When you spend so much time catering to the every need of your clients and customers it’s easy to neglect your own website. With so many people and so much time dedicated to hitting targets, achieving objectives and liaising with contacts in a variety of moods lots of us don’t get to spend the kind of look after our own projects, like our company site.
Across this industry we create some amazing projects for clients, help them to go from page ten to page one in the SERPs, attend some inspirational talks and conferences and even win some amazing contracts. However, we never get to explain the steps taken to achieve those goals because we’re straight onto the next task meaning that we somewhat neglect our own blogs.
As an agency creating content for our clients, either on their site as part of an ongoing strategy to help with their brand development or off site in the form of a content marketing campaign; it should be second nature to us to think about creating content for our own site. After all, we know how important it is to be creating frequent new, informative, entertaining and engaging content for our clients to help with traffic to their sites and subsequent sales.
At the end of the day that is what we all want from our own sites, too. We want to attract new customers, to make sales, to attract enquiries, to have people visiting our websites because they’ve read previous content that made them think “these guys know what they’re talking about” and because they’ve read one of our case studies showing how we helped someone else to achieve their goals.
It has also become increasingly important over the past few years to show search engines that our blog and website as a whole is being updated regularly with fresh content to help us with our online marketing strategies. More weight is being given to ‘fresh’ content and that which is trending, a bit like the articles that appear on our social media pages in order to give users the best experience and results for their search terms.
Jim Yu gave an excellent description of the true value of a blog in his recent article for Search Engine Watch, saying that “A blog is an excellent content and SEO tactic that allows websites to build their brand, traffic, and reputation. When you regularly update a blog, you have an excellent platform to produce fresh and high-value content. This will keep visitors on the page, boosting engagement and therefore ranking.”
The problem is, they can also tell when you’re trying to manipulate the rankings with ‘black hat’ techniques and you can get penalised for that too. It’s a real dilemma and something you have to put a lot of hard work into to get right – combining regular content without going overboard and without neglecting it at the same time.
So how do we go about making sure that we give our own blogs and news sections the TLC it deserves?
One thing that you can consider is a schedule for your staff to follow. While they all undoubtedly have busy calendars already, trying to complete their tasks for the clients, attending meetings or being in on calls whenever they are beckoned; the company blog is a place for them to showcase their own individual talents and expertise.
Creating a schedule will give them all advanced warning that they are due to write a blog post for the company site so they have time to prepare, research and create it ahead of your deadline. You could either set them a specific topic to cover, maybe send them out to a conference for them to do a live blog or write-up, or you could give them free reign to talk about their specific area of the business and what they think the audience would like to read.
One post a week is probably enough to start showcasing everything you can do as a company and everything you’ve learned, especially in the early days. While large agencies will have the time and resource to write a daily post or to create a video version, smaller companies need to work with what they have available. So many areas of industries have already been covered on the web and you need to ensure that you’re creating something new, something that educates your audience and drives them to come back in the future not just another version of an article that’s already been done ten times.
While everyone works as part of a team, all striving to achieve the same goal, everyone has their own strengths and one person might be able to do something everyone else can’t or they may have learned something that they feel they want to share with the world.
It’s this platform that can help that person, and subsequently the company as a whole, stand out on the web for what they can do. You’re not publishing a sales pitch on your own blog – you’re showing the world your expertise in specific areas of the market and what your individual components can do as part of a team.
By the time you’ve incorporated everything that your whole team has to offer, you will start to show signs of becoming a real influencer in your industry – provided that you persist with it. You can’t just publish posts for a few weeks, acquire a few extra Twitter followers and a couple of enquiries for your services and then go back to forgetting all about it. You need to treat your own company website as one of your clients, setting objectives and hitting them month after month.
It’s very easy to think that because you’re pushed for time one month because of extra work coming in and staff being off you can push your own site to the back-burner for a while. However, once it goes to the back of your mind it’s easy to move on and forget all about what you were going to work on.
One way of ensuring that you don’t forget, is to do a monthly round-up post, similar to the newsletter you may already be sending out to your customers and clients, but more in-depth. This way you know you have a post to write and your audience, if you’ve managed to engage them, will be waiting for it to land on the site – Moz’s Whiteboard Friday is a prime example in this respect.
This will then help you to build up an audience, engaging with them as much as possible either in the comments section or on social media, and every positive comment is an endorsement for your brand – if you get the content right.
It’s very easy to start using industry jargon or the phrases that you use in the workplace when referring to something, but the people out there who are completely new to the industry, product or service might not have a clue what you’re on about.
It’s a difficult balance to get right because the likelihood is that your audience is going to range from those looking for the service for the first time through to returning customers and people who just like to read what you have to say. This means that you need to talk about the industry is a way that appeals to beginners, those who know a bit, and those who know a lot – and that isn’t easy.
The best way of doing this is to get your point across and to stay relevant. If the people who know their stuff don’t agree with what you’re saying, you lose them. If the people who are using you as something of a ‘resource’ can’t understand what you’re saying, you’ve lost them too. By staying on topic, clear and above all else, personal; you stand a chance of ticking every box – they want to read the opinions of a person, not a robot.
Lots of people now consume content using mobile devices, either while on the move or just out of personal preference. They might be on a tram on the way to a meeting, they could be on the bus on the way home or they might be sat in the park having a bite to eat at lunchtime.
Wherever they are, they’re looking to either fill time or to make the most of it. They want to be entertained and informed and this is your chance to showcase everything you and your team have to offer in that small window.
If you give people the opportunity to step up to the plate, the chances are that they will. Everyone has something to offer – that’s why you hired them to work for you in the first place – and business owners themselves also do, that’s why you started the company!
The platform is there, it’s up to you to utilise it. At the end of the day, it’s free marketing and free exposure. If you can get it right – and as mentioned earlier it will take persistence – then you’ll all reap the benefits of a little “me time.”