Fundamentals of a solid company blog

Most of the websites I scour on a daily basis are other marketing sites, and for the most part, they have it together. The blogs of other industries, however, are a different story; the brands don’t always see the value. I’m so used to stumbling upon a company’s blog that hasn’t been updated since its “Welcome to our blog!” post circa 2007, it often takes me by surprise to see a non-marketing company investing time and effort into its web log (a little trivia for you there). This post features three seemingly dull industries that are actually doing a great job with content creation.

Blogging Fundamentals

Niche 1: Air Conditioning Blog

When I googled “air conditioning blog,” the first result to populate was a company called A #1 Air. Unlike the days of yore in which brands could “rank” first in the yellow pages, a name like A#1 isn’t going to increase a website’s visibility in the search engines. Google doesn’t exactly deliver results alphabetically.

Air Conditioning Blog in Google screenshot

Adaptation is essential

What stood out to me more than anything was this brand’s willingness to adapt to the requirements of the digital age. It takes years to build a blog that can rank well in search engines (not to mention first position for “air conditioning blog”). A#1 obviously jumped ship upon realizing no one really uses YellowBook anymore, except as a makeshift booster seat or a doorstopper.

Don’t forget local terms

The blog’s content is pretty solid for the most part. As someone who isn’t a homeowner, it’s hard for me to gauge whether the posts are super helpful or not. I applaud this brand’s use of local terms in addition to industry keywords; companies that serve a restricted geographic area are dependent upon ranking for local terms. However, I would warn against using them too often, as it tends to deflate the authenticity of the posts.

Local Keywords in blog

Organization is important

User experience is a significant deciding factor for whether or not a visitor to a blog stays or leaves. This blog makes it possible to search and browse for past posts in a myriad of ways, including a search bar at the top, a list of archives organized by month, categories, and tags. It’s probably not necessary to employ all of these options, but doing so doesn’t hurt.

What I want to see:

While this blog is updated pretty consistently and does a great job of targeting keywords, it would be nice to include a more tangible post. By this, I mean visualizing a problem (even a small one) with photos and then including a step-by-step explanation of how to fix it. The posts often ask readers to contact A#1 for their air conditioning needs, but I think a tactical post would help. It’s okay to give away secrets or a process because most visitors in need of a service aren’t going to do it themselves anyway. Rather, they appreciate the brand’s willingness to share information. It instills a sense of trust.

Niche 2: Logistics Blog

Whatever the industry, there are people searching for answers. A blog provides the perfect platform for answering these questions. Besides shedding light on the industry as a whole or how a particular brand’s process works, brands can use their blog as a place for sharing news. Burris Logistics does exactly that.

Showing brand involvement

One way to showcase expertise is to document and share industry involvement. In this case, Burris Logistics frequents conferences and workshops to collaborate, network, and learn about the latest industry news and trends. As a visitor to the blog, I appreciate Burris Logisticsa dedication to investing in education for both the brand and its employees.

Logistics blog showing involvement

Transparency: a sweet PR move

B2B brands often struggle to generate unique content in an interesting way. In between technical or informative posts, it’s refreshing to feature articles that serve as PR-esque buffers. This blog, for example, dedicates an entire post to employees celebrating an anniversary with the company. Through the employee interviews, readers learn a lot about the brand’s devotion to employees’ growth and well-being, as well as the kind of culture this brand provides.

Logistics blog showing employees

What I want to see:

I wish the employees in attendance to the logistics conferences had been able to share some of the information they learned. Doing so could spark a conversation with other professionals in the industry. More than anything, it would prove that the employees of Burris Logistics truly benefited from the experience. Even though the blog’s general audience may not fully understand or appreciate the content, it would recognize the brand’s interest in transferring trust and information.

Niche 3: Insurance Blog

The third and final industry I explored was insurance. The big names have a reputation for investing very heavily on television ads. Often times, the purpose of the spot isn’t even related to insurance, but to drill the brand name into the viewers’ psyche. What about those of us who are more inclined to search for insurance companies based on needs, not brand names? And those of us who don’t have a TV (looks around hopefully)? There is hope yet; Home Insurance, a mid-sized insurance company, is whipping up some pretty great, totally realistic posts on its blog.

Information is always a good start

Home Insurance impressed me with the overall quality of its posts. The latest article, for example, dives into extreme detail on the subject of water damage, including how homes become damaged in the first place (who knew clogged gutters could cause it?).

Insurance blog informational

Try harder to be interesting

I know how difficult it can be to put a new spin on a subject. What’s important to realize, though, is that even a slight variation or perception of a subject can resonate with completely different audiences. One blog post, for example, could have been one inclusive article about insuring personal items, but instead it focused on record collections specifically. While my humble assortment of Pixies and Pavement vinyl may not be anything worth insuring, the post title caught my eye immediately and heightened my respect for the brand.

Think beyond your realm of expertise.

One thing I love about this blog is that it seems legitimately devoted to benefiting its readers. For example, it recently reached out to professional bloggers to assemble a list of handy money-saving tips. Is insurance mentioned anywhere? Not that I can tell a all I see are an armful of tips from normal people about saving a few bucks. These practical snippets convey to me that the brand is committed to its consumers enough to invest in a project that really has nothing to do with insurance. Home Insurance wasnat afraid to seek advice from others a and the end result is a super robust, sharable, helpful infographic.

Insurance company infographic

 

Flash that Authorship

People generally want to know who has written the post. It’s just comforting to be able to associate a name with the words you’re reading. Sometimes brands will accrue a following due to a specific member on the blog. Donat inhibit this by keeping blog posts anonymous (of course there are exceptions). I appreciate the latest post linking to the author’s Google+ page; it makes stalking way easier.

Allow for a response

The most effective content evokes a desire to chime in. Whether by sharing with Twitter followers or replying to the article in the comment section, a reader should be able to effortlessly take action. A proper blog should be enhanced with social share buttons and commenting capabilities. This blog gets a thumbs-up for accomplishing both a as well as a high five for adding embedding instructions to its recent infographic.

Insurance company social buttons

What I want to see:

Honestly, there’s not much I can really add to this one. This particular brand impressed me the most with its ability to provide industry information without trying too hard for the sale. There’s even a sweet poll that allows visitors to vote on the type of post subject they are most interested in. Wow. Well done. I suppose the one bit of advice I could dish out is to remove the dates from the post URLs; keeping keywords close to the root domain is the best approach.

Conclusion

Blogs are critical elements of a website. They allow brands to share their expertise to an audience that’s actually interested. How companies still see the value in expensive TV ads more than their personal domain is hard (for me) to understand. When a content strategy meets implementation, a company can experience a serious spike in authority and traffic. And let’s not forget that consistently updating a website with fresh content is a major indication to search engines of a caring website. If you’ve been struggling to understand how a brand can constantly generate content that will actually target keywords and help an audience, hopefully this post has reminded you that it is possible, despite your industry.