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  • Guide to Corporate Blogging and Guest Bloggers

    When launching a company blog, you want to get everyone on board. Even the people who are not directly contributing to the blog should know the blog’s mission statement. Your company is embarking on a journey that is different from traditional marketing and PR. This is a community effort, and your entire staff should understand the following ideas.

    Your company should establish a set of guidelines, simple and clear, that outlines your goals and rules for the blog that will be read and followed by any contributor. The following list offers some general tips that will make any corporate blog easier to read, more likely to be shared, and much more relevant to your readers.

    Share these tips with anyone who writes on your blog:

    1) Gain Trust:

    Only 16% of online consumers who read corporate blogs say they trust them.

    If you blog, your goal should be to create a blog about which people say “I like that – I don’t think of it as a company blog.” For the most part, that’s a hurdle you need to jump to gain their trust…

    If you want to be a thought leader and helper for your customers, and you blog frequently about those customers’ problems and solutions, then you can generate trust. Want an example. Check out Rubbermaid’s blog.”

    From Groundswell

    2) Learn from the experts:

    These people blog professionally, so they know what they are talking about…

    7 Deadly Sins of Blogging:

    “It takes some time to build an audience, and momentum is your friend. Most of us don’t take off like rockets. We build slowly at first, then the snowball starts to grow.

    If you’re not finding the audience you want yet, ask yourself:

    • Is my topic actually interesting to someone other than my mom and my cat?
    • Do I give my readers more than I ask to receive from them?
    • Am I working on cultivating a network of like-minded bloggers, and supporting their work as much as I hope they’ll support mine?

    If the answers are yes, you’ll need to cultivate a little patience.”

    10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

    “Be genuine. Your readers will know when you’re not. The Internet has a pretty good built-in BS detector. The other day, Adii, co-founder of WooThemes, tweeted, “You can’t buy loyalty and awesomeness.” He’s dead on with that.

    Have a point of view. It doesn’t necessarily have to be unique, but you should be able to get behind it 110%. Stay focused.

    Your blog is about you. But it’s also about your readers. If your audience is interested in what you’re saying, your blog will naturally evolve into one big two-way conversation.”

    3) Don’t try to sell, EVER!

    We already learned that people do not trust corporate blogs. Why? Because corporations try to sell things! So in order to combat that assumption, make sure you do not approach your blog with the intention to sell a product or service.

    How to: Use Your Blog for Business Development

    “Respect the rules of social engagement.

    Communities (especially online ones) are extremely resistant to any attempt to subvert or use them for one’s own personal gain. Thus, you need to be careful that you are transparent and honest about your intentions. Any failure to do so will end up causing more harm than good.”

    from the blog:

    What is your blog’s BIGGER idea?

    Blog about the benefits of your products/services, not the product/services. For example, if you own a pet grooming store, don’t blog about dog grooming products, blog about dog grooming. Don’t blog about ‘The Ten Best Shampoos for Your Dog’s Bath’, blog about ‘Ten Steps to Giving Your Dog the Perfect Bath’.

    Kodak’s A Thousand Words blog doesn’t focus on Kodak’s products as much as it does photography. Graco’s blog doesn’t focus on Graco’s products, it focuses on parenthood. Patagonia’s The Cleanest Line doesn’t focus on Patagonia’s products, it focuses on the environment, sustainability, and environmental activism. In each case, these blogs understand what content would be relevant and valuable to their readers/customers, and they tailor the posts they write with this in mind.”

    from the blog:

    4) Establish rules for anyone who touches your blog.

    Apart from your blog’s mission statement that outlines your goals, you should also have a (preferably short) list of rules for the content of all posts. Every guest blogger should receive the guidelines before they begin to write, and make sure you agree on all issues surrounding self-promotion and back-linking.

    You should also set rules for the moderation of comments (sometimes an author will want to moderate his or her own post comments, so set the rules ahead of time that determine when to censor and when to accept).

    Here are some examples:

    NY Times rules for blogging

    10 Rules for Responsible Blogging

    Rules for commenting from David Meerman Scott

    Some areas you want to cover in your list of rules:

    • Topics
    • Titles and Sub-headers
    • Images
    • Post length
    • Editing
    • SEO (who will optimize each post for search engine visiblitiy?)
    • Comments
    • Links
    • Signature and credit

    More examples:

    BiggerPockets.com Guidelines

    Business.gov

    The Fashion Police

    Probably the most important thing to remember about guest blogging, is that YOU have the final word on any content being published on your blog. Keep in mind that your goal is to build a large base of subscribers to your blog. Don’t be afraid to ask them directly what they want to read about, and keep all posts relevant and reliable. Your readers are your number one priority.

    Please feel free to add ideas to this list, and share your stories about corporate blogging with us and our readers!

    Comments

    1. Analisa,

      You really hit the nail on the head. Too many corporate blogs focus on corporate messaging and their products/services specifically. Blogs should be a platform to discuss and share interesting and educational content related to the bigger picture — the topic, industry, profession, etc. Like you mention, be a resource on pet grooming, don’t just talk about your pet grooming products.

      David Reich
      SixEstate Communications
      http://SixEstate.com

    2. Thanks for summarizing and pointing to all this excellent content. Number 3 is always going to be the hardest to digest for corporations, but it’s not established on idealism–it just works better.

      • Analisa says:

        So true Ian, it is hard for a corporate blog to avoid being…well, corporate. I just found an old blog post the other day in which I quoted fellow social media-blogger Matt Hames saying, “If someone talks about your product, don’t think of them as much as a lead, think of them as someone to talk with. And that’s a hard thing to think.” I think that applies well here, since someone reading your blog should be treated the same way.

    3. Nice tips! When it comes to guest blogging, there are only two things that I think about it, whether backlinks or traffic/gain trust.

      But I usually go for the traffic and gain trust from the readers. I have written to so many blogs and sites already and I usually aim for the readers and not just gain a link from the site that I am writing. This is because when people trust your articles, they’ll just link to you directly and visit your site.

      Thanks!
      JP