reader engagement by making the blog post more visually stimulating and interesting. Readers get lost in a sea of text, so using at least one image or more in the post can make the post look and be more interesting. Blog readers are not looking to read a novel, so breaking up the post with images is very successful.
Blog Authors & Dates – Putting a blog author and date on the blog helps readers view the blog post as more credible because a real human is generating the post. Even more so, as with the Facebook Blog, blog author thumbnails can help boost this credibility by “putting a face to the name” and allowing the reader to easier recognize the blog post is created by a real credible human being.
As you can see, content is the most important factor of a blog, but there are technical elements in which you can utilize to improve the success of your blog. Having an inverted pyramid structure while using interesting titles, headings, hanging thought links, and pictures are helpful in engaging readers, but that’s not enough. Allowing people to share and interact with the blog is going to expand the reach and readership of the blog, but will only be successful if the content and structure are captivating to the reader.
The companies above have all done an excellent job in attracting readers through harnessing successful blog practices and quality content selection.
Whether you are just getting into blogging or an experienced veteran, take these tips into consideration when creating your next blog post and let us know what you think.