More and more businesses are discovering the benefits of corporate blogging. This includes an increasing number of Fortune 500 companies, most of whom started blogging just as the trend was picking up last year. And with the Internet fast becoming the new marketplace, you can expect it to become a cornerstone of online marketing in the future—if it hasn’t already.
Of course, there are rules to corporate blogging. You don’t blog for a business the way a college student would blog for herself. These five rules are worth keeping in mind:
1. Less is more. It sounds clichéd, but that’s because it’s true. Corporate blogs are designed to be content-oriented, and your goal should be to draw attention to it. The most successful corporate blogs favor smart, simple layouts that put the spotlight on the content rather than the visuals. While both are equally important, useful content is more likely to get you regular readership than pure eye candy.
2. Be consistent. A bit of variety won’t hurt, but it’s important that readers easily associate your blog with your business. The look and feel should be as consistent as possible with the rest of the site. The content should be relevant to your business. And although many bloggers adopt a more casual tone, it’s best to keep a level of professionalism in your writing—you still want to sound like you know what you’re doing.
3. Make it readable. You’d be surprised at the number of impressive blogs that fail from bad typography. Unless it tells them how to win the lottery, few people have the patience to squint through an article in fancy type that’s barely legible. Fonts like Arial and Verdana are popular because they can be read across all systems and browsers. The simpler your type is, the more readers you’re likely to get (and keep).
4. Use your sidebar wisely. Sidebars can come in handy, but it’s easy to overuse them in corporate blogging. Do you really need a tag cloud, an animated clock, or a Twitter feed on your site? Most corporate blogs can do away with these widgets. Use only those that really matter to your business, such as archives, a search bar, and news feeds.
5. Blog regularly. The whole point of blogging is to keep a website active, and to give readers something to come back to. If you update once or twice a month, chances are people will forget they even read your first entry. Regular posts tell readers that you’re keeping up to date and making a real effort to reach your market.
Blogging is one of those things that can make or break your business. It’s not as simple as tapping out your thoughts whenever the urge strikes. But if you play by the rules, you’ve got a big soapbox all to yourself and your business—and a foothold on one of the strongest marketing tools of this age.