When used correctly, blogs can be an excellent tool for engaging prospects and customers — especially in today’s environment, when the companies we deal with are more machine than human. We call in and get interactive voice response rather than a live person. We read FAQs instead of speaking to customer service reps. It’s an isolated feeling.
So when I create a blog for a client, I do the following three things:
- Make it as human as possible;
- Make it as interactive and engaging as possible; and
- Have it add value to the customer experience as a whole.
Some of things you can add to your blog to achieve this include the following:
1. Have your blog be the voice of your company. A blog should embody your company’s culture, values and personality. Invite key employees across all departments to participate. A word of caution: Always have someone monitor this activity to keep it on strategy.
2. Provoke response. End a blog post with a question or request for comments. People love to voice their opinions; give them the opening.
3. Be provocative. In my personal blog, I like to post controversial items from time to time. Again, this is a great way to get your readers involved.
4. Use video. Video is an excellent engagement device. With a consumer camcorder — there are many high-quality ones out there — and easy-to-use video editing software, such as Apple’s iMovie, you can create a relatively high-quality video and have it up on your site in hours, not weeks. Of course you can hire people in the video business to do this, but I’ve seen just as many do-it-yourself videos on blogs that look pretty good. More video ideas below.
5. Go behind the scenes. Give people real insights into the day-to-day activities of your company. I just saw an apparel company’s Facebook page, which contained videos of photo shoots in progress. Another company had video of its employees on the phones in its call center. Interview your employees. Catch them impromptu. It all works to cement your readers to your brand.
6. Have your customers speak. Nothing says more about a brand than its customers. Written testimonials, video testimonials, even links to blogs where people are discussing your products are perfect for posting on blogs.
7. Demonstrate your products. If your company’s products lend themselves to photography or video, add them to YouTube and post them on your blog.
8. Hold a contest. I recently launched a “name a product” contest for a client. We received many great names as responses. Make sure when you choose the winner, you trumpet up the “ceremony” on your blog.
9. Got press? If your product gets press, post links to media coverage on your blog. People love to know that the companies they buy from are “famous.”
10. Other relevant information. Content on your blog doesn’t necessarily have to be your own. If there’s an article, video or something else that adds value to your prospects and readership, add a link to it.
In part two of this series, which will appear next week, I’ll discuss how to market and promote your blog to gain maximum readership.
Note from Jim: This article originally ran in eMarketing & Commerce Magazine online: http://www.emarketingandcommerce.com/story/corporate-blogging-primer