While you won’t need to worry about robots – like this hamburger-flipping model – taking over your job anytime soon, there is one bot you should spend significant time thinking about: the search bot. It’s no secret that search engines like Google use bots to comb the web for relevant, helpful information to match to your audience’s search queries, and it’s been your job to convince the bot to stop at your page more often than at your competitors’.
While there’s a lot that goes into convincing an algorithm-based bot your site is valuable, one critical step involves having quality, focused and fresh content available on your site at all times. Case studies, white papers, and landing page content all serve to boost your credibility – both with search bots and with your target audience – but in order to stay relevant to your audience, you’ll need to continue producing new content to your site. One of the chief ways to do this is with a company blog.
A corporate blog helps you keep pace with changes in your industry, shifts in what your target audience cares about, and updates within your company. It also provides an outlet for any new products or differentiators you’d like to highlight. Essentially, it is a controlled environment for keeping your audience engaged with your brand by providing answers for the questions they’re asking, either consciously or subconsciously, about your brand, products, services, or about their own needs.
There is an inherent fear in writing for a company blog, or “blogging.” The fear is this: what if I run out of things to say? This is especially true of those in industries that are fairly stable no matter the economy or of companies that don’t change their services or products often. The good news is that the genesis of your next blog article is already out there, if you know where to look.
Finding Content for Your Company Blog
1. Social Media Aggregators and Trend Followers: You can’t spit online without finding an aggregator of some sort, and many are helpful ways for you to keep your fingertips on what’s happening in your industry. Feedly, for example, compiles news feeds from a variety of sources, customized to what you’re interested in. Bottlenose is a tool that combs your online networks to highlight trends in the networks you’ve identified as impotent, or can be used to search for a specific term across your social networks. It will pull out the quotes, articles, or emotions being circulated around a topic on your networks. (The free “lite” version is found here.)
2. Forums and Question-and-Answer Sites: You’ll likely have heard of user-generated content, or content developed by end-users of a product or service, such as reviews, posted comments, or questions asked on question-and-answer sites. In this instance, you’re looking for users who have used forums such as these to ask a question about a service or product important to your industry. For example, Quora is a site used by the public to ask questions. Search for an industry-relevant term, and see what people are asking about. See any trends, or questions asked by more than one person? Chances are there are more people searching for answers for those same questions via Google. Take the time to answer the question on your blog to attract searchers to your site.
3. LinkedIn Groups: Similar to using Quora, LinkedIn Groups provide an overview of what people in your industry are searching for, as well as trends in industry-level conversations. Start by joining some groups that are relevant to your business, your product-offerings, or your industry. Then, dig around to see what people are talking about, what questions are being asked, and what articles are being posted. You can then use the material there as a starting off point. For instance, you could respond to a particularly popular article, providing your own perspective or expertise on the topic. Post your response to both your own corporate blog for future readers, and post it to the LinkedIn Group to increase your brand awareness.
4. The News: Depending on your industry, new topics can be introduced by what’s being reported on popular news sites. Reports of new technology coming to the market, new standards imposed by the government, court cases coming to trial, or even celebrity and pop culture stories can spark a new idea for a blog topic.
5. Google Alerts: Let the bots work for you, not against you! You can have new content related to your chosen topics or search terms delivered right to your inbox with Google Alerts. You start by identifying the topics, industries, companies, people or search terms you want to follow. Then, by setting up an alert, when a new piece of content related to your search becomes available, Google will email it to you. From there you can repost content to your blog, alert your own audience to any interesting bits you’ve discovered, or use it to gauge what your audience might be talking about next.
Publishing in your company blog will help keep your website relevant and helpful for your target audience, which will also help your site gain credibility for search bots. Keeping a content schedule for your blog shouldn’t be a chore, but if it is, start by looking at what resources are available to you. If you’re still struggling in identifying what makes good blog content, how to create and stick to a content schedule, or how to generate buzz around your blog and site, it might be time to bring in a third party – such as Nxtbook Media – to conduct a content audit to help you build your blog capabilities. Remember, the goal is to get your target audience to find your site, and to stick around once they’re there. Let good blog content help with that.
August 12th, 2014 by Joy Beachy