As more companies and businesses enter the blogging waters, it's becoming easier to identify the characteristics of an outstanding company blog.  Next week at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Houston, I'll be presenting on the topic of Blogging for Business.  Part of my presentation will cover the elements of a great company blog, and I thought it would be a good idea to cover those areas here as well.

So today will be the first of a five-part series this week examining the elements of a successful company blog.  Let's first look at the content.

When a business starts blogging, many aren't sure what they should be blogging about.  So they begin writing about what they know best, themselves.  Unfortunately, the last thing a business blog should be, is a tool to promote that business.

Instead, companies should use their blog to provide value for their readers, and to give them information that they can find use in.  Note what Patagonia states is the purpose of its blog, The Cleanest Line:

"The goal of The Cleanest Line is to further Patagonia's mission by encouraging dialogue about the products we build, the sports we love and the environmental issues we're concerned about. By talking openly about the products we build, Patagonia users can help us achieve ever greater standards of quality and functionality. By spreading the word about specific environmental issues, we can increase awareness and take action as quickly as possible. By sharing field reports, we can inspire one another to keep experiencing the natural wonders of our precious planet. And like any good conversation, there's always the possibility for pranksters and poets to direct the conversation towards territories lacking any seriousness whatsoever."

Patagonia understands how to position its blog as a place to discuss topics that are of interest to their current and potential customers.  Instead of going overboard with self-promotion, they instead promote the values and ideals that are at the heart of their brand.  Which is what their customers relate to.

Before you begin creating content for your blog, put yourself in the shoes of your reader.  Why would a person want to come to your blog?  What would they be looking for?  If someone arrived at your blog via a Google search, what would they be searching for?

While some promotion on your blog is fine, don't go overboard.  Visitors to your blog will become readers only if you give them content that they find value in. 

Tomorrow I'll look at how a great company blog sets its posting schedule.

Be sure and read each of the posts in this series:
What Makes a Great Company Blog?
What Makes a Great Company Blog: Posting Schedule
What Makes a Great Company Blog: Comments
What Makes a Great Company Blog: Sidebars
Examples of Great Company Blogs




Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post, MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.






Comments(13)

While they are true these points are not enough though. I just wrote down the 10 commandmantes of business blogging which add some crucial aspects I think:
http://seo2.0.onreact.com/10-commandments-of-business-blogging

While value is the goal the way to reach it is to be focused on as well.

Commandments! My spanish just wen wild it seems...

It will be interesting to see more articles on this subject...Most blog owners have no idea where to begin when it comes to continual writing of their blog so even hiring an copywriter for good content may be beneficial.

Thanks Mack. I look forward to the rest of the series and to meeting you next week! :)

"While they are true these points are not enough though."


Thanks for the feedback Tad, but this post is the first in a series, and only addresses how to properly frame the content on your blog in a way that engages the reader and gives them the information and value they are looking for. There's FAR more to successful business blogging than this, and I'll be covering the other areas over the course of this week!

Rachel can't wait to meet you!

Focusing on reader needs, rather than corporate news, provides many advantages. Patagonia, a great company on many levels from employee satisfaction, brand prestige, and social responsibility - seems apt. Their success with blogging should surprise few folks.
Yet most of us can not reach those heights. I hope you provide more practical tips in the next essays. Please remember that some of your target audience includes small and medium businesses taking their first, tentative steps into the wild, wild web world of blogging.
Thanks!

Eric

Ask more. Know more. Share more.
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"Focusing on reader needs, rather than corporate news, provides many advantages. Patagonia, a great company on many levels from employee satisfaction, brand prestige, and social responsibility - seems apt. Their success with blogging should surprise few folks.
Yet most of us can not reach those heights."

Eric just to clarify, what do you think Patagonia is doing that the average blogging small business cannot?

Mack,

Great article.

My company has been running a corporate blog for about 18 months now and we've seen great success both in terms of search engine rankings and visitor numbers. The key for me is to refrain from overtly promoting the company. A well managed and interesting blog says everything you'd want to say about a company anyway.

We even get criticism from readers when we put anything that promotes the company even a little bit!

Check us out http://www.dialaphone.co.uk/blog

We'd be happy to contribute if you wanted to do a case study or anything like that.

Great Mack, so i guess I have to subcribe, damn one more feed to watch ;-)

Great subject! I've just launched my online toy store, and from what I've been reading, blogging is a key component of successful marketing. Since this is all new to me, I'll be hanging on your every word!

Great work Mr. Collier I want to thank you for this article

Five months later, I'm rereading this article that I bookmarked. It's a solid, practical article pushing small business owners to blog more - and keep their readers in mind.

Like many other folks, I try. But I must confess that time does not allow me to be as effective as I would like since I can only blog once a week or so. Patagonia, in contrast, has an entire department with huge human and capital resources. This does not excuse me or lessen the validity of the Patagonia example, but it does provide additional perspective. After all, the flip side of the "you can do anything" entrepreneur movement is that you feel inadequate when you dream big and set unrealistic goals. Or so it seems to me.

Balance in blogging matters too.

Anyway, I am still learning the ropes and hope to do better. Thanks for the encouragement and blog.



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