Increasing Blog Readership

 

Think like your reader.  Why should they care?  That’s the most important tip for corporate blogging and driving more people to your blog.  In our earlier posts, To Blog or not to Blog and How to Start a Corporate Blog, we explored the value of establishing a company blog, and provided helpful tips on getting started.  The next step is engaging your readers with compelling, dynamic content that draws them in and keeps them coming back.  The amount of traffic to your company blog and readers’ comments are important indicators of success.

people-silhouetteBlog Writing Tips

To gain the attention of readers, post original content as much as possible, such as your opinions, thoughts and commentary on industry trends, news, timely issues, and important updates from your company.  Don’t regurgitate company newsletters and news releases.  The purpose of a blog is to facilitate a conversation.  Corporate blogs are most effective when they are written in an authentic human voice, as if one was speaking to a friend or colleague.

Know and understand your audiences.  Your readers may extend beyond your customers or users; they could be business partners, government officials, journalists, or potential users.  To make your posts worthwhile, write with the reader in mind.

Keep posts short, and easy to read and understand.  Write clearly, avoiding technology or business jargon.  If you must use a technical term, define it within the post, or link to the definition on Wikipedia or another online resource.  Studies show that when people are reading information online, they often scan just the headlines and the first phrase or sentence of a paragraph.  So, get to the point quickly.

Link to other blogs and sources to build a network of associates who will link to your blog in turn, and join in the conversation.

Use a clear, eye-catching headline.  A headline is the first piece of content most visitors will read on your blog, so describe the post in as few words as possible (70 characters is usually best).

Promoting Your Blog

There are several steps you can take to stand out in the increasingly crowded blogosphere:

  • Respond to reader’s comments. Read your comments regularly to thank your visitors and share additional insights – this is where the conversation happens.
  • Use a blog roll.  Research other blogs, and post a list of your favorites.
  • Establish a relationship with other bloggers.  Highlight interesting posts from other bloggers. Send them an e-mail or Tweet to let them know when you’ve published a link to one of their posts, or to share ideas and positive feedback on their work.  Consider guest blogging (having another expert post on your blog, or you post an entry on someone’s else blog).
  • Publish elsewhere online. Share your favorite links on bookmarking sites like Delicious and Diigo.  Set up an account on a microblogging service such as Twitter where you can publish very short, informative posts and continue to build relationships.  Post presentations on Slideshare. Let readers know where else to find you online by putting some links to these services in your bio, or in the sidebar.
  • Add sharing widgets.  To keep it simple, use a service like ShareThis, which offers a number of social sharing widgets beneath a single button.  This enables readers to easily share your posts on news aggregators, or bookmark them on their favorite social bookmarking sites.

To drive traffic to your company blog, syndicate the content by enabling readers to subscribe to it, and receive automatic updates, through an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed.  Ping-o-matic is a service that allows you to “ping” several search engines and news aggregators (NewsGator for example) at once to let them know your blog has been updated.

Measuring Blog Success

Tracking and analyzing traffic to the company blog can help identify the most popular topics, top referring sites, where the blog has the most traction on the Web, influence or “authority” (based on blog ranking sites), and other metrics.  This information is useful for determining ways to improve blog readership, for informing business or product development decisions, and for assessing the return on investment in the blog.  Free services like Google Analytics or Tynt Tracer are good places to start.  Using Backtype, you can search and track mentions of the blog author, company or products in blog comments, as well as collect the comments you’ve posted on other blogs, to repurpose the content and highlight it on your blog.  Greg Verdino’s blog analytics framework provides a useful list of key metrics and how they are related.

Blogging Resources

The following list of resources provide other helpful tips on how to make your blog a success:

This is the third post in the ongoing series on corporate blogging.  Any blogging topics you’d like to hear more about?