Why Corporate blogging sucks (#4 of 5 Marketing Tactics that suck)

We all love a good blog. Teens have their fan sites, Middle Aged Men In Lycra (MAMILs) lust after bicycle accessories and armies of mummy bloggers review all the latest kit online saving their families money into the bargain. Should corporates also wade in?

MAMILs

Yes! But avoiding the pitfalls below…

Literally billions of opinions a year are now exchanged online, in and out of work hours on computers and smartphones without and increasingly with, the distractions of radio or SMART TV’s in our now multi-screened world. High quality B2B blogs increase an organization’s digital footprint and can create demand if well executed. The opposite is also true.

Consider ‘skunkwork’ blogs, often created without proper scrutiny from the corporate tentacles of ‘The Marketing Department’, some are great, others pet projects which distract from ‘real work’ and in extreme cases, off-brand diversions from marketing objectives.

But a bigger (readership) is better, right? Perhaps not.

Unlike SEO, blogging, is not just a numbers game, quality of what is attached to the eyeballs one attracts matters. When you are paying by the ‘click’ all clicks are good. Blogging requires actual relevant content, which may not appeal to all readers and so as well as rewarding quality content, blogging involves more corporate risk. Consider how Twitter’s microblogging can literally result in an expensive libel case to see why a more measured approach may be advisable.

Positive Marketing has oodles of experience marrying corporate blogging strategies with the world of Social Media promotion and below we freely share our philosophy, outlining four stereotypical blogs which you need to avoid if your blogging strategy is not to suck.

1. The Time Traveller blog – Traditionally trained B2B marketing folks, the sort who count business cards collected at exhibition booths as leads, worry so much about SEO they pay ‘SEO consultants’ for ‘strategy’. At heart these [back through] time travelling marketeers love nothing better than a thick, glossy brochure. The resulting brochure copy is a huge online yawn |-o.

Symptoms you have a Time Machine blog include – marketing-speak instead of engaging language, no calls to action and severely long edit cycles.

2. The Well-Meaning Amateur blog – When passionate amateurs, often from the ranks of product marketing (harsh but true) decide to blog they often do so before anyone notices. It is tolerated because they ‘know more about the product’ than anyone else. The resulting semi-official company blog looks and feels more like a support blog, which may fatally undermine a well-crafted corporate image. Worse, support revenues may become cannibalised by the ‘free advice’ on offer.

Symptoms of a WMA blog include – Lots of comments from a few readers, unexplained acronyms, no marketing oversight.

3. The ‘Me Too!’ Executive blog – When time is short (as it always is) blogging falls down a busy executive’s ‘To Do’ list like last month’s expenses. This a blog made up of repurposed, masquerading as original blog content. But if this information is available elsewhere, e.g. in the online press center, relevance drops and Google’s new algorithm hates you too. Just like the unpaid expenses, some of those readers may never be reclaimed.

Symptoms of a MTE blog include – No original content, over-length slabs of repurposed copy, falling readerships.

4. The video-only blog – No matter how cool your company, video is hard. You may think your content is just perfect for YouTube but it probably is not: here is one that is. With video there are lots of additional expensive production wrinkles to resolve. Who decides on dress sense/telegenics, on audio/camera technical quality, on output formats and who sanctions studio editing? While one of the most powerful media currently available, with a message changing as fast as many of our clients, is half-hearted video a good use of time?

Symptoms of a video blog about to go wrong include – Large planning meetings, long waits for edited content a failure to seize the moment.

If these scenarios ring true, feel free to comment, or if you are feeling adventurous, let us critique your efforts, or better still, just get your blogging on track. Remember blogging will on its own, almost never bring in sales directly. But if you can avoid these pitfalls, it can become a credible hub to a modern ‘owned media’ strategy.

Long term readers of this blog will know this post is just one of a series of five iconoclastic posts on how isolated marketing tactics do not work. For other ‘Marketing Tactics that Suck’ start here. Next time we set our sights on the whole reason for PR, Earned Media and look at why, that too, sucks today. Look forward to hearing from you.

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