From start-up entrepreneur and marketer Neil Patel, here are our favorite lessons from Fortune 500 companies about blogging:
Lesson #1: Let Your Audience Think for You
- Ask for ideas in a blog post – you write a post where you share an idea you think you’d like to pursue [Think Starbucks and their crowdsourced blogs]. You then ask your readers to tell you what they think. You could also use this tactic to ask your readers what they would like to get as content from you in the coming year. 2012 is just around the corner…so why not give this idea a shot?
- Create a separate platform for idea creation – My Starbucks Idea is really a huge forum that is open to the public. You can read any posts you want, but you have to be a member to comment and add posts. Forums for private members is really a great way to up the engagement of your audience. However, make sure you test this idea. I did and found that it didn’t work out too well. But you never know… it may work for you.
Lesson #2: Niche Blogs to Build Brand Awareness
When you think about General Electric (GE), what immediately comes to mind? If you are like most people you probably said “light bulbs.”
But GE is so much more than that. That’s why they launched a line of blogs to break the public view that all they do is light bulbs.
Here is what they offer:
- Txchnologist – this online magazine is about all things technology. From how climate has affected the way baseballs are made to self-healing electronics. Pretty much things that GE has its hand in.
- Data Visualization – GE takes all the really complicated yet useful data behind science and technology and creates easy-to-understand infographics.
- Ecomagination – this is the blog for the environmentally-minded GE customer, demonstrating their concern for the environment and how they are tackling the latest issues.
- GE Reports – great daily, detailed stories and reports on issues like the Top Five Technology Challenges Tackled by GE in 2011 and The Unsung Hero of the Maternity Ward Helps Deliver Baby No. 35 Million
- Healthymagination – this blog is dedicated to showing how GE is helping people live longer and healthier lives, for example, by providing top-notch cancer treatment and AIDS/HIV cures.
- The GE Show – this series of videos deals with topics like the future of flight and airplanes, railroads and solar energy, industries that GE creates products for.
Lesson #3: Never abandon your blog for Facebook
- You can’t fully brand your Fan Page experience –you can customize certain aspects about your Fan Page, but you won’t have control over such things as color, logos and messages.
- Facebook notes suck compared to blog posts – there is no comparison between the two. Besides, Facebook Notes hardly get read, right?
- They own the content – of course you could download the content if you wanted to, but why go through the hassle when you can publish the content on your site?
- Lack of SEO – inside Facebook it’s tough to control meta tags connected to photos, videos, updates and notes. On the other hand, you can easily optimize your blog. SEO on your blog will help you control your content’s ranking, bringing you greater visibility unlike Facebook.
Facebook is great for deepening your engagement with your readers, but it should never replace blogging. Ever!
Read more here. Blogging is still one of the most powerful corporate communication tools in my opinion. Other platforms will evolve, but blogging will continue to evolve as well.