As companies that realize the value of online marketing understand the need to publish engaging content, one of the most common considerations is a company blog. Blog software is fundamentally one of the easiest content management software systems to install and use. Of course the software isn’t magic. The content and ability to reach and engage with customers is a big part of what makes a business blog successful.
For those companies that are thinking of starting a blog or reinvesting resources into a company blogging effort that has gone stale, some of the most important questions to ask are: Have you identified specific goals for the blog? How will you measure success?
In sports you can’t score if there isn’t a goal and it’s no different with business blogging. There are a variety of reasons why publishing ongoing communications that allow readers to interact adds value to a business. Add to that the distribution via RSS that extends the reach of your message and it’s easy to see why so many companies start blogging. The failure for many business blogs is centered around not making a connection between business goals, blog specific objectives and most importantly, how meeting customer needs leads to the first two.
Here are three key questions to consider as you design your plan for business blogging success:
Why start a business blog? What end goals or outcomes can you reasonably expect?
There are many good reasons to start a blog. But are those reasons good enough to start and stay blogging for the long haul? Our survey on blogging and SEO showed 90% citing blogging as important, significantly important or a primary SEO tactic. 94% of bloggers reported seeing measurable SEO benefits from blogging within 12 months.
- Initiate and foster customer engagement
- Improve coverage by media and bloggers
- Improve search engine visibility
- Increase mentions on other blogs, social networking, news, bookmarking and media sites
- Build thought leadership
- Provide an informative communication channel
- Recognize employees, clients, marketing partners and especially brand evangelists
How will you know your blogging efforts are successful according to those goals? How are you measuring blogging success?
We ran a poll last year with our readers that ranked their most important measures of blogging success. Here is the distribution:
- Engagement: comments, links 36%
- Improved brand recognition 31%
- Build thought leadership 31%
- Search engine rankings 31%
- Better communicate with customers 30%
- Traffic to the blog 27%
- Coverage by media and other blogs 18%
- Traffic to the corporate web site 16%
- Sales leads 16%
- Industry Recognition 13%
- Sell products 2%
- Improved customer satisfaction 11%
- Page views 9%
- Time on Site 6%
- Ad revenue on the blog 5%
What tools are you using to measure blog performance?
Goals for business and the blog are great but it’s essential to have the right tools in place for analytics. One of the biggest mistakes is to rely on things like Google Alerts.
- Web analytics (Google Analytics, Woopra, Clicky, etc)
- Social media monitoring tools
- Link analysis tools
- Comment tracking tools
- Clipping services
- Forum conversation tracking tools
It’s fundamental, this notion of setting goals, understanding outcomes and the tools needed to measure. But you know the saying, “Common sense is the least common thing on Earth.” Companies can achieve great return on investment with the right plan and leadership in a blogging effort. The key is to do the baseline work to build a foundation upon which it can grow and succeed. Stay the course and leverage both listening and engagement tools to guide content. Develop networks and distribution channels to grow readership and reach. Take the time to really understand the impact of data provided by reporting tools and create reports for executives that highlight business goals.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced with setting, measuring and reaching business goals through corporate blogging? Have you started a business blog only to shut it down? Have your company blogging efforts been successful beyond expectations?