Companies know blogging is important. This is why 254 million consumers publish online content and 34 percent of Fortune 500 companies have corporate blogs. Blogging filled a void, giving those without publishing deals a voice to share their insights and knowledge. However, this advantage did not come without its drawbacks. It also introduced a lot of noise online that companies need to cut through if they want to be heard.
At ClickZ Live New York, Max Sebela from Tumblr and Dan Cristo from Catalyst spoke about the traits found in the best bloggers as suggestions for how companies can recreate them for success. Here are 11 of their tips:
1. Be consistent
Cristo asserted the best blogs (and brands) are consistent -from their graphics and design style to their voice. He pointed out that Steve Jobs was repetitive in wardrobe (known for his black turtleneck), but also in the way he spoke about things , frequently using phrases like “reinvent” to hammer home the brand’s dedication to innovation.
If companies want to be more consistent with their writing, they can start by:
- Creating a style guide
- Creating a tagline
- Monitoring what people are saying about them
Brands that deliver content consistency to a community will earn loyalty among readers.
2. Be persistent
- Guest blog (Although this has recently drawn scrutiny, there are still plenty of ways to do it safely.)
- Schedule content sharing
- Join communities
3. Evoke something in readers
People are triggered by emotions and fascination. Power bloggers understand this and harness their words in a way to draw the most interest. Some of the characteristics people generally find most fascinating are: Power, mystique, trust, rebellion, passion, prestige, alarm and rebellion.
To make content more evocative, Cristo suggested using:
- Emotional triggers in headlines
- Images and video wherever possible
- Calls to action that lead the user to the next post – interlinking your content together keeps people clicking.
PRO TIP: Here’s a telltale sign that you’re fascinating: Polarization – people will either love you or hate you.
4. Do it at scale
Data shows the top 100 blogs put out 20 pieces of content per day and some at the very top do even more. The Huffington Post allegedly publishes upwards of 100 pieces of collateral a day. Cristo said this probably isn’t realistic for the average company blog, and it’s also not necessary. But Brafton’s reported that regularly publishing content has clear benefits in engaging readers and attracting repeat, higher-converting traffic.
The ClickZ panelists also offered some tips to beef up daily production volumes. Here are two solutions he suggested:
- Collaborate – Forbes has 340 contributors, some paid and others who offer up their ideas to ride on the brand’s coattails.
- Curate – There are a lot of ways to do this, such as bringing older content out of the vault to be shared or using tools that bring great content to you.
5. Make something worth reading and sharing
When Sebela took the stage to discuss blogging on Tumblr, he made it clear businesses using the platform have a lot of responsibility to their readers. They need to make things that are worth reading and sharing. If they get the experience right, the rest will come.
He suggested the companies that use this medium – or any digital distribution platform, for that matter – to share overtly promotional assets really struggle to yolk their audiences.
6. Find a tribe of brand evangelists
Close friends and family members are the people who provide the most support (and do the best favors). Cristo said companies should take the same kind of approach when it comes to their blogging and build a community, or tribe, filled with people who are also creating great content in related subject areas. Think of this as a marketing crush. If those writers notice another brand is consistently sharing their articles and putting out interesting articles, they may start to share those pieces, too.
7. Join communities that are related to interests and commit
Again, this is a matter of consistency. If you’re an auto company, join an auto community and be true to that identity. Once publishers enter communities across web forums and channels, they have to remember that every post is an opportunity (either seized or missed).
In the words of Sebela, “One post can get you a click, a follow and a reblog.”
As the content bubble continues to build, publishers will only face more competition to stand out. Challenging as that is, it gives writers and designers and marketers a golden wrung to reach.
8. Syndicate content
Some sites will agree to syndicate things that are published on other websites because they understand that collaboration is in the recipe for online success. For instance, an article originally created by a blogger might get picked up and re-published on a larger aggregate site (say, Entrepreneur.com) with proper citations and links. And there’s a chance that same article is posted again on another similar site posts the piece again because it’s relevant to its reader-base.
Syndication is fine as long as it’s properly attributed, Cristo asserted.
9. Create something that speaks for itself
Instead of using words to sell, create a cohesive brand story that’s both recognizable and seamless.
Sebela referenced The Great Gatsby GIF released in advance of the movie’s debut. It was cut from an existing trailer and had some fresh text attached, declaring it the summer of Gatsby. What was special about this piece was that it looked like Leonardo DiCaprio was toasting the viewer. It created a snapshot of the brand – celebratory and luxurious, dashing – in a universal way that users could share.
10. Share your best visual content
“Your product is a story, so tell the best one you can,” said Sebela. Specifically, he spoke to the importance of using visuals to highlight product strengths or create a (literal) image of a brand.Depending on the particular post, this can be achieved with custom graphics, video or images across platforms.
“Your product is a story, so tell the best one you can.” – Sebela.
11. Define by interests
Blogs without a focus will struggle to build authority within a niche. If a blogger is interested in cooking, healthy recipes and documentaries, his content should reflect that. Likewise, a business selling cloud security software should be sharing content that reflects its commitment to innovation and privacy protection.