[David Strom's Web Informant] Corporate blogging rules of the road

David Strom david at strom.com
Tue May 1 09:49:02 EDT 2018

Web Informant, May 1, 2018: Corporate blogging rules of the road

Let's talk about what makes for a successful corporate blog and how you can
assemble one of your own. Blogs are an essential element of any corporate
marketing strategy, and should be the linchpin of creating an integrated
digital marketing campaign that includes email newsletters, social media
posts, and other kinds of content. But if you don't have a strong blog, you
will have a difficult time executing any solid marketing campaign.

I have *written about corporate blogging for more than 13 years*, including
this story that ran in Computerworld
and contributed to dozens of different corporate blogs (in addition to
running some websites that could be considered blogs if they were created
in the modern era). Jeremiah Owyang once said that you shouldn't accept
blogging advice from people that are not bloggers. Given that he has
blogged for as long (if not longer) than I have, he is worth paying
attention to. I am writing about this again thanks to being inspired by a
recent article about Autodesk and its 200-some corporate blogs

Autodesk is the company behind AutoCAD and some 170 other products that are
based on that industry segment. When you first see how many blogs they
have, you think: that can't possibly be the right strategy for them. But
the more you look into what they are doing, the more you understand that
this is actually brilliant. These different blogs (some of which you can
see in the screen capture here) show something more than just quantity. For
example, each Autodesk product and blog has its own dedicated marketing
team, so it’s up to each to decide how to structure its operation and tell
it’s own story. So as you are examining what Autodesk is doing, here are a
few pointers.

First is understanding the *key elements in assembling your team* that will
staff and run a blog. It is more akin to running a publication (something
that I have done numerous times over my career in both print and online),
but you may not have editorial and production people in-house. That is why
it could make sense to outsource part of these back or front office
functions of the blog to operations such as Skyword
<https://www.skyword.com/> or Contently <https://contently.com/>. While you
pay a premium for these services, they can deliver benefits if you don’t
have the time, skills or staff to handle these functions. Another part of
successful blogging is creating an editorial calendar and planning what you
will cover in the next quarter (or longer if you can), posting regularly
and selecting the right topics. This makes it easier to assign posts and
organize your campaigns.

Next, you need to *understand your audience focus* and define what the
overall purpose of the blog or blogs will be, as well as adjusting to the
appropriate level of knowledge for a particular readership. This is
something that you want to do up front, before you start creating any posts.

It is also *important to take the long view about your blog or blogs*; on
the Internet, content is eternal and many corporate marketers often make
the mistake of having a blog stand up for just a particular campaign. I
often get inquiries from something that I posted ten years ago. Many of the
blogs and pubs that I have written for have taken down their content.
Newsflash: storage and domain services are cheap these days.

Part of any successful blog is also *figuring out what your metrics for
success are*, and that should involve more than just counting simple page
views. While we all watch that particular statistic, it doesn't tell the
entire story, such as how engaged our readers are and how many of them
convert to trial product versions or refer others who become customers.
Figure out how you can track these things effectively.

Finally, make sure you *pay your external writers quickly* and without a
lot of paperwork, otherwise they will migrate elsewhere. (That is where the
outsourced back office providers can help.) I know this sounds somewhat
self-serving, but I have seen many fine pubs lose talented writers who get
frustrated when payments stretch out for months.

If you haven't had enough suggestions, or if you want to send these
suggestions to someone who is a more auditory learner, you can listen to a
20 minute podcast that Paul Gillin and I put together for our FIR B2B
episode this week here.
​Comments always welcome here: http://blog.strom.com/wp/?p=6508​
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