So I recently launched a brand new shiny website for a small corporation with an incredible framework that allowed for employee blogs. I was invited to hold a small workshop for the employees on how to use the blogging interface, and get everyone started. There was just one problem; hardly any of them had blogged before!
It can be a bit of a challenge for the corperate mind to see the benefits of blogging and social media. So how do you show them that it's worthwhile?
A lot of research into the benefits of blogs has already been done by HubStop. This is a company who develops software for online marketing (and they have their own very successful employee blog) I believe these guys know what they are doing, considering Google has invested almost $85M into the company.
HubSpot is leading the way in defining "inbound marketing leads." Where "outbound marketing leads" pertain to traditional means of marketing, "inbound leads" pertain to using tools like blogs, social media and SEO to build your client base. This is what their research found concerning these two types of marketing.
Pretty cool, right? This means that for every 20 people who contact you through your blog, 11 of them will become your client.
The research also shows that inbound marketing such as blogging and social media can reduce the cost per leads by 62%. Suddenly blogging makes sense for a company, doesn't it?
There are many other huge benefits that come from blogging:
- Search Engine Optimization
Google loves blogs! The more pages on your site, the better... Are your competitors blogging? If yes, then you should be too. If not, then you have an opportunity to get an edge.
- Establish yourself / your company as an industry expert
Even if you don't think of yourself as an expert, people will place you as the "go-to" guy for ideas, tips, etc. Not only potential customers will be reading your blogs, but others in your industry.
- Create relationships, connections, etc. with clients and other industry experts
- Clarify your service
By having an opportunity to really show what your company does, this will reduce unqualified leads (aka; time-wasters)
- Create interaction with comments and social media integration
- Build a climate of trust
But what do I blog about?
Even though the numbers are pretty impressive, the big questions still remains; "but what do I blog about?" Should the accountant blog about doing math all day?
No Way! Here are some tips on encouraging employees to blog.
- Blogs are NOT a place to sell! - That's what the rest of the site is for.
- Provide your unique perspective -
- Not just about work
- Blog about hobbies
- recent industry related events
- Share tips and tricks, freebies, discounts, etc. (offer rewards to your readers)
- Be free to be you (...mostly) Follow basic procedure, don't slam other employees, other companies, etc.
- Follow basic blogging etiquette. Don't reblog entire posts; quote from them. Always link your sources.
- If someone comments on your post, do your best to reply. The point of blogging is to create interaction.
- Keep it short. If you need to make it long, break it up into sections with bullet points...ahem....
So that's it! In this case, I really just encouraged everyone to have fun with the blog. It doesn't have to be a stodgy place where employees are spouting company propaganda. It is a place to humanize your business! And people connect with other people in a much deeper way than with marketing. So let your people engage your clients! Build the blog, and sales will come.... build it, and they will come.