Thursday May 15, 2014
Company blogs have become a set feature of any new website, but are they worthwhile?
Reasons why not…
There are a number of reasons not to have one. For a start, it requires a lot of effort to keep it going. Identifying topics that will interest the target audience, then finding the time to write blogs regularly and respond to comments (if your blog has this feature) is not usually easy.
All that work, and will people actually read it? Everyone is so busy these days and people have short attention spans – the Associated Press has been in the news this week as its new guidelines ask its journalists to keep their articles to 500 words maximum, partly because readers do not bother with longer articles, especially when they are struggling to read them on mobile devices. There is so much being written – blogs, articles, commentaries, posts on social media; is there really a demand for yet another blog?
Another reason that companies shy away from blogs is that they worry about their competitors reading them and sneakily stealing all the good ideas that are mentioned.
Despite all these concerns, we do think that company blogs are still worth the investment of time and effort, if they are done properly. By this, we mean that the content is tailored to the audience, is of value to them and is written in a clear and concise way. The blog should be updated regularly in order to keep the audience engaged.
The concerns mentioned above are valid but there are ways to overcome these issues. For example, to encourage even people with short attention spans to read the blog, it is good practice to make it easy to scan read. This can be done by including a clear headline, subheadings, bullet pointed lists, short paragraphs and illustrative images. Blogs tie in really well with social media – content from the blog can be seeded onto social media sites, where it can be quickly digested, and links can posted, driving traffic to the website where the blog sits, so that those whose interest is peaked by the topic or tagline will click through to read the full blog.
It is true that there is a lot of content online and it can be difficult for a company blog to stand out. However, it is not impossible. It is a case of thinking about the audience and what will appeal to them and be of benefit. The content should be original and offer a useful insight. Companies may be sharing good ideas with their competitors but they are also positioning themselves as industry thought leaders, and by doing so, will gain more credibility with their clients, and possibly a new audience.
A blog can be written in an informal style, showing a lot of personality and therefore reinforcing company culture and branding. And the blog does not have to be written by just one person – in fact, it’s better that everyone in the company has an opportunity to write about something in their area of expertise, and the activity can be thought-provoking for the whole team.
Finally, there are SEO benefits from having a blog on a company website, as Google and other search engines rank websites more highly when they have fresh content and images.
So, in conclusion, writing a blog is a long-term commitment and can be time consuming; but if you are patient, and fully invest in it, it is a very worthwhile activity.
584 words - sorry Associated Press!