Mommy, Where Do Blog Posts Come From?
By David Burda | July 7, 2016
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A corporation starts a thought-leadership blog on its website only to have it go fallow after six months because no one can think of anything new to write about.
If you don’t believe me, randomly pick 12 corporate websites, click on their blogs and count how many haven’t been updated in the past week, the past month or even the past year. I’ll bet you one good blog post idea that at least half the blogs are as stale as the two leftover hamburger buns sitting in my pantry since Memorial Day. (Do people still use the word pantry? I do.)
If your corporate blog is suffering the same fate as my hamburger buns, you have company. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks report, 81 percent of the more than 1,500 marketers surveyed for the report say they use blogs as a B2B content marketing tactic. That’s the third-highest tactic only behind social media content at 93 percent and case studies at 82 percent.
Yet, at the same time, three of the top six content marketing challenges facing marketers are “producing engaging content” (60 percent); “producing content consistently” (57 percent); and “producing a variety of content” (35 percent).
The conflict between publishing a blog and jonesing for blog content is created by frequency. When you start a blog, you have to commit to a publishing schedule that regularly feeds your distribution channels like social media and newsletters, and trains your users to know when to expect a new blog post.
Experts differ on the optimum post frequency, but the range seems to be a minimum of once a month to daily or more. More posts, more traffic and customer engagement. More high-impact posts, even more traffic and customer engagement. It’s not complicated.
For the purpose of this blog post, let’s say one new post per week for your corporate blog is ideal, which equates to four new blog posts per month. That’s enough to repurpose into a monthly newsletter and share through your social channels to let customers know you’re still in business and thinking of them.
The challenge that freezes marcom people at corporate brands is coming up with four things to write about each month, whether they’re original pieces written by brand subject-matter experts, ghost-written pieces for brand SMEs or staff-written pieces on brand-related topics. For those frozen by that blog content load, I would suggest making one of the four the signature post for the month. Not all four need to take mankind where it’s never gone before. Just one of the four has to be a real head-scratcher.
With that pressure off, where do the other three come from? I would argue that brands are drowning in original content that can be repurposed into simple but engaging blog posts that don’t require a three-month internal approval process involving a room full of senior vice presidents, most of whom are on business travel or off the grid on a long-overdue vacation to an exotic location.
Here are 10 things I’ve done for some of the brands I work with that are struggling to post fresh content:
- Post a 200- to 400-word summary of a brand white paper with link to the original.
- Post a 200- to 400-word summary of a brand webinar with link to a rebroadcast.
- Post an edited transcript of a brand webinar with link to a rebroadcast.
- Post a 200- to 400-word summary of a brand podcast with link to a rebroadcast.
- Post an edited transcript of a brand podcast with link to a rebroadcast.
- Post a 200- to 400-word summary with slides from a client presentation at an industry event.
- Post a series of photos with long captions from a brand event.
- Post a 200- to 400-word summary of a client case study with link to the original.
- Post a chart or infographic along with a long caption from a report or market research.
- Post a 200- to 400-word summary of prepared remarks by a brand SME at an industry event.
If that’s not enough, type in “types of blog posts” in your favorite search engine. You’ll be bombarded with listicles from content marketing experts on how to fill your blog post publishing schedule.
Content is everywhere at your company. Just look around you.