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Talking Points: Corporate Blogging 101

Time flies when you’re devel­op­ing con­tent. It’s been more than 10 years since ear­ly-adopter com­pa­nies start­ed “blog­ging.” Today, thou­sands of com­pa­nies and non-prof­its across the coun­try are devot­ing sig­nif­i­cant resources towards their blogs. As a con­tin­u­a­tion of our Talk­ing Points event series, last week Bell­mont Part­ners and Arik Han­son of ACH Com­mu­ni­ca­tions brought togeth­er more than 50 guests and three pan­elists who over­see some of the more promi­nent and longer-run­ning cor­po­rate blogs in Min­neso­ta for a dis­cus­sion on where blog­ging is head­ed. Chris Havens of Best Buy, Krys­ta Lar­son of C.H. Robin­son, and Kevin Hunt of Gen­er­al Mills shared insights about what they’ve learned along the way and where they’re head­ing with their blogs in 2018 and beyond. Among oth­er things, our pan­elists offered insights on the fol­low­ing top­ics:

The New Press Release

In many ways, blogs have become a mod­ern news release plat­form for brands to tell their sto­ries and share con­tent with the media as well as their direct audi­ence. Our pan­elists agreed that they see their own blog as a means to dis­trib­ute news as it gives them the free­dom to craft the sto­ry the way they want it to be told. Blogs also have a longer shelf-life than press releas­es, Kevin Hunt remind­ed us. Some­times he’ll expe­ri­ence a sto­ry get­ting picked up by media five to sev­en months after the blog was orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten.

Author­ship

From sub­ject mat­ter experts to exec­u­tives and even sales reps – many teams are ask­ing ques­tions about how and when to engage the cor­po­rate team for more thought-lead­er­ship con­tent. While sign­ing an executive’s name can some­times gar­nish fur­ther reach and engage­ment, it can take a lot more work to edit, coor­di­nate and exe­cute when author­ship comes from out­side of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions team. If exter­nal team mem­bers are engaged, it’s best to lim­it their involve­ment to a spe­cif­ic beat or cat­e­go­ry, or for sto­ries that real­ly reflect back on their per­son­al­i­ty – keep­ing con­tent cre­ation and pro­mo­tion to about 10 hours max for any giv­en blog post from start to fin­ish and keep­ing employ­ees with­in their strengths.

Engage­ment and Mea­sure­ment

Blog­gers are caught in a unique posi­tion between read­ers who are look­ing for valu­able con­tent and cor­po­ra­tions who need to push prod­ucts and ser­vices. Effec­tive blog­ging can’t be mea­sured direct­ly by leads or retail foot traf­fic, pan­elists remind­ed us. “It’s a long game,” Chris Havens con­clud­ed. While social engage­ment insights, web­site traf­fic and SEO can help to com­mu­ni­cate val­ue up the lad­der, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber that cer­tain intan­gi­bles like brand affin­i­ty won’t be tracked the same way that mar­ket­ing tac­tics will. The best blogs are a ser­vice to their read­ers.

When in doubt, remem­ber your audi­ence and keep them at the fore­front when mak­ing deci­sions about con­tent, author­ship, dis­tri­b­u­tion, engage­ment and mea­sure­ment. How can your blog evolve this year to add more val­ue to your read­ers, engage with media more effec­tive­ly or tell the sto­ries that will build brand loy­al­ty or affin­i­ty?

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