Why Your Corporate Blog Is Going to Fail and How You Can Fix It

corporate blog

Why would you start a corporate blog? Chances are it’s to communicate with your customers, build your brand, or generate sales. If your blog isn’t helping you with one of those 3 things, you’re wasting your time.

From the outside, it looks like I’m a successful corporate blogger because all of my blogs generate hundreds of thousands of visitors. And although that’s true, it doesn’t mean my blogs are successful.

Why? Because my blogs didn’t always help with one of the 3 main points above. Luckily, I was able to spot what was amiss and fix it.

Download this cheat sheet of 7 rules to follow to succeed with your corporate blog.

If you want your corporate blog to thrive, learn from the mistakes I made and avoid them.

Rule #1: Only blog on relevant content

At KISSmetrics, our ideal customer is a marketer who works at an e-commerce or subscription-based business. For that reason, we should be writing about all things marketing, right?

Guess again! We tried the approach of blogging on marketing-related content, but the visitors this type of content attracts don’t tend to convert into customers. Plus, brand recognition we get from this type of audience isn’t very beneficial to us as it isn’t our ideal customer.

We realized that our content needs to be fine-tuned to our audience. What I mean by this is that if you are targeting marketers who work at e-commerce companies, you can’t write about general e-commerce marketing. You need to get much more specific.

For example, at KISSmetrics, people buy our product to help analyze their traffic data. In an ideal world, we should only be blogging on content that helps marketers at these e-commerce companies analyze their data. Even if the content is on competitor products, it’s still a good move as long as it offers analytics advice relevant to e-commerce marketers.

Based on our data, that’s the type of content that converts blog readers into customers – at least for us. If you are going to write on your corporate blog, make sure your content is very specific to your target audience. Don’t go too broad, even if that means you get less traffic, as the broad content won’t drive any signups.

Rule #2: Don’t publish your best content on your site

Chances are you are not getting a few hundred thousand visitors a month on your blog. So, when you write an amazing piece of content, very few people will read it and share it on the social web.

For this reason, your best piece of content should be posted on someone else’s blog.

Just think of it this way. Blogs like Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, or Forbes probably get in excess of a 1,000 times, if not 10,000 times, more traffic than your blog. So if you publish your niche article on those sites, it will get more eyeballs because they have a much larger readership base.

By guest-posting, you’ll drive relevant traffic back to your site, generate more leads, and gain more blog readers.

This strategy is so effective that I myself guest-post five times a week. Guest-posting on sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Mashable has been a strong strategy for all of my startups.

If you want to learn how to get your good pieces of content published on popular sites, follow the steps in this article.

Rule #3: Train your readers to buy

Your readers won’t convert into customers unless you train them to buy. Blogging is a double-edge sword. Releasing great content is a great way to build up your traffic and brand, but people become so accustomed to reading your great content for free that they expect you to give away your product and service for free.

I know this may sound weird, but it is true. So true that I myself get over 20 emails a day from people asking me to give my services and products to them for free. Why? Because all of my blog content is free.

By no means should you make your blog content paid. Instead, you should train your readers to buy. The simplest way to do this is to have them make micro-commitments, forcing them to take an action to receive a benefit.

Here are some examples of micro-commitments:

  • Instead of giving people a free e-book, make them give you their emails to read the e-book. This will teach them that they have to give you something to receive a benefit in return.
  • Don’t just email your users the free e-book. Email them a link to it. This way they’ll be taught to “click” to receive a benefit. This will make it easier for you to get them to click on your “Buy” button later on.
  • Ask your readers to share your content every once in a while. A quick little message at the end of your blog post asking them to tweet your content will teach your readers to reciprocate.

By teaching your readers to take action, you are more likely to generate sales from your blog. When my buddy Timothy Sykes started to teach his readers to take action, he was able to increase his revenue by 84%. He made no changes to the product or service he was offering. He just taught his readers to buy.

Rule #4: Always be consistent

A lot of bloggers take their foot off the gas pedal, especially when their traffic stops growing.

Back in 2009, my Quick Sprout traffic was flat. It was so flat that I decided to slow down on my blogging.

In May of 2009, a bit more than 45,000 people visited Quick Sprout.

traffic may 2009

In June, I didn’t blog, which caused my traffic to dip by 21%.

traffic june 2009

Just because your traffic isn’t going up doesn’t mean it won’t go down. It took you a lot of time and energy to get your blog to where it is, so don’t be foolish – don’t take your foot off the gas pedal.

It took me 3 months to recover that 21% traffic drop, so don’t make the same mistake I’ve made. By being consistent, you will be ensuring that your traffic roughly stays the same, if not increases.

Whether it rains or snows, you need to keep a consistent blogging schedule.

Rule #5: Build a connection with your readers

I do this extremely well on Quick Sprout, but not as well on my corporate blogs – KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg. Every time someone leaves a comment on Quick Sprout, I do my best to respond.

Encouraging engagement is a great way to increase your revenue. The best way to encourage engagement is to respond to comments. It’s so effective that 68.1% of my revenue on Quick Sprout has come from someone who has commented before.

On KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg blogs, very few writers respond to commenters. For this reason, I myself started to reply to the comments on those blogs. It’s been helping a lot too – the repeat visit traffic is slowly increasing. Quick Sprout still gets the highest percentage, which sits at 40.8%, but I should be able to get KISSmetrics there within a year, and Crazy Egg within 2 years.

Without a strong connection to your readers, you won’t have many of them buying your product or service. What you need to do is follow these steps to encourage more comments.

Rule #6: You can’t make money if you don’t have eyeballs

If no one is visiting your site, how can you expect to make any money? Sure, search traffic will slowly increase over time, and more people will eventually link to your site, but you don’t have the time to wait for your blog to become popular organically.

So, how do you gain eyeballs at a fast pace? You’ll have to leverage the social web. From Facebook to Twitter, social sites are the quickest way to generate traffic for a new blog.

Tweeting and sharing from your own profiles is a good start, but it isn’t enough. You also need to get your co-workers and friends to share your content.

Eventually, you’ll notice a consistent stream of traffic every time you release a new blog post. Then, what you’ll want to do is buy Facebook ads like we do on the Stride blog. For ten dollars, from our Facebook fan page, we can tell Facebook that we want the post to be seen by people interested in sales.

By spending ten dollars per blog post on Facebook, we are able to increase the number of likes we get per post from 5 to over 400. The likes are from real people who are converting into customers. Google Analytics is showing that this strategy is driving us a bit more than 16,630 new visitors each month.

If you can’t organically grow your traffic, spending a bit of money to acquire eyeballs isn’t a bad thing.

Rule #7: Monetize early

I used to wait till I had over 100,000 visitors before I monetized my corporate blogs. I did this with KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg. Boy, was that a huge mistake!

We didn’t really start capturing leads for KISSmetrics until our blog hit over 300,000 monthly visitors. With Crazy Egg, we waited till we had at least 200,000 monthly visitors.

The issue with waiting this long was that it took longer than it should have to find out that our reader base didn’t convert well into customers. Why? Because the traffic we were driving wasn’t very relevant to our product, which hits upon Rule #1.

We slightly shifted our focus with both of the blogs. At Crazy Egg, we started to write more content on conversion optimization, which is what our core audience is about. And at KISSmetrics, we started to produce more analytics-based content for e-commerce and subscription sites.

Sure, we still have a long way to go before our traffic becomes more qualified, but if we’d started monetizing earlier, we could have saved a lot of time and money.

By monetizing, you will quickly get a sense of where your blog stands and how qualified your traffic is. So, instead of waiting for you to get 100,000 visitors a month before you try to generate revenue from your blog, start testing the waters when you hit 10,000 visitors a month.

Conclusion

As a blogger, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, especially with my two corporate businesses, KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg.

Corporate blogging isn’t rocket science. If you follow the rules above and make your decisions based on data, you’ll notice a huge increase in traffic. More importantly, your traffic will convert from readers into customers.

Don’t make the mistakes I made. If you already have made them, work on fixing them right away. The longer you wait, the harder it will be.

What else can you do with your corporate blog to ensure its success?

Comments

  1. Nikhil Waghdhare :

    Hey Neil,

    These are some great business blogging tips. I like #1 #2 #3 and #4 most. These tips also work great on non business blogs also to make a great revenue from blogging..

    Thank you for sharing this great tips Neil…. 😉

  2. Great post Neil! I own a blog writing and management service and often times I see issues with rule #1 and rule #4. Typically a small business owner has been running the blog and they are posting off-topic and not maintaining a consistent publishing schedule.

  3. Hi Neil,

    Absolutely you are 100% right. I believe that one should always try to experiment new things to convert their traffic as it differs from blog to blog.

  4. Lewis - Marketing Bees :

    If anyone takes anything from this post it NEEDS to be #2. Yes, the others are certainly worth taking on board but far too often people submit crappy guest posts in the hope that they might get a little traffic and/or a backlink.

    The problem is people need to understand that guest posting and publishing in other media outlets is a branch of any content marketing strategy and can help to win long term readers of your blog.

  5. Hey Neil,

    You are right in all your points, thanks for sharing such a wonderful post and i majorly agree with the point that one is not delivering best content to his reader, If he is not delivering good content then how can he expect good no. of traffic and readers for his blog? Ain’t it terrific? What’s your views

    Thanks!

    • Nitin, I completely agree. It’s all about providing value to your readers so you can keep them coming back for more.

  6. Some good points made. I feel too many corporate blogs simply publish irrelevant posts because they think it will bring them traffic and sales. These type of blogs waste everyone’s time by posting stuff on broad topics that are unlikely to appeal to their actual target market.

  7. Michael Foote :

    Hi Neil,

    If I spend $10 on Facebook ads, I may get an extra like or so and under 10 clicks to my site. What do you do to go from 5 likes to 400 with ten dollars?

  8. Neil, this is something we have struggled with as a web development firm. Even trying to figure out who our audience is, was a problem. This post confirms that new direction we are going in, is right. Thanks for all your GREAT material.

  9. A very good and informative post with some good tips on blogging. I am planning to start blogging but always had a back foot for some reason or the other. After reading this post I feel assured that I can do well if I follow it.

  10. Thumbs up, Neil!

  11. Hi Neil,
    You had me at number one. It really is important to know who your audience is and what they are interested in.

    The trick is that sometimes you think you know, but you really don’t.

    By thinking like your ideal customer, you will attract more readers.

    All are great points. Thank you for sharing your mistakes with us so that we can learn from them.

  12. Vatsala Shukla :

    Good points, Neil. I liked Rule #3 as I am slowly starting to practice it. Perhaps a future post dedicated to re-training readers and those that join your list but need more training in clicking?

  13. Kevin. SellrBuyr.in :

    Great post Neil. I have a classified ads site as our main product. Unfortunately it has every category. What should we do?

    1.Should We blog about everthing?

    or

    2. We choose something specific and blog?

    • You should write on specific topics. You are a classified site so focus more on your target audience — people who post ads. Here are some sample topics: “how to write and post ads” “how to post ads on a tight budget”

  14. Great content Neil! Very useful information about having to teach your readers to convert will definitely use that for my business. Thank you!

  15. Hey Neil!

    Really great points!:)

    But you mostly talked about how to convert visitors into customers. But if I just want to raise the brand awareness? ‘Cause our company e.g. an accelerator and we don’t sell (in the usual interpretation). What should be in the focus?

    Thanks 🙂

    Zsolt

    • Zsolt,
      Great question.
      I think converting visitors into customers and brand awareness are not mutually exclusive activities. If you are an accelerator you are essentially focusing on lead generation to get more people to know about your accelerator. Focus on the same tactics and consider your conversions as brand advocates 🙂

  16. Ryan Biddulph :

    Hi Neil,

    Staying on topic and being persistent vibe so strongly for me.

    BFP – Blogging from Paradise – was hatched 9 weeks ago with each concept in mind. Each week I publish posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each post spans from 2500 to 3000 words.

    Each post shares tips for my ideal reader; blogging tips. I want to take you along for the ride. I want you to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging.

    Knowing this, each post must be true to these ideals, because going off topic will confuse my audience.

    If you’re corporate or personal the rules are similar. Be persistent and consistent. Stay on topic and stick to your posting schedule.

    Some bloggers forget our blogs are resources for a strict niche. When I visit Quick Sprout, I expect what the Quick Sprout brand offers. When I visit my blog, I expect blogging tips to help you kick the 9 to 5 to the curb, or to help you fund your travels with your blog.

    You use IGs and I use a ton of inspiring travel pictures to augment the reader experience. The pictures are of me in far off locals – like here in Fiji, now – so they’re fully consistent with my theme, my ideal reader, and with my brand.

    Thanks so much Neil.

    Tweeting in a bit.

    Ryan

    • Ryan, awesome to get an idea of the specifics of your model. I think you have a good hold on that industry. Looking forward to hearing more from you. Always a pleasure 🙂

  17. Randy Kauffman :

    Thanks for more great information. Our company has used your advice to help lot’s of businesses grow. Keep up the fantastic work!!

  18. ThatCoolBlogger :

    Hey Neil, Can’t believe am making all of these mistakes and won’t lie to you haven’t been able to make a single dime with my blog!

    Thanks for this sweet eye opener post! You a GEM!!! Keep writing,
    Babs 🙂

  19. Neil,

    Spot on – especially on relevance. I’m not running a corporate site but I am running a news site on a niche subjet. I often turn down posts from colleauges because they’re not relevant.

    Consistency – yes – that is a must. You can’t let a blog go to seed. But, there is a law of diminishing returns. Some days I’d have one item posted. On really crazy days, I’d have 10 or even more. It can be overdone and I’m still trying to find that happy balance between posting consistently and staying within daily post limits (Facebook).

    Speaking of Facebook, right now, my ad budget is going toward getting likes (real likes from real people targeted by interest) on my page. When I reach my desired number, I’m going to slow down on that and focus more on boosting posts from the site, but I find I spend more boosting posts than I earn in ad revenue on them, so boosting has been a money loser for me. But, if it generates page views and lowers my Alexa rank (which I want to cry when I see it), it may be worth taking the revenue hit.

    • Ron, thanks for sharing this tips and insights in a concise and awesome manner. Looking forward to hearing more from you 🙂

  20. “Blogging on niche content will decrease your traffic by 218% and increase your income by 692%.” Its a new useful information for me. Thanks for sharing.

  21. This was something our company ignored. We had a blog in B2B Sales and Marketing Niche and this blog has been here for 5-6 years. No one cared to use that time to grow this into a big blog in given niche. Now I realized them what a updated blog can do to the business and hence your tips will be highly useful as it will help us improve our corporate blog. Thanks Neil .

  22. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Neil. Sure, everyone makes mistakes. But the point here is to learn from our mistakes and improvise. It is quite true that keep our blog readers engaged helps with conversions. It is easy to turn visitors to customers if we keep them engaged.

    Thanks again for sharing your mistakes 🙂

  23. This, “Guide to Blogging” and “Need Traffic” posts are great reads. They complete each other in a way your advanced guide chapters do.
    Love reading and techniques and mistakes you share.

  24. Hi Neil, great post again. #1 is really important, it took us several hours to better identify the buyer personas and the stage of purchase so as to write accordingly.
    Boosting content with FB ads is certainly useful too!

  25. Great post! One question, my corporate blog has pretty much all crap content. It used to rank high but dropped due to this and me being lazy. Now organic traffic is nonexistent. Do you think blowing away the blog and starting fresh would be a good decision?

    Thank you so much for the great information and your time!

    Chris

    • Chris, I don’t think you should blow away the blog and start fresh. Have you thought of performing a content audit? Sometimes if you run an audit of your current activities you can figure out what works out best and improve from there.

  26. Manish Agrawal :

    Hey Neil,

    this is Very good written post really. It will be valuable to anyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

    Thanks

  27. Julian Adorney :

    Hey Neil,

    Great blog! For Tip #1, I see your point but aren’t you in danger if pigeonholing yourself? Like on Quicksprout, you’ve released a dozen or so guides, but only because you have a fairly broad niche (as an observer, it seems like Quicksprout’s audience is just “general marketers”, since most of the books you write could work equally well for ecommerce/subscription/etc businesses).

    If you narrow yourself down to a niche like “helping ecommerce marketers to analyze their data”, how much can you really write about that topic?

    Thanks in advance,
    Julian

  28. Andrew Finkelstein :

    Thanks for this article. It gave me a real wakeup call.

  29. Alexander Rus :

    Looking at these 7 rules I would say most corporate blogs are a waste of time and money. But when I look at many of my clients they just don’t want to go the extra mile. Sure, the content is good but is it great. And is it really what their customers want to read?

    I think maintaining a good corporate blog is a job of and in itself. It’s not something a normal business has the right people for or wants to spend decent money on.

    Still, great list and I learned a ton from it. Like the tweet / quote thingys in between 😀

    Greetings from Innsbruck,

    Alex

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  40. Hi Neil, thanks for sharing these great learnings 🙂

  41. Andy Wolowicz :

    Thanks Neil for tip #2. We have been trying to blog more and more but we now know not blog on our site!

  42. Great post Neil! I own a blog writing and management service and often times I see issues with rule #1 and rule #4. Typically a small business owner has been running the blog and they are posting off-topic and not maintaining a consistent publishing schedule.

  43. Thanks Neil for your tips. Experimenting definitely yield results in the long run. Tips 1,2 and 3 are great. I will definitely have a hand on them.

    • That’s great Kiran! Keep me posted on your progress and let me know if there’s anything specific I can help you with.

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