Top Corporate Blogging Trends of 2009


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Top Corporate Blogging Trends of 2009

  1. 1. Webinar Recap: 2008 TOP CORPORATE BLOGGING TRENDS By Chris Baggott
  2. 2. As I compose my thoughts on the corporate blogging trends we will witness in 2008, a little background might be helpful. I came to blogging in 2003 the way most marketers did. I was looking for something to build my personal credibility as an expert in my industry. I wanted to get speaking engagements at conferences, be a voice for best practices in my industry, and if I was lucky, get invited to write a book. By 2006, all of those things had come true. I was speaking at nearly 50 events a year and was invited by Wiley publishing to write a book on email marketing best practices, Email Marketing By the Numbers. The blog was very helpful to me personally, and the industry visibility clearly drove more opportunities to my company. But along the way, I found a benefit to corporate blogging that was unanticipated and much more powerful. The blog ranked well in organic search. Not only did it rank in the top of search results for select keywords, it also converted at a higher rate than the ads my organization was paying for. The reality of blogging is this: the more you do it, the more opportunities you have to engage in dialog. This is the epiphany that led me to study blogging as a measurable marketing tool. The following trends are things I’ve learned along the way, and what I expect to see in widespread business use in 2008. 1. ROI Based on SEO In 2008, the light-bulb will go off in the heads of marketers everywhere, and they will realize the huge potential of using blogging for search engine optimization. The reality is that as organizations feed billions into Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising trying to target both wide ranging and specific keywords, they hit limits with their corporate website, which is difficult to search optimize for more than a few searches due to usability constraints. Blogs, on the other hand, are the perfect way to be present on a wide variety of terms when someone comes searching. Blogs play up all of the factors that search engines take into consideration when determining how to rank a webpage. The simple fact is that entering a URL into a browser is outdated. People let the magic search box that do the work for them. Your job as a marketer is to show up; to be present at that point. Until now the focus has been on PPC strategies alone. 2008 will be the year that Corporate Blogging plays a big role righting this imbalance.
  3. 3. 2. Widespread Employee Blogging. At the end of the day, search engines are looking for good, targeted content. And for an SEO strategy to work, the organization needs to have a wide range of search terms, topics, and voices. So what’s the easiest way to create a bunch of good, targeted content? By freeing up several people to write it. It seems impossible until you recognize that your organization is full of smart passionate people who actually like their jobs, care about the customers, think they are doing important work and want the organization to be successful. The simple way I like to think about it is if someone is worthy of having a business card or facing the customer, they are worthy of having a blog. 3. Control Is OK. Trend #2 may sound terrifying to most organizations. The reality is that in spite of what most traditional bloggers say, it is mandatory that organizations have control over their content. Yes you want to empower as many people as possible to generate content on behalf of the organization, but just as importantly, organizations have to recognize that this is not the same as journalism. That is not to say that nothing negative ever shows up in your blogs. If an organization has a problem it my in fact be in the best interest of that organization to acknowledge the issue publicly….it is often more dangerous for an organization to bury its head than to get involved in the public discussion. Corporate blogging is not a free-for-all. Most organizations struggle with widespread blogging because all they have are “policies,” not actual control. 2008 will see a rise in blogging tools that actually provide the control a business needs. 4. Conversion Goals. Unlike journalism, which has a goal of generating traffic for the sake of pulling in eyeballs for advertising, the other 99% of organizations in the world have more specific goals for their web traffic. That goal is conversion, and corporations will begin to recognize that they need to have the same conversion standards for their blogs. Corporations have one real reason for existence, and that’s to make money. Web pages help in the moneymaking effort. It seems so obvious that if an organization is creating bolgs, generating search traffic and readers, the next logical step is to get those readers/searchers to the next step in the relationship. So what’s your next step? What is unique about blogging is that oftentimes, organizations will see higher conversions than with their traditional site. 5. Social Conversion. Social conversion is a theory based on an old Zig Ziglar axiom that “people buy from people.” This is so simple yet so often forgotten by marketers. In a sense, marketing has been corrupted
  4. 4. over the past 50 years or so behind mass marketing and “The Brand.” The Brand says that people trust and buy because of the brand, and it forgets all about people. The most telling lesson of the whole social networking phenomenon is that your customers trust other human beings more than they trust your brand. The lesson for Corporate America is that you better find a way to expose a lot more of your humanity. The web and blogging gives you that ability. When a searcher enters a keyword phrase and lands on a post that is written using an exact match to their phrase, a post that is written by a person…which leads to dialog. 6. Marketing Democracy. If you think about the world of marketing, it’s been very much about the haves vs. the have-nots. If marketing success is based on budget, those with the biggest budget buy the most reach and frequency and have the most success. The rich keep getting richer and the poor poorer…until the revolution. The revolution in marketing today is happening through the Internet and technology. No one can buy their way up to the top of the organic charts. Blogging success is all about passion and focus and has very little to do with budget. Blogging technology is cheap and easy to use. You don’t need IT or equipment, and you only pay for consumption. 7. Localization. I’ve heard the adage “Think Globally, Act Locally” for just about my entire professional life. The problem of course is that is was nearly impossible to execute from a marketing standpoint. Corporate Blogging introduces the idea of geo-specificity. This benefits both local businesses as well as large enterprises that want to “act locally.” In fact, a recent Piper Jaffrey study found that <50% of all searches had local intent. How this plays into corporate blogging is simple: Add geography to your blog posts. If you talk about your locations, this will be incorporated into your content and included in how you are ranked. Have local people blog or solicit feedback from local customers. Obviously if you are a small business that is constrained by your geography, this is your chance. 8. Spaghetti. This trend is a little off the wall…or perhaps on the wall is a better way to put it. A discredited strategy for any kind of marketing has been, “Let's throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks.” With blogging, here’s your chance. Corporate blogging is largely based on content and volume. For the most part, more content is better. And by throwing a lot at the wall, you’ll get to see what sticks content-wise (what post leads to the highest conversion?) and with respect to search terms.
  5. 5. 9. Video. Nothing tells a story like video. Nothing really gets to the personality of the person or organization like video. As quality goes up, and the cost and pain of production falls, video will be an assumed component of every corporate blog. Hosting your video outside of your company on sites like YouTube greatly enhances your SEO as well. 10. Data Driven Blogging. Data-driven blogging is a concept that stems from email marketing trends of personalization and attributes. Today in the journalism and Unlimited corporate world blogging consists of Trend Ten: Data topic topic topic Driven Blogging disparate content based on individual QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. authors. Collectively however, those authors QuickTime™ and a QuickTime™ and a QuickTime™ and a decompressor decompressor decompressor are needed to see this picture. are needed to see this picture. are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. within an organization probably have a lot of QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. overlap on all kinds of topics and categories. QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. What if the reader cares about a topic as QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. opposed to an individual? We’ll see that person reading the topical blog regardless of the author. Additionally, if marketers can drive a personalized email or serve a dynamically generated web page we can certainly expect that corporate blogs will develop the same characteristics to become even more personalized based on reader attributes. As we review this list, we can see that corporate blogging is just getting started. The entire concept of blogging as an effective and responsible marketing tool is in its infancy. 2008 will be the breakout year, and we’ll see a lot of innovation, benefits, and mistakes. What’s sure is that by 2009, corporate blogging will be as much of a standard tool in a marketer’s kit as email is today.