The Basics Of Corporate Blogging

English: This icon, known as the "feed ic...

English: This icon, known as the “feed icon” or the “RSS icon”, was introduced in Mozilla Firefox in order to indicate a web feed was present on a particular web page that could be used in conjunction with the Live bookmarks function. Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera and some other browsers have adopted the icon in order to promote a de facto standard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many many reference sources on how corporate blogs become successful. At the end of the day, companies need to realize that behind every blog is a person.

People write blogs, and people read blogs.

When a company is writing a blog, there are basic elements to consider. These stand true for a brand new blog in planning and strategy phases or an existing blog with six months under the belt.

Tips for Successful Corporate Blogging

Team and Tone. When blogging for the company, ensure the team is solid. Typically, there are three good writers to assist with the company blog and one good editor to establish tone. It becomes apparent when someone writes drastically differently than peers on the company blog. Try to ensure there’s a solid thread between each writer so tone isn’t a swinging pendulum.

Topics. Company blogging runs the risk of being inside-out only. If a goal is to build a community of those who comment and follow, then be sure topics are engaging and invite others to connect and participate. If a corporate blog posts three times weekly, make sure 1/3 of the content is about external factors shaping the industry.

Goals. Like any new program, there needs to be clearly defined goals. Without that distinct purpose and consistent reference back to the goals, a corporate blog can go astray. Do not take goal setting lightly! This exercise drives success, growth, authority, and brand positioning.

Analytics. Behind every successful blog is a person and also good tracking! Without knowledge of how many people are visiting a company blog, there is no proof it’s working. Typically, companies cannot gauge success of a blog on comments alone; people lurk and refuse to add thoughts on a corporation’s blog. This means analytics are critical and someone to interpret them even more.

Bells and Whistles. There are basic elements every blog needs regardless of whether it’s a personal or business blog. Set up a decent commenting system with Livefyre or Disqus. Use Shareaholic, the best social media sharing tool on the channels. Add a way to organize archives  via categories and chronology via widgets in the sidebar. Consider Zemanta which helps put other like-topics at the blogger’s fingertips to share beneath a post. Use images owned by the company. There are so many issues now with copyrights; companies need to develop their own image library for use online everywhere.

RSS and Social Media Follows. Regardless of how small a company blog is when it starts, having an RSS feed (Feedblitz is reliable) as well as social media follow buttons are critical. Every company has a LinkedIn page and ought to have a Google+ page, too. Start there and the rest will follow.

Subscribe Button. Capturing emails is the name of the game, but what will you offer in return? If people know they’ll get some decent content either on the blog or via a newsletter or other marketing collateral, they will give up their email address. Company blogs need to have this option readily available from the start. Little bit late to the party? No worries…add it and write!

SEO Pack. Blogs need to ensure articles are depicted appropriately and headlines aren’t too long. Using SEO Pack or Yoast are simple plugins to help streamline this without too much thought.

Which basic elements does your company blog have? Please share!

About Jayme Soulati

Jayme Soulati is author of Soulati-‘TUDE! which is a professional blog oriented to social media, marketing, PR, business strategy, and more. She is president of Soulati Media, Inc. and is an award-winning blogger and public relations practitioner. She is a past president of the Publicity Club of Chicago.

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Please Say Thank You In Business

thank-youSaying thanks is so simple. Why doesn’t it happen more often? Are brands and people too busy? Or, do they just plain old forget they asked for something?

As a public relations practitioner with a media relations core, my job was pitching media every day for eight hours straight in Chicago’s agencies. I don’t recall if I thanked the reporters for running my story back in the day; but I sure as heck do it now.

When someone works in earnest to reach a reporter and speak upwards of 3-4 times to get a story to run, there’s a bit of professional ‘raderie going on. A relationship gets launched, and someone is asking the other for a major consideration.

If that work is rewarded, it would seem obvious a “thank you” is in order. A simple email would suffice, right?

Last fall a very personable PR woman connected with me about her client’s book. She pitched me the story, sent me a book, and I delayed writing a post on it. With little time to read much around the holidays, I forced myself to dive in gladly as the book was worth the read.

A blog post ensued and another reference followed with tweets and likes, and posts throughout the interwebz. What was the result? The author said, “You’re too kind” on a Google+ post and the PR person is nowhere to be found; no acknowledgment.

I’m not a reporter; I’m a professional blogger with a large community. As a result of that blog post, I helped push sales of that book; probably 10 I can tap from my community alone. In this day of oodles of books and budding authors, I’d say 10 is decent.

I wrote awhile ago about thanking Twitter followers for RTs, something I did up until I joined 25 tribes on Triberr. I couldn’t take the hour a day it would take to thank folks, and that always makes me cringe. When you’re trying to build community, it’s so helpful to acknowledge those who give.

This isn’t a whine or rant.

This is a reminder to everyone in business that the words “thank you” are not overdone, unexpected or unwanted.

Please say thank you in business. It’s more than just common courtesy; it’s the stuff relationships are made of.

My Sincere Thanks

And, with that said, I owe deep gratitude to several business partners who assisted and continue to assist on my nightmare tech journeys:

  • Heather Solos, community manager with Feedblitz, has been a savior helping me rectify Feedblitz issues with my site. Did I bring those issues onto myself? Yep, most likely; that didn’t stop her from sorting through my issues and getting me up and running. Thank you, Heather.
  • Ginny Soskey, is a doll (she looks like one, too), with Shareaholic. I’m using Shareaholic sharing toolbar on this blog and site. I’ve tried many, and each has issues. I’m in love with this tool for bloggers, and the options and variety of sharing features is amazing. They’re getting bigger by the day, but that didn’t stop Ginny from helping me immediately when my share bar went awry. She was on it, learning how to troubleshoot while sending me screen shares and tips on what to fix over here. (Turns out it was Chrome cache; a problem as I had no idea we need to clean our cache on a consistent basis otherwise funky things happen.)
  • Adrianne Mayshar of HubSpot is a gem. She’s been riding herd as lead cowboy (isn’t that word like actor…you don’t need to say cowgirl?) through a serious set of integration issues I’m having and continue to have. I appreciate her customer service and that of senior support tech Victoria.
  • Scott Quillin, of New England Multimedia, has given undying and relentless support and encouragement as well as ears, eyes and dedication to my tech needs. Not only has he designed this site for me, he has become my IT liaison to help free me from the confines of tech nasty. I cannot say enough good about this man and his client service; astonishing.

I thank them; I thank my readers and this community. I thank you. I appreciate deeply.

 

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Q&A With FeedBlitz CEO Phil Hollows

I didn’t know what a merry ride of inspiration this last week and more would be when all of a sudden Feedburner stopped distribution of my blog. It was something I didn’t monitor, didn’t care about, and didn’t want to learn; until it was broken. Then it was forced attention; the kind I love to hate.

Miraculously, a direct email campaign arrived in my box from FeedBlitz, “How To Migrate From Feedburner to FeedBlitz” with an ebook. That was all it took; didn’t care that I had to pay after a 30-day free trial (most things cost something) and didn’t care to do my research for something better. The timing was right and FeedBlitz has a reputable brand.

On my merry-go-round that is still circling, I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Phil Hollows, the very accessible CEO of FeedBlitz who manages support questions, to my surprise.

A series of posts here, here and here last week launched the Feedblitz series on about 10 blogs with many more conversations about the whole RSS thing. It’s still a confusion for me, but it’s because I’m stomping my feet and trying not to pay attention.

Phil was nice enough to play along with me and answer a few questions for bloggers that don’t know why they need RSS, don’t know why FeedBlitz is so special, and generally are on the fence about migrating from free and dead Google Feedburner to something robust with email marketing and publishing.

Thanks, Phil for taking time from your Sunday to share some thoughts:

Soulati-‘TUDE! — What is RSS?

FeedBlitz – RSS is a standard format for producing a machine-readable form of your blog. (Jayme: what does machine-readable mean? That the blog can be read on all devices, desktops, tablets, notebooks and laptops, etc.?)

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Why do bloggers need RSS?

FeedBlitz – RSS is the glue that ties your site to other services and platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Every service or plugin that takes your posts and makes them appear somewhere else is using RSS to make that happen.

Soulati-‘TUDE!Should every blogger have an RSS feed?  Why?

FeedBlitz — Every blogger already has an RSS feed! All blogging systems produce an RSS feed by default. It’s actually work to disable. And yes, you should publicize it, so that visitors who don’t want to subscribe vie email can add your site to their RSS readers (such as Google Reader) and have your content pushed to them automatically.

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Do you cater to the largest bloggers or do you also realize that small bloggers grow to become big girls and boys?

FeedBlitz -- Every blogger starts with zero subscribers!  We at FeedBlitz welcome people who are just starting out – and we also serve the RSS feeds for some of the best known bloggers around, such as @Copyblogger with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Soulati-‘TUDE! — What are your differentiators over other options on the market today?

FeedBlitz -- You need to track RSS statistics so you can monetize your blog better. FeedBlitz is the only RSS service offering both RSS feed statistics and email / social media subscription options.

Unlike the only other service with both options, Google’s FeedbBurner offering, which is currently failing to deliver any metrics and is completely unsupported, FeedBlitz is fully supported, continually under development, and has much greater flexibility in terms of RSS and email management.

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Your service charges based on subscribers; Feedburner didn’t. Tell us about cost per subscriber and whether a large blogger with many subscribers might be forking over a lot of cash for the privilege of using Feedblitz.

FeedBlitz — FeedBlitz charges for email subscribers; RSS readers come along for the ride at no extra cost to our paying customers.  FeedBlitz is price competitive with other premium email subscribers, but offers RSS serving and metrics and much more flexibility for blog email subscriptions than anyone.

A full list of features compared to Feedburner is here http://kb.feedblitz.com/article/AA-00444. As I write, FeedBurner hasn’t produced any metrics for anyone for over four days straight, and is completely unsupported. If you depend on your blog to generate business, and you depend on your subscription service to get your word out, the benefits of a small monthly fee (and working with a partner that respects you and your audience) compared to the current cost of free is surely obvious. If your blog is valuable to you, surely its subscribers should be served by a vendor that values them. (Jayme ponders: EXCELLENT point!)

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Why are you managing support questions yourself? You’re the CEO!  Is that like sweat equity? Or does it also give you the pulse of your customers?

FeedBlitz – I like the Craig Newmark (Craig’s List) approach – get on the front lines, see what’s what. We’re all hands on deck as FeedBurner has imploded. Finally, my being here makes everything real. I care about our clients and their communities and how we make a difference. Standing up and supporting them is a key differentiator. I’m happy to do it!

Soulati-‘TUDE! -- What are the top three reasons a blogger should migrate to your service? i.e. what sets you apart?

FeedBlitz — Support, greater flexibility to reach your subscribers and superior branding.

Soulati-‘TUDE! — Tell me your impression of mid-tier and smaller bloggers — someone in my community suggested your marketing campaign is not tailored to all sizes of bloggers…obviously the largest blogger brings you the most money, but…

FeedBlitz — We’re tailoring our messaging right now to people who feel frustrated with and abandoned by FeedBurner. Everyone using FeedBurner faces the same challenges, no matter how large or small their site is. Size, in this case, really doesn’t matter. We want everyone using FeedBurner who wants a better, supported replacement to feel welcome here.

Soulati-‘TUDE! How many subscribers does your blog have? 

FeedBlitz — FeedBlitz News has about 30,000 subscribers, mostly via email.

Soulati-‘TUDE! Do you think subscribers are the de facto metric when it comes to blogging, or how do you measure blogging success? 

FeedBlitz -- Engagement is the winning metric; it indicates quality. I’d take 1,000 committed subscribers over a list with 100,000 people in it but nobody reading what we’re saying any day.

This has been a Soulati Media On the Street with Phil Hollows, CEO, of FeedBlitz. Bring on the questions for Phil, Peeps! 

Contest Now Open: Win IT Help Migrating to Feedblitz

By now everyone knows I’m on a Feedblitz migration kick. My post this week launched a barrage of migrations from Feedburner to Feedblitz, many blog posts about it and even more thinking about how and when and why to do it.

I’ve already been in touch with Phil Hollows, CEO of Feedblitz , to invite him to do a Q&A with me – heck, we may even do a video or podcast? Should I get that crazy with him? I’ll try to address the many troubles readers are concerned with; including me!

Put that aside…here’s the really exciting thing this morning!

Contest Open Now

I got an email from Rebecca Caroe of Creative Agency  Secrets. She works directly with Phil Hollows of Feedblitz. As is my duty to do the due diligence, I asked Phil for a vouch. He confirmed that Rebecca is legit, and here’s what’s so cool about that…

Three lucky members of the Soulati-‘TUDE! Community have a chance to win a free tech consulting project to help them migrate their blog(s) from Feedburner to Feedblitz. Rebecca wins because she can fine tune her service offering; you win because you don’t  need to experience the headache I did to migrate my blogs to Feedblitz (and still tweaking). So, just in case you don’t get it; Rebecca’s team is going to do your entire migration for you; you need do NOTHING (except the two little thingies below).

Two little caveats when you’re chosen to become the winner:

  • Feedblitz offers a free, 30-day trial; a credit card is required to register up front although it won’t be charged for 30 days.
  • Logins and passwords need to be shared for both Feedburner and Feedblitz with Rebecca’s team to get the migration complete.

How to Win

I’m going to make this real easy for us all.

  1. In comments below, add your “Count me in,” and you’ll officially be entered in the contest.
  2. By Friday 5 p.m. EDT, the contest closes; no more entries.
  3. I’ll write all the names in an email to my Mom and ask her to pick 3 names off the list. She’ll have no clue because she doesn’t read this blog.
  4. I’ll announce the winners in comments over the weekend.
  5. I’ll connect winners with Rebecca on Monday and step out of the way!

Easy Peezie, Lemon Squeezie…I always try to say that when the opportunity is ripe! Heh.

Let the games begin! Remember, contest closes at 5 p.m. EDT Friday this week!

 

 

Little Bloggers Rule

I’m pointing a finger at Phil Hollows, the CEO of Feedblitz, with whom I’ve become so very acquainted over these last 10 days since I decided to migrate from Feedburner to Feedblitz.

I wrote a blog post on my experience (link above), and Phil wrote a case study including me alongside my good friends Danny Brown and Jay Baer. No one would argue these two are short of A-listers (because all the A-listers fully deny they’re anything at all related to such a moniker).

What Phil said in his case study about my blog is that I am a “little known blogger.” (He said after that he should have said, “little known to him.”) No worries, Phil!  I happen to know that my blog post  about Feedblitz has influenced no less than six migrations to your Feedblitz service and about four blog posts (that I’m aware of).

Now, mind you, I was not influenced by Danny Brown’s post to migrate to Feedblitz. I had seen it, but the email marketing campaign Feedblitz sent to me worked.

And, I do agree with you, Phil…in some regard…I’m a little blogger, but not little-known, at least in social media circles.

Not So Good Little Blogger Facts

  • This blog has few to no subscribers. Subscribers are NOT one of my metrics for blogging success. (Well, OK, that’s really lame; I ‘m gonna work on that!)
  • There is no newsletter. Not for lack of interest; it’s for lack of time.
  • The RSS feed I had was really just for my daily blog post, and I never knew how to use it. (Now, Feedblitz can share all my content from two blogs, comments elsewhere, tweets, Facebook posts, and more.)

 Awesome Little Blogger Facts

  • #RockHot community with comments that are so in-depth and insightful they can become blog posts on their own.
  • Readers who lurk, like and tweet about what they see.
  • Positive commentary everywhere that shows my content sings (based on what people tell me).
  • Passion about my topics, profession, teachings, sharing, engaging, and so much more.
  • More than 2.5 years blogging and a year blogging on another blog.
  • Contribution to the future of blogging that no one can deny.
  • Consistent growth with tweaks and tech that help nurture newbie bloggers (because there is always someone newer).
  • Mentorship of little bloggers and encouragement to stay the course.

So, Phil, and everyone else who regards subscribers as the best metric (especially when you make money off subscribers, I get that), it’s not always about the analytics. Although, Shelly Kramer would call me stupid for not putting that on top of the heap.

  • Bloggers have goals.
  • Stick to yours.
  • Publish genuine, authoritative and authentic content consistently.

One day we all will be that not-A-Lister blogger who got a start somewhere.