According to the latest estimates, since the first online diaries started appearing in the 1990s, the internet has housed 600 million blogs. These virtual noticeboards allow individuals and businesses to communicate regularly and directly with their audience through posts: articles containing text and/or a range of multimedia materials, including photos, videos and graphics. In this article we’ll investigate how to create a corporate blog from scratch and take a look at the various advantages a blog can offer your business, both in terms of brand awareness and in engaging and converting your audience. We’ll also go through developing an SEO-friendly publishing plan, provide some strategies to promote your posts through various business channels and list some KPIs (key performance indicators) to help you judge how your blog is faring.
Why start a corporate blog?
Before you dive into creating a blog from scratch, it’s important to ask yourself whether it’s worth investing in this form of content marketing. As you are no doubt aware, a blog is a section of a website that is updated frequently with new contents (posts) introducing a business’ products and services and sharing news relating to the business’ operations or wider sector.
Blogs foster more direct and spontaneous communication between organisations and their audiences, and can feature various types of content: news, purchasing guides, tutorials, case studies, interviews and general or technical articles. Readers can usually comment on posts and share them on social media, thereby increasing the company’s online visibility.
And that’s not all. According to the latest statistics, blogging is one of the most effective marketing strategies for SEO: it improves a website’s organic ranking and increases traffic to the company platform. According to DemandMetric, blogs produce a 434% increase in the number of pages indexed by search engines and a 97% increase in indexed links. Meanwhile, a survey carried out by HubSpot revealed that businesses that publish more than 16 posts a month receive 3.5 times more traffic than those that publish fewer than four.
The latest statistics also show that blogs help to improve online shops’ conversion rates: according to BlogHer, 61% of consumers have made at least one purchase based on a recommendation from a blog post.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the benefits companies can enjoy by launching a blog and using it as part of their marketing strategy.
Improved business reputation
Organisations can demonstrate their experience and skill in a particular sector by publishing original, high-quality and relevant content, building a relationship of trust with customers and strengthening their market positioning.
Qualified traffic generation
Using an SEO publishing plan, where the articles are designed around the main queries users enter regarding the business’ sector, can increase brand visibility and attract qualified leads to the website.
Increased conversion rate
Publishing high-quality guides, articles and tutorials can facilitate the conversion process, pushing visitors to buy products from the online shop or make use of the business’ services.
Improved organic visibility
As we’ve seen, publishing regular blog articles helps to improve a website’s organic ranking on search engines. It also helps to generate quality backlinks from well-regarded sites, meaning the website ranks better.
Engagement and retention
Blogs allow businesses to establish more direct and spontaneous dialogue with their audience, improving the brand experience and offering informative content that helps to build customer loyalty.
How to start a corporate blog
Installing and configuring your blog
If you work for a business with a pre-existing domain name and platform, all you have to do is ask the developer or web agency if you can install and configure a blog section on the main website. If not, you’ll have to choose a blogging platform and hosting provider and buy a new domain name.
Developing an SEO-friendly publishing plan
Next you need to develop a publishing plan identifying the topics to cover, the format the contents will take and the frequency of the posts. Analysing the most common keywords on search engines can help you uncover frequently asked questions and the most relevant subjects for your target audience. Platforms like SEOZoom, Ubersuggest and Semrush are great for this kind of analysis, and also allow you to view your competitors’ organic ranking and most successful content. It is also worth consulting the Google Search Console to find out which queries lead to your website most frequently. Finally, it is vital to analyse the customer queries and requests that come through your business’ various touchpoints, such as social media and customer services.
Choose search queries with a good search volume that are related to your business and that are asking for information on a certain subject, product or service. This will help you to avoid the risk of keyword cannibalisation between your blog and website: if a blog post ends up ranking well for a transactional query, it risks competing with the page describing the corresponding product or service and so reducing the website’s conversion rate. Another strategy to obtain a good ranking is to choose long-tail keywords for your blog: these have lower search volumes but also less competition than shorter keywords.
Once you’ve finished searching for the most relevant keywords and topics for your ‘ideal customer’, you’ll need to draw up a publishing calendar including the following information:
- Main keyword for the post (along with other related keywords)
- Content type (e.g. tutorial, case history, product comparison, interview, etc.)
- Approximate word count
- Main aim of the article
- Publication date and deadline for completing the post
- Category: blog categories allow you to divide up articles into the various subjects you cover. You can then create a single, SEO-friendly web page for each category that contains a collection of posts on a certain topic.
- Tags: these are labels used to classify the articles you publish, regardless of which categories they are in. Tags can also be indexed by Google and optimised for search engines.
Remember that to be successful a blog must offer its readership genuinely useful information, so focus your efforts on producing posts that have clear and tangible informative value.
Writing the content
Once you’ve finished your publishing calendar and had it approved, you can start planning how to go about writing the various posts. If you have the necessary web writing and SEO copywriting skills (and enough time on your hands!) you can do it yourself; otherwise it’s best to entrust the work to a decent copywriter, agreeing the list of subjects and keywords in advance.
How to promote your blog
Now you’ve started filling your blog with content, you’ll need to devise a promotion strategy, drawing on a range of tools and channels:
- Social media: as well as sharing the link to the article, you can adapt and modify some of the published content to suit the unique features of each platform and its users. This could include publishing infographics on Pinterest summarising the most interesting data, or uploading a video to Facebook and/or YouTube that links back to the full article.
- Email marketing: sending emails and newsletters to your contact list is a very popular way of spreading the news about blog posts.
- Guest blogging: this involves inviting other bloggers to write articles on your blog, thereby offering a greater variety of content and introducing you to new potential customers. This Semrush article explains all the benefits and potential pitfalls of guest blogging.
It’s worth monitoring the following KPIs to keep track of how your blog is performing:
- Monthly traffic
- Sources of traffic (where users come from: social media, advertising campaigns, etc.)
- Average post reading time
- The most-viewed and most-backlinked articles
- Click-through rate (CTR) if the posts contain internal links
- Organic ranking of the various pages
- User engagement on various social platforms (likes, shares and comments) in addition to any comments added to the post itself
Based on the data you gather, you can judge how effective the various types of content are, plan operations to optimise the existing posts if required, and publish new posts that fit the search patterns of your ‘ideal customer’.
Starting a blog and developing it over time can have numerous benefits for businesses, helping to improve your brand reputation, brand loyalty and income. However, if you decide to invest in a blogging strategy, you need to be able to put together an effective communication plan rooted in original and interesting content that matches your brand identity.