Last Thursday, Lisa and I hosted a free 30-minute Blogging For Business webinar and regrettably did not have time to answer all of the questions from our attendees. Sorry, we have a tendency to talk. A lot.
Here’s a follow-up to the presentation, with your questions (hopefully!) answered.
Q: A blog roll is basically giving kudos to other blogs? Could you clarify?
A: Yup, blog rolls—lists of recommended blogs often presented as a sidebar or separate tab on your blog—is one way to give kudos to others. More importantly, it’s a way to show readers who you’re reading and who influences, informs or entertains you or your company. Blog rolls can be an effective conduit to creating community in the blogosphere—you link to people, people link back to you, and soon you’re part of a network of bloggers who read and share content, and participate in industry discussion. Blog rolls are great for “social karma” as Lisa mentioned—you might notice a spike in referral traffic because of them. It can take time to build readership, but a blog roll will show off your awareness of influencers and associate a level of thought leadership with your company. Another example of “if you build it, they will come.”
Q: If we are a big company and products and industry are discussed at a business unit level, how do we generate content for our corporate communications blog? Normally we just talk about corporate responsibility and PR news.
Q: Do you have different advice if the blog is B2C instead of B2B? For example, we’re writing for dental patients, not other dentists or dental suppliers.
A: Whether you’re writing for B2B or B2C, your overall goals are the same—create quality content and engage your readers. That said, your blog may benefit from different types of posts, whether you write for a predominantly trade or consumer audience. If you find yourself talking about the inner-workings of your company too often, not including many research-backed posts or product tie-ins for customers, or you suspect your content might be too fluffy or industry-minded, you might want to shake things up. Lists, how-to posts, multimedia- or infographic-driven stories, profiles or interviews with experts, your take on current events, corporate culture posts, contests, product tutorials, or a weekly roundup of news within your field are just a few ways to present information. Just because you write B2B doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, and just because you write B2C doesn’t mean you can’t be academic. If you’re wondering how SEO plays into the trade vs. consumer content discussion, Brandon wrote a great Cision Blog post on creating popular content to lift less-popular content. Don’t forget to measure and analyze your numbers and feedback—that’ll tell you what you’re doing right.
Q: Can Google Authorship be company-focused, instead of individually focused?
A: Google Authorship was designed with the original-and-individual author in mind. The idea is proper attribution and verification, in the increasingly social space, whether your company has a single-author blog or a multi-author blog. I doubt a group or brand has ever been successful setting up Google Authorship, since groups and brands are steeped in anonymity, and the authorship concept seeks to restore credit to individuals. For more information on setting up Google Authorship, check out this post from Brandon.
Q: You seem to be recommending NOT blogging as a company blog but being an industry blog that includes other experts who might also be competitors. If so, why would they guest blog on your blog that is connected to your web site?
A: To clarify, we at Cision Blog definitely blog with both a company audience and industry audience in mind. We will highlight corporate culture, company news and the thought leadership of employees across different departments, but we more often write with our clients and readers—the PR, marketing and media industry—in mind. I think this goes back to figuring out what your blog’s goals are, and how you’ll achieve them. Then you and your brand can decide how to straddle the line between company and industry. We definitely share your concern about including competitors. We don’t feature competitors, but prefer to engage with influencers and advocates who function as their own brands. That’s the beauty of social media and the era of the influencer—you identify individuals who are industry-famous for expertise, comments, tweets, followers and engagement. Their wisdom, personality and popularity isn’t usually tied to a direct competitor, but tied to the mission and best practices of your industry. Experts should enhance your content, and help you help your readers solve problems. For example, Dirt Devil wouldn’t interview someone from Dyson, but they may feature a renowned cleaning and home organization personality, to help an audience get the best value from a product.
Q: Any tips for the domain name of your blog? If your blog name is a bit longer, should you shorten the URL?
A: You want your blog’s domain name, like your brand name, to be intuitive and recognizable. It’s also great if your domain name is short, easy-to-remember, doesn’t include lots of punctuation and, for a sense of established professionalism, ends with dot-com. But I think it’s also important you ask yourself, where is your traffic coming from? Will readers find your blog from referral traffic—clicking a link that someone has shared—or from organic search traffic? If most of my audience is coming from Twitter, which typically uses shortened links, I wouldn’t worry too much about a long-ish name. But if I relied heavily on the graces of people querying phrases in search engines or typing my blog name directly into the address bar, I’d be scared of a potential market not being able to find me. Also remember that if you change your blog’s domain name now, you might lose your existing reader base. Complicated, huh? I reviewed a case study for Cision Blog about Nuts.com’s name change that may lay out the pros and cons. Whatever domain name you’re set on, register it now! You don’t want my crazy uncle selling it back to you for thousands of dollars.
Be sure to register here for this week’s free 30-minute webinar, Identifying the Top Contacts in Your Community. It’s at 1 p.m. CST on Thursday, January 24, and will be hosted by Cision’s own Valerie Lopez and Lisa Larranaga.