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Why should a company blog: five brilliant take-aways from SES London 2014

So we all have been told million times that it is important for a company to have a blog that is actively updated. And by the year 2014 most companies have taken this advice on board and started to blog. But what doesn’t seem to have sunk in so well is that it really DOES matter what you do with your blog. If you view your blog as a nuisance or something trivial and not worth investing time and energy into, your audience will feel the same way about reading it.

Lee Odden

These days, some companies are asking why blog when you could just focus on social networks and quickly tweet about anything exciting, instead of spending lots of time creating blog posts. This is one of the questions that Lee Odden, the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, addressed at the Brilliant Blogging: Best Practices to Enhance Your Customer Reach presentation at the SES London 2014. (Lee publishes and edits one of the most popular marketing blogs on the web, TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog, so it is safe to assume he knows a thing or two about company blogging).  For more facts you should check out Lee’s post on the topic here.

Here are five blogging ideas that really struck a chord with me:

1. First of all, aim high.
Or like Lee put it: the goal for blogging should be no less than creating content so interesting and relevant that people will be anticipating what is being published next. There is so much crap out there that you really have to produce something good in order for anyone to give a damn, let alone make them keep coming back. I believe that having a positive and ambitious attitude precedes any success so start thinking about your blog as an opportunity to show off the best talent and ideas your company has to offer.

2. Your blog can be an incredibly versatile tool.
As Lee stated, his agency is well-known around the world because of its blog. It has led to loads of media coverage, even a book deal – and no need to spend money on big advertising team. Lee emphasised that everyone should really think about how to incorporate blogging into their digital marketing – but a blog also offers a perfect platform for reaching marketing partners, journalists and potential employees! In fact, any need the company might have can be communicated through the blog platform. So don’t think of your blog as something “extra” but as a crucial part of your communication strategy.

3. Blog connects online to offline and back.
Sure, live tweeting from an industry conference is powerful at the moment and a Facebook campaign can get hundreds of shares in no time, but I want to believe there is a place for more in-depth analysis of things as well. The blog platform enables digesting things a while before shooting them back into cyber space.  By this I mean that in a blog post you can, for example, connect little bits of information to a whole story, explain the background, analyse the possible consequences and most importantly, add your own thoughts and ideas. It can’t compete with the speed of tweeting, but might result in something new and unique to read, instead of just repeating what’s already been said. (That is also why it took me almost two days to write this blog post…)

I have been taught that your job as a writer is to always dig a little deeper and try to explain “what it all means”. The same applies to blogging!

4. Be brave and experiment.
What I find the most exciting thing about blogging is that it is such a flexible and unrestricted media. It offers a great place to experiment with different styles of text, use of images, graphics, moving image or engaging readers. As an example, Lee told us that, when blogging from a conference, the writers can ask extra questions from speakers beforehand and this way get unique content for their post. Bas, from State of Digital, also mentioned some refreshing ideas for blog content: You could get experts in their own field to discuss a certain topic on google hang out and broadcast it live. Or conduct interviews with an interesting figure and share it on your blog. The opportunities are endless!

5. Stand for something.
This is something Lee was very clear about: If you want to really make it in blogging, you have to become known for something specific, whatever that something is. Focus attracts attention and builds credibility, so decide what your something is and follow through, even when you are only starting out and no one cares about what you write about. In other words, don’t be a blog wimp! I understand many companies want to keep their blogs business-like and refrain from anything controversial, but a very formal style often results in being plain boring. Don’t create a blog that has no originality or passion. Have the courage to make a statement, and do it with pride!

Get out there, dare to be ambitious, experimental – and remember to have fun with your blog!

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