According to a widely-cited Forrester Research report from 2008, most corporate blogs are “dull, drab, and don’t stimulate conversation.” Ouch! Furthermore, they found that two-thirds of corporate blogs hardly ever get comments, 70% stick strictly to business topics, and 56% just republish press releases or already public news! Many of the worst business blogs in 2008 have since cleaned up their acts in 2014. (Orbitz being one of them!) In today’s post, the Mod Girl team shares 8 tips for corporate content marketing success.
1. Content is not just “marketing.” It’s a valuable revenue stream.
When we think of “publishers,” we think of newspapers, magazines, and book publishers. Yet, these days, any business can be a “publisher” even if it is not considered to be one’s central business. If you were to ask Hubspot “what they do,” they would tell you they “create software for business marketing.” Yet, they also publish e-books on a vast array of topics that are available for download and develop extensive industry reports available for purchase. In essence, they have made their business the business of content production — and that content not only sells itself, but sells more software, too.
2. “Content is King. Consistency is Queen.”
Sadly, we did not invent this phrase. “Content is king” has been around for as long as we can remember, but this last bit is attributed back to entrepreneur Eric Vessels. In over 10 years, Vessels said he’s never missed a single publishing deadline for his clients. No matter what, his team’s newsletters and blogs are ALWAYS posted on time. We believe that firmly here at Mod Girl Marketing, too. Consistency creates trust, improves SEO, and helps corporations build a brand over time. We find regular scheduling helps brands catch those people on their lunch breaks, on their commute home, or first thing in the morning as they scan the headlines — and the availability of content when readers are searching for it means that a company’s blog will be visited again and again.
The Mod Girl team works with businesses to create a content calendar, so the posts are strategic and proactive. We like to schedule posts based around anticipated launches, company news, holidays, and predictable high-traffic periods. From there, we can fill in the other dates with catchy categories and topics of interest — of course, leaving some wiggle room for late-breaking news. It’s easier to track progress and recruit audiences this way.
This corporate content marketing principle especially applies to social media. You want to have someone available and “on-task” to respond to comments. Online conversation can really escalate if you are not careful. Beyond comments, you also want to have people dedicated to watching the news and picking up hot topics to include in the blog. From an SEO perspective, waiting 48 hours to click “publish” can make the difference between first page Google results and getting shelved. We like to set up Google Alerts and searching important keywords in the Google News feeds daily to keep a pulse on what’s happening.
We’ve found some of the best referrals and promotions of our content come from people we’ve mentioned, too. Pay attention to thought leaders within your industry, celebrity endorsements, commenters, and your biggest fans. Social media is great for this, especially Twitter. Give your audience ways to gain recognition and take part in something — be it a contest or an internal marketing decision (such as what to name a future product). You’ll find people will promote you if it promotes themselves too.
Readability goes a LONG way in keeping people on your blog and social media feed for any period of time. It also breeds trust. If we see a blog that looks like it was created from a 1990 template with an ugly font and thousands of words crammed together in one monstrous paragraph… we are moving on before the first sentence gets read! That same principle goes for stagnant social media accounts. Audiences have little patience for amateurish efforts. You need to make lists and bullets, include titles, and publish images with every post.
You can buy yourself a lot of leeway if people know what you stand for — if your “About” page clearly defines your brand. For instance, King Arthur Flour featured a wide array of recipes on their website, including ice cream based desserts. Obviously, there is no flour in ice cream… but they were able to cast a wider net and appeal to their audiences’ sweet tooth without betraying their identity by having a good “About” page on their blog. We find many businesses overlook this. You want to link to internal pages of your website in your blog entries as well.
All good corporate blogs include a “call to action.” Keep in mind: asking for a hard sell can deter readers who would have otherwise trusted you. Instead, we like to direct people to an online contact form because it requires less of a commitment from readers and it’s easy to measure. Now that we have your attention… you may contact USfor help creating, improving, or implementing your corporate content marketing strategy. We’ve worked with dozens of corporations and consulted marketing executives on creating effective content marketing campaigns. Learn more at ModGirlMarketing.com.