Blogs eh? Who’d have one? Well, us, actually. And many other brands.
If you’re confused as to why any company would want to run a sideline in not-for-profit online publishing then consider this. Without constantly updated content of some kind on a website, your Google site ranking will suffer. The easiest way to have constantly updated content of some kind is with a blog (even if you call it a News section).
So any digital PR experts will tell you that having a blog can be a good idea for visibility on that there interweb. Less will be so forthcoming as to point out a few things that you really, really need to consider before diving in and putting proverbial pen to proverbial paper. The first being to make sure you use a decent platform- WordPress for example- which will allow you to have share buttons and comments forms. You know, so people can spread your work through social media, and leave feedback or thoughts (the beginning of a community).
All that should really go without saying, though, and so to really help point you in the right direction we’ve come up with five less obvious things every brand blog definitely needs if it’s going to perform the desired function- drawing people to your website and improving that site’s standing. Take a look then.
1. Original Content
Without question the most important thing is that the words appearing on the screen have never appeared anywhere else before. Or at least not in that specific order. Granted, you may not be coming up with 1,000 words of originally researched, hard-hitting feature, but just make sure you never, ever lift from other sources. Or, if you do, credit it correctly, use quotation marks, and link back to the site you’re quoting from. Otherwise it’s called theft (or plagiarism if you want to get semantic), and Google will also recognise the duplicated content.
2. Varied media
Please don’t think we’re talking down to you here- sometimes we all need a little reminding about the wonders of our digital age. Nobody wants to see grainy, ultra-low res pictures, so don’t use them. Most phones can take a good quality photo these days, so where possible snap your own, and there are loads of decent websites that offer free to use images, either available through Creative Commons licensing or as standard stock shots. Similarly, many videos on YouTube, Vimeo and other platforms can be embedded into any blog with very little hassle. Put simply- the internet is all about pictures and films, so make sure your blog is too (where appropriate…)
You could come up with the best blog post in the world so far as ideas go, your jokes might be truly hilarious and have people LOLing about the place in hysterics. None of that really matters in the long run if you can’t spell properly, structure sentences, or avoid the kind of grammatical inaccuracies that render words meaningless. Prepare what you want to publish, preview, and check the copy (words) at least three times before pressing ‘Go’; trust us, it will save much embarrassment in the long run.
Nothing winds us up more than seeing a blog that has been left unloved and neglected. It’s not-quite-forgotten about, but sits at the back of some manager’s mind, whispering, just within earshot, that it hasn’t been updated in ages. This is the thing about blogs, you see. They are so easy to set up, but much more challenging when it comes to maintaining. You’ll need to post more than once a week really, you’ll need to be sharing on social channels, and you’ll need to keep this up even when there seems to be nothing whatsoever worth writing about (trust us, there always is). To put all that another way, then, you need to be prepared for this can of worms in order for it to work.
5. SEO pack
The only properly technical piece of advice we’re including, simply because it might not be too obvious when setting yourself up. SEO is Search Engine Optimisaton, and basically means making your website as Google-friendly as possible, including your blog pages. The easiest way you can do this with no technical knowledge is by installing an ‘SEO pack’ for your blog. WordPress, for example, has a great one called Yoast, which can really help you understand and learn more about this process of fine tuning. Over time the benefits will be huge, if used effectively.