The corporate blog landscape looks like a funnel. Most founders or marketing managers think about defining a general communication plan for their company blog, but only half of them take the time to build up a relevant messaging strategy, Among those 50% of good bloggers, only a few work at perfecting their tone to harmoniously match their messaging and initial objectives. If you are one of these warriors who carefully avoided the 3 first mistakes of corporate blogging, your company blog must be pretty impressive and I’d like to see it! (Links in the comments, please!)
Corporate blogs that have this level of expertise are hard to differentiate from each other. The blog strategy has been built and implemented to its maximum, and it’s now time to focus on another factor that is not proper to corporate blogging: user experience.
4. Neglecting the user experience
Most people associate “user experience” to beautiful design. In fact, UX implies much more parameters, especially when it comes to blogging. Thus, an excellent user experience on a corporate blog starts with a good timing.
Watch Your Timing
Leave your content alone, question your timing. When a blog doesn’t get the attention expected, the reflex is to think the topics tackled are not aligned with the readers’ interests and that changing them will solve the problem. Yet, when the blog strategy has been built carefully, content is rarely the issue and changing it would actually make it worse. There is another factor you can question when trying to improve your blog performance: timing. In a recent study, KISSmetrics highlighted the importance of publishing your content at certain times of the week in order to get maximum exposure. For instance, it is crucial to define where your current and potential customers are and gear your social media publishing toward them.
Commit to your blog, like, really. Many blogs are put aside of global corporate marketing strategies after 6 months because of a lack of immediate results. It is a mistake as most of them are actually about to give their first results at that particular time. It is essential not only to perceive your social media strategy as a long-term challenge, but also to commit to it. Frequent posting on your blog will drastically accelerate the efficacy of your blog. As mentioned in the KISSmetrics study, the more articles are published on a blog, the more visits it gets, the greater the chances are to increase visitor’s engagement and start the virtuous circle.
Improve the Details
Be Catchy.The current battle to win the SEO war sometimes makes companies forget the necessity of creating catchy titles in their blog. Yes, making sure your titles have all your keywords will definitely improve your SEO, but could also make all your potential readers dismiss your article because it didn’t catch their attention.
That’s what happened to The New York Times recently. The newspaper published a very interesting story, but got a significant part of its traffic stolen by Forbes. How so? Because Forbes, even if publishing a similar story, used a more catchy title. As Nick O’Neill explained on his blog, while the New York Times had named its article “How Companies Learn Your Secret“, Forbes titled it “How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did“. Now you get it, right? Being dramatic usually works very well.
Keep it simple. The rules that apply to a blog design are similar to the ones we use for websites in general. I am not an expert and won’t pretend to give you any design lesson. However, there is one thing I suggest to take into account: not everybody has the last generation of Mac Book Pro running the most powerful graphic card ever – well I don’t. Thus, I’d recommend to keep your design simple and limit the number of images in order to accelerate the loading time of your blog. A page that you can load in less than 2 seconds on your personal computer can take 10 seconds on another computer, and hence ruin the user experience.
Make it seamless. Limiting the efforts your readers have to provide is the ultimate way to stand out among other excellent corporate blogs. Here is the top 3 things that can annoy your readers when interacting with your blog:
- Not finding the RSS Feed. Don’t forget to provide a prominent link to your RSS feed everywhere on your blog so your readers don’t have to look for it
- Not finding the sharing options. Make the social sharing options obvious, both at the top and the bottom of your articles
- Clicking on “Tweet this” and not having the tweet ready. Make sure to limit the efforts your users have to provide to share your article on Twitter by providing a tweet “out of the box”. Here is the perfect tweet “out of the box”: “Title of the article http://short.url via @yourcompany #hashtag“. Avoid the standard “via @AddThis” or “via @Wordpress”, or the never-ending tracking links – if you need to track the link, then hide the tracking code in a shortened URL
And here we are! If you did follow the different pieces of advice provided in the first 4 articles of this series, then you now have the perfect corporate blog! Yes, I know what you are thinking: It’s a “5 reasons why” series and we only went through 4 reasons so far, so how can it be perfect? Well, this is when I get to use my favorite words and ask you to think out of the box. A good strategy, messaging, tone and user experience will enable you to build a strong returning audience, and probably be amongst the top corporate blogs in your industry. But it might be long. To be under the spotlight and rapidly catch the attention of not only your targeted audience, but the general online population, you’ll need to take some risks and be more innovative. Last episode next week! And don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS to be the first to find out!