In Part I of this two part episode, Kiruba and Amar discuss why is blogging by Corporates still relevant in today’s day and age. and how can businesses use them for branding and customer connect. Kiruba provides a history of blogging, and how it has evolved in the present format. Amar narrates his experiences while working with the Marcom team of a Fortune 500 company four years ago. Kiruba and Amar narrate examples of companies both in India and abroad who have robust Corporate Blogs.
Over 81 percent of people trust the information that is available on blogs, which in turn influence over 60 percent of purchasing decisions.
Blogs therefore are an important medium of building credibility, and building trust.
Blogs thus serve a similar function as podcasts- we had discussed Podcasting for business in episode 2 and episode 3 of Digital PowWow Podcast.
Majority of companies have corporate blogs, but quite a few of them treat it as a can do rather than a must do. Very few blogs provide a compelling reason to visitors to come back to the corporate site again and again.
Blogs help in increasing the number of repeat visitors and reducing bounce rate for websites. Inbound links also play a critical role for SEO as well as increasing the traffic to the site.
The term blogging originates from the word “Web Blogging” that was coined in the late 1990s. But Blogger, the company started by Evan Williams in 1999, popularized the term. (Blogger was eventually acquired by Google in 2003). Over the past decade, WordPress has become the dominant blogging platform, with over 50 percent of blogs and 26 percent of websites run on WordPress. There are sites such as Typepad which also provide blogging.
Blogging began as a text + image only format, but in today’s world blogging can take 6 or 7 types of content including video, audio, animated images, etc.
Amar narrates his experience from the time he worked with Schneider Electric– where he was given a set of guidelines for that company’s Corporate blog, including number of outbound links, wordcount, number of keywords among other things.
In today’s times, a well researched and well analyzed articles can help in differentiating the Corporate blog from other blogs. But in an era where content is consumed on the mobile phone screen, shorter format will be more important than a 3,000 word epic post.
Freshdesk (which is on its way to becoming a Unicorn) and Cleartrip are companies from India that have useful blogs.
In general, Kiruba recommends that while Corporate Communication or Marketing should “own” the blog, the content must be written by the subject matter experts or relevant departments from the company. e.g. a blog on sales must be written by the sales team, it can be polished by the corp comm team.
A combination of internally written blogs and guest posts can add a lot of value to the Corporate blog. Guest posts can be written by customers, employees, interns, etc. Typically, anybody who has a great relevance to the business of the company.
Individuals within the organization can be the “face” of the blog. A CEO can be the face of the blog, but it requires a lot of drive from the marketing team.
Kiruba recommends that a person from Corp Comm or Marketing team can record the CEO’s views on a particular topic, and then the same can be transcribed, the relevant links added, and the post can go live once the CEO has okay’s the post. Amar has practiced this method in his past professional life. He even used to go to the extent of speaking like the executive in question.
Amar recommends reading the World Economic Forum’s list of CEO bloggers.
Posts that are written on behalf of US President Barak Obama or even Donald Trump are written in such a way that the leaders’ personalities are reflected in the posts.