Five Keys to a Vibrant Corporate Blog

It should be no secret that I’m an enthusiastic advocate for corporate blogs.

While they do involve resources, commitment and a lot of work, a corporate blog can be an invaluable way to provide information, insight and perspective to a variety of audiences.

They let companies have public conversations, and provide them with social media credibility by showing they can talk the talk about walk the walk.

Blogs are also terrific content “engines” that can feed other corporate activities such as social media, newsletters, Webinars and case studies.

Corporate blogs can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They can be fun, entertaining, engagement, enlightening or serious depending on what a company does and the audiences it wants to reach.

Regardless of what kind of blog a company operates, there are some key elements to ensure success. (Note: “success” depends in many ways, how a company wants to define it – be it pageviews, leads, comments, tweets, etc.)

1. Be consistent. Take a realistic view of how often posts should and can be written. Whether it’s one post a week or five times a week, the key is selecting an editorial schedule, and then sticking to it. This sets expectations for readers so they know what’s coming and when.

2. Avoid being too corporate-centric. A good blog not only serves multiple audiences but serves up different kinds of blog posts as opposed to constantly churning out posts about new products or services. If there’s no variety, people will tune out pretty quickly.

In an ideal world, posts can be about nearly anything as long as they are relevant and connect in some way to what a company does. Mint.com, for example, recently had a post on making homemade sauces, jams and preserves. What does this have to do with personal finance? Well, if you’re trying to save money, making your own sauces, jams and preserves makes complete sense.

3. Strive to become an industry resource. One of the things we’ve tried to do with the Sysomos blog is generate a steady flow of information and insight about what’s happening within the social media landscape. Often, these posts have little or nothing to do with Sysomos’ social media monitoring and analytics services…and that’s okay.

So what’s our goal, and why do write so many posts? We’re hoping to become a valuable and interesting resource for people looking to learn more about what’s going on with social media. At the same time, we’d like to become a vibrant member of the social media blogosphere. If, in the process, we get people interested in what we’re doing, that’s definitely a bonus.

4. Don’t operate in a blogging silo. While it’s important to write posts to attract readers, there is also a lot of people writing great posts as well. It’s important to not only recognize these efforts but “reward” them by writing posts that provide perspective or commentary on other peoples’ ideas. This not only sparks a conversation but it’s a way to put the spotlight on compelling content, regardless of where it comes from.

Another key to avoid the blogging silo is commenting on other peoples’ blogs. It not only adds to conversations on other blogs but provides another opportunity to show your insight and thoughts.

5. Give your blog lots of love. Let’s face it, the blogosphere is a crowded place with lots of voices battling for attention. This means it’s important for a company to blow its own horn about its blog.

Rather than expecting people to discover the blog, the blog needs to have a prominent position on the Web site, other social media services, email signatures, business cards, letterhead, marketing collateral, and videos. In other words, the blog should be promoted everything given its role as a key part of a company’s communications, marketing and sales efforts.

What are your suggestions for making sure a company’s blog is vibrant and successful?