No one can argue the absolute dominance of blogs on popularity and, in turn, search engine ranking. The popularity of blogs comes from this new method of communication that has evolved on the web – more personable, less refined and genuine.
Technorati is tracking over 112.8 million blogs at the moment with thousands of blogs being created each hour. Open source applications like WordPress, Blogger, or Typepad and Vox make blogging easy. In every company, if not every IT department, you'll find at least one person blogging. It's simple:
Sounds easy, right? That's the exact way that marketing consultants are treated when we enter an organization and discuss blogging as part of an overall marketing strategies. Companies discuss blogging like it's an item on the 2008 check list. Ask a company if they blog and you get the obligatory “yup”. If they haven't, ask them what platform they are looking at and they respond with any of the “free ones”.
It's not that easy
If corporate blogging were so simple, why are the number of blogs plummeting? There are a few reasons:
- Dull conversations aren't attracting readers.
- Business blogs turn into regurgitated press releases.
- The topics don't spark comments or trackbacks.
- The posts lack personality and thought leadership.
In short, the reason why business blogs are failing are because corporations are substituting a blogging application for their content management system.
Businesses Need Help!
There are two keys to successful blogging that businesses totally overlook:
- A strategy.
- A platform that supports the strategy.
Any IT guy with an ounce of sense can throw WordPress on a server and provide the CEO with a login. This is a sure-fire way to ensure your business blog's short lifespan. It's a lot like going out and starting a lawncare business because you figured out how to start your own lawnmower.
- Gaining authority and search engine results requires a very intensive analysis of your business, its competitors, its web presence currently and where you would like it to be.
- Implementing a blogging platform that guides the blogger effortlessly through the posting process, helps the technically inept writer produce optimized content, and then automatically organizes that content for maximum search results (decided in the previously analysis and strategy) is key to a business blog's success.
- Blogging is a not an overnight success. Great blogging results require momentum and constant analysis and improvement. With business blogging, I'd also encourage a team approach where the team ensures folks are executing on a comprehensive strategy and schedule.
- Content is not driven nor approved by Marketing. If there's a dull conversation to be had, it's often due to the cleansing of content by big brother.
I love WordPress and this blog will not change from that blogging platform. However, that doesn't mean that WordPress is the ideal solution. On my ‘Create New Post' screen, there's no less than 100 options… tags, categories, status, excerpt, trackbacks, comments, pings, password protection, custom fields, post status, future posts…. sigh. Throw this screen in front of anyone and it's a bit daunting!
Your business should not have to educate users on how to use a blogging platform. You should be able to truly login, post and publish. Let the application do the rest!
Here's one example of a fantastic feature that you'll find in Compendium Blogware, a tool to assist the author to concentrate on the keywords and phrases within his post so that it has the potency to get picked up by search engines.
If you write too few or too many keywords and phrases, your score will drop! It's a fascinating little tool written by friend, PJ Hinton. Authors are advised to write for the reader, but they can achieve that and great keyword density with an ingenious tool like this.
A tool such as Compendium comes with a team of professionals who help you build the strategy, and an application that helps you to execute effective on that strategy. And you don't even need your IT person to get involved! If you don't wish to see your business blog go down the tubes, find the right people and get the right tool to execute with.
I had the pleasure of a coffee visit with Chris Baggott this morning (he's posted about theForrester research on blogging, too.
Compendium is working – concentrating content and driving tons of traffic for the businesses who've signed up. Readers are engaged and returning – and businesses are growing from the results. It's an exciting time for the company and Compendium's trends are a complete opposite to those trends that Forrester has observed.
Full Disclosure: I am a shareholder in Compendium and worked with Chris and Ali in the very early days. Compendium was a theory and whiteboard conversation back then, but Chris and the team have turned that conversation into quite a company! It's no longer a theory, it's an application that's transforming business blogging.