How Do Business Blogs Get Creative?

creative blog content

Get your hands dirty and be creative!

There’s an incredible amount of blog posts published daily urging you to start blogging, optimize your website for search, jump on social media to drive traffic to your business website. But one thing I started thinking about this morning (whilst feeling sorry for myself, down with flu) is just how little constructive help there is with actually creating content.

Outstanding online content is what will make you stand out from the crowd and generate interest from visitors to your site.

One of the things that all the outstanding corporate blogs that Mark Schaefer mentioned in The 10 Best Corporate Blogs in the World was just how good the content was. Varied, entertaining content.

But if you’re a newbie or looking to take your blogging to the next level, what kind of content should you be looking to share?

One of the best ways of generating ideas is to actually read blogs in the first place! Not just in your sector, but a broad selection of blogs.

From my own reading of the last couple of days I’ve spotted five types of posts that could inspire your own creative content creation if you turned them to your own business.

So here are a few suggestions of things you could try:

  • a discussion of the results and implications of an industry survey (Cf Charlotte Britton’s post on social media adoption in Yorkshire (UK) over at Quest PR).
  • a brief piece of audio content (or podcast), embedded in your blog (Cf Donna Papacosta’s post on why use audio).
  • a low-cost, entertaining vlog or video (Cf: I loved this video some of my students made to market their school. They got over 5000 views in less than a week!)
  • an e-book that generously shares important knowledge and information (Cf Danny Brown’s From Stats to Strats).
  • a genuine invitation to your audience to comment on your products or services (Cf Starbucks are masters at this, generating masses of online audience participation).

Your Turn!

What other kinds of posts would really make a corporate blog swing?

Has Your Business Blog Lost its Mojo?

Tired? Feeling fed up with business blogging?

The recent talk in the blogosphere of business blogs losing their mojo doesn’t surprise me. After all, what with Planet Facebook seemingly conquering everything in its way, and Twitter getting a lot of mainstream media attention, it’s only natural blogs would lose some of their shine.

If you’re a business blogger bashing out stories on a daily basis for your company, or a small business blogger trying to grow your business with online content marketing, you’d be forgiven for developing a hefty dose of bloggers block in response to all the bad vibes that seem to be out there right now.

After all, there’s nothing like having your confidence knocked when the likes of Joel Spolsky point out that “Most company blogs have almost no readers, no traffic, and no impact on sales.”

But if you’re struggling with bloggers block, or not getting the results you want:

  • don’t just bury your head in your hands or give up posting.
  • don’t fall into a downward spiral of negative thinking.
  • get out there and look around the business blogosphere and see what other people are doing.

There’s plenty to inspire you!

If you’re stuck writing, try vlogging for a change. Or why not put a presentation up on SlideShare? Take some photos, talk to people, keep a notebook full of ideas to draw on. Get creative!

Online content marketing isn’t a sprint race. It’s a long distance journey and you have to be in it for the long haul. That means committing to producing quality content over time.

The bottom line is you need to develop you online presence with relevant content that speaks to your ideal customer in a way that understands the problems they face and the solutions they seek. Worry about that. Not what the others are saying!

Happy business blogging!

Business Blogs RIP?

Mark W. Schaefer's Grow is a MUST for marcom bloggers

Mark W. Schaefer’s post yesterday – New report suggests corporate blogging may be at saturation point– really bugged me. In a good way! Actually, the apparent demise of business blogging has been on my mind ever since, during dog walks and working out at the gym, and I’ve been struggling to find the best way to respond.

In the end I decided to abandon a hefty second comment on Mark’s blog and continue the conversation here.

The Back Story

If you haven’t got time to go back and read Mark’s post (and you should really go back and read it!), he notes that Fortune 500 companies seem to have got their head around Twitter, but really aren’t pushing business blogs to the next level.

Mark wonders if corporate blogs are falling by the wayside because companies struggle “to be responsive and authentic” when they have to get everything reviewed by the legal department.

He then posts some great questions – that I’m now going to answer:

A Blog-to-Blog Interview

Mark Schaefer: What is the role of a blog in the corporate communications structure?

Jon Buscall: I think business blogs are incredibly important to corporate communications. First and foremost, businesses should be listening to blogs! There’s been so much talk of brand monitoring with Twitter that the conversation about blogs has dropped away.

Blogs are still incredibly important to corporations because bloggers still write about what’s going on. 140 words on Twitter doesn’t give you the whole story.

Chris Brogan’s got a great post on Growing Bigger Ears. Corporates need to do that and remember that the blogosphere is still where conversations are taking place.

Blogs are also significant because they offer corporations a great way of showing who they really are, instead of just telling us.

Here in Sweden SaltÃ¥ Kvarn’s business blog shows that they really are passionate people that care about ecological food rather than just trying to brand this with advertising. I love that about them.

But business blogs aren’t just about showing who we are or what we can do; they’re incredibly important for crisis management. Sure, you can achieve similar results with Twitter and Facebook Pages, but the structure of a blog allows you more space to respond effectively.

After Southwest Airline’s handling of the “Kevin Smith debacle“, I would have got them to make much more use of their blog than they did. They could have used it to apologise, laugh at themselves for being such idiots with some cool content, and worked hard to make up some of the ground they lost. Still, the fact they had a blog allowed them to tell their side of the story. Every business needs that kind of channel.

Mark Schaefer: What are the benefits versus the cost of approvals and the time needed from executives to sponsor the work?
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