Let’s face it: Some blogs stink. Major corporations with large new media budgets and employees dedicated to producing a company blog also sometime produce really bad examples of what a blog should be. While one would think these sites could afford quality blog writing, it is apparent by looking at them that this is not what is happening.
Before considering what makes for an effective business blog, the best place to start is to examine some examples of business blogs gone awry.
Alcoa Recycling Company – Rather than offer real value to the visitor, this blog content more like an endless list if press releases. If Alcoa envisioned connecting personally with visitors it doesn’t show in either the design or execution.
Good Year Blimp – A brief look at this blog in April shows the last post made was in February. Inconsistency produces certain failure for a business blog to build a consistent following and produce the results a good blog should.
KFC Nation – This may be the worst blog from a major corporation in quite a while. KFC started the blog as a point of communication between employees, franchises and corporate executives. What it comes across is being something started by a bored high school student to shoot the breeze with other bored friends. The problem is there is no clear reason why the blog even exists.
Together, these three blogs illustrate how easy it is to miss the point when creating a blog in the first place. Here are some valuable lessons to learn from these good examples of bad blogs.
- Have vision: Do visitors get a sense you have a vision for your blog? If they don’t the reason is probably because there was no real vision in the creation process.
- Communicate: Blogs by nature need to be personal. They should put a face on the company or, better yet, show visitors they have a heart. Blogs should start a conversation. They should lay out a welcome mat for visitors that makes them want to come back often and tell their friends about it.
- Be creative: Some of the best professional blogs take wholly unexpected paths to accomplish the purpose of a good blog – to create conversation. One shipping management company has a blog that uses videos that have gone viral on YouTube. They are funny, put a face on the company and give people a reason to share the link with a lot of people.
- Be photogenic: There should be pictures. Think of Facebook. People love to put their photos all over their profile. The Alcoa blog leaves one wondering who actually works at the company; no faces = no personality
- Don’t take yourself too seriously: You should present yourself as an authority and always be professional. At the same time, there is a narrow line between being professional and coming across as pretentious. Blogs are about communication and community.
- Leave clear road signs: Make it easy for visitors to know where to sign up for RSS feeds, leave comments, send tweets and use other means of passing along the quality content you have worked so hard on.
Effective business blogs are the single greatest funnel for visitors to your business web site. According to Hubspot, businesses with well designed blogs get 55% more web site visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages on Google. Reason enough to avoid having a business blog that stinks.