Burn Your Corporate Blog And Get Published

by · July 4, 201224 comments

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Jonathan Gebauer. He is the co-founder and CEO at exploreB2B, a German company.

Exemplary corporate bloggers and content marketers give us the impression that blogging is the answer. These are the men and women who continually publish great content on their blogs, drawing thousands of readers’ daily. Many treat these thought leaders as celebrities (Brian Clark at Copyblogger, Robert Scoble, Brian Solis) and give us the impression that, we too, can establish this level of professional blogging influence.

This assumption, today, crashes and burns. Though strangely, it is still highly promoted.

English: Chimpanzee Typing

English: Chimpanzee Typing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If a consultant has told you to start your own corporate blog or you have been swayed by one of the many articles stating this is the only way to establish expertise during the content marketing revolution, then you have been a victim of misguided thought.

While blogging used to be productive (during it’s rise over eight years ago), there are now other forms of self-publication that are easier, more efficient and effective. As technology and best practice evolve, blogging becomes old news.

Most of the reasons given to begin a blog no longer apply exclusively to blogging.  Instead, they are an argument to publish. Blogs, when we think about it, are really just a liberal form of self-publication – and are certainly not the most efficient method today. After all, would you create a publishing house and put it in a location where less than a handful of people related to your industry could find it, just to publish a few times and distribute to even fewer readers?

Several factors influence the killing of corporate blogs, so let us first get an overview:

Consultants are killing business blogging

The number of business owners being told by consultants to create their own blog increases each day. All those business owners compete for readers. Several years ago, there was enough space in the blogosphere to build a blog with professional influence. Today, new bloggers are a mere freckle on the face of the web. Sadly, high-quality content (often) does not solve the issue of not being found. No matter how good the content is on your blog, your readers will have a tough time finding it without added (paid) assistance.

SEO is killing business blogging

One of the main reasons regularly stated for creating your own corporate blog is SEO. Sounds simple, right? You create a blog on your corporate site and every article on your blog creates a new page that is helping you attain search engine traffic. People will post your articles, creating links to your site. This used to be a neat trick – in 2005. Today, this method is overused and Google has made tough adjustments to protect their credibility. With high quality content (that people share), the system still has the opportunity to work, though this is not without producing a massive amount of content to flood your blog. How long will it take to get this kind of content, when you are competing with blogs that have been running for 2 to 7 years?

Your consultant might tell you to push optimized articles through all of your social media channels, that SEO is the golden ticket to having your idyllic content found. (In the likely event that you created your blog to enhance your website SEO, you are now in the odd situation that you are doing SEO for your blog that you have created for doing SEO for your Website – if this sounds confusing… that is because it is). The consultant is not completely wrong, but what he is probably not telling you, is that it will take years to establish your blog, especially in a niche market. It simply should not take that long for your content to be read.

Shortcuts are killing business blogging

As it has become more difficult to achieve the desired level of exposure through business blogging, people have begun to cheat. Many try to increase the power of their blogs by reposting what others write. This has created a duplicate content problem, with search engines rating duplicate content down.

Buying Facebook fans (companies purchasing thousands of ‘likes’) has resulted in potential leads mistrusting the number of followers a company boasts.

These, among other shortcuts, have been taken by many people trying to create short-term success for their professional blogs. These methods are now backfiring on blogs in general.

So what are the solutions?

There are numerous ways to publish on the web that can produce faster and long-withstanding company results.

Keep in mind that what you want is not actually to create a reputation for your blog; it is to create a reputation for yourself and your company. Here are some ways to do so:

Guest post on other blogs. Not everyone is in your boat of trying now to start from scratch. Utilize the already established blogs in your industry; most of them accept guest posts. Research blogs in your field of expertise, think of a topic for a contributed piece, and contact the author.

News aggregation sites.  Compose an article and submit to an aggregation site that allows you to contribute pieces. The moderation queue will let you know shortly if your post will be published and exposed to the aggregation community. Either it is featured on the platform, or you can reuse the content elsewhere.

Content-based networks: Content-based platforms allow you to post material (videos, articles, infographics) without awaiting moderation. Here you create a profile and post with zero lag time. The most frequently network of this type is YouTube. For articles, exploreB2B (a business platform built for the purpose of sharing and exposing written content) is also effective in allowing for content discovery.

Do not forget offline options. Conferences where you can attend or speak – accessing other thought leaders and influencers in your line of work, are a highly effective means of PR. Publishing in print magazines also channels an outlet of people seeking information. Publish where your audience is looking to consume new ideas, both on and offline.

When you produce high quality content, people will remember you. This authority does not come from the power of a blog; it comes from the power of your thoughts, findings, teachings and innovations being communicated in a meaningful way. Find places to publish that give you the maximum amount of exposure to share these ideas. More important than creating a reputation for your blog is to create a strong reputation for yourself.

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Jonathan Gebauer is co-founder and CEO at exploreB2B a German startup that recently went international. exploreB2B’s mission is to revolutionize worldwide business-to-business communication by providing a platform where any professional can publish. Written articles connect users and create the necessary framework for collaboration and new business opportunity. You can reach Jonathan on Twitter at @jogebauer or contact him directly via mailto:jonathan@exploreb2b.com.

 

 

 

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.markbower.com Mark Bower

    Mmm… let’s see, so publishing platform owner Jonathan Gebauer tells us blogging is dead and we should instead use a publisher.  Call me sceptical but….

    • jogebau

      Hello Mark, 

      It is true, I am the founder of exploreB2B – and I have founded the company just because of the above problem. I am not saying exploreB2B is the only way to publish or that you should stop blogging if it works for you. It is your right to be sceptical about exploreB2B, but maybe give other publishing options a chance? I list quite a few…

      • http://www.thewayoftheweb.net Dan Thornton

         So you dismiss blogging entirely, including those who may have good reason for recommending it for specific clients, therefore making our work harder. You didn’t say keep blogging if it works, you said ‘burn the corporate blog’.
          And the name alternative besides your company? Youtube? Because that’s a less crowded marketplace in terms of content discovery?

          And then expect us to check out the platform you founded?

         

         

        • jogebau

          Hi Dan, thank you for your comment and helping to facilitate this discussion.
          My impression and experience with corporate blogs is however, that these simply are very hard to make them work in the way they are intended. The title and the article is surely controversial. I do believe this discussion should take place, and that all publishing options will benefit from it – including platforms and blogs. I would really like to read about some of the specific reasons you have for recommending blogs as I have given you my reasons for not recommending it. I am happy to generate new approaches through discussion.

          • http://www.thewayoftheweb.net Dan Thornton

             There are many reasons for recommending blogs as one mechanism for creating regularly updated unique quality content for a website, as shown by the fact your post has appeared on just such a platform.

              In addition to the ownership and control you have over your own site, you’re able to drive relevant traffic, and with search still generating between 1/3 and 1/2 of traffic to most websites, that’s not only an important source, but targeted correctly it can work well in terms of conversion rates.

              You mention that it’s hard to do, but that’s the case with most things that lead to genuine success.

              Obviously a blog is only one part of a digital marketing strategy for any company, and isn’t right for everyone, but in the cases where it is relevant, it works incredibly well, along with the correct use of external content aggregators, social media, advertising, offline etc.

              Your reference to timescales is also wildly inaccurate. Most blogs aren’t going to get a Techcrunch audience in a few weeks, but that isn’t the primary objective of them – it’s to deliver a relevant audience that can be engaged and ideally converted to a call to action.

              You also talk about finding the places with the maximum exposure – therefore the maximum noise and competition, which require more paid assistance to rise above it than actually looking at the best locations for a particular business or objective…

              I’ve spent a long time being told that blogs are dead for various reasons, all of which have been proved to be incorrect so far. And although it’s good that you’re open to discussion, courting headlines with an ill-judged headline doesn’t help that – especially when most of the articles on your site are around content marketing, and indeed, optimizing blogs. So basically you’re aggregating content about something you’re suggesting isn’t worth doing?

        • Erin

          Hi Dan – I also work for exploreB2B and I’m sorry to hear that you feel Jonathan’s point would in anyway make your job harder. If we take a closer look at the topic at hand, I think you’ll see that what Jonathan and exploreB2B are offering is a way to help you and your clients. 

          The point is not that your recommendation is invalid. What Jonathan highlights is that there may be other ways to leverage the content of your clients, faster and more efficiently than with a blog. If the ultimate goal is to enhance exposure, influence and referrals – shouldn’t we be open to news ways of doing so? As social media changes rapidly, it is our job as social media advisors to be open to evolving tactics. Other news aggregate sites have begun to adopt this idea as well, allowing users to contribute articles while utilizing an already established platform (Social Media Today, Business2Community). 

          The takeaway is not that blogs are wrong or useless: instead, it’s that companies must focus on producing high-quality content in order to establish an online presence. (This, I think, you & Jonathan agree on.) A blog is indeed a place to initiate this strategy, however, publishing platforms may provide a more efficient way to leverage this content if the company is not already a recognizable brand or the author an established industry voice. 

          I’d love to hear what more you have to say. 

          Cheers, 
          Erin 

           

          • http://www.thewayoftheweb.net Dan Thornton

             Hi Erin,
               I can tell (having checked out the team page), you’re more focused on the marketing/comms side!

              Obviously I would never dismiss any available route which is relevant to attract customers to a business which I am hired to market and promote, or indeed to do the same for my own company. I’ve signed up and tried out more platforms than I care to count over the years, and continue to do so to research and provide accurate insight into which will work best for which clients and segments, and encourage businesses to experiment where it is viable.

              However, the article clearly dismisses blogs, consultants and SEO with very little mitigation and some seriously flawed logic – not the way to encourage a new user to check out your platform and potentially provide content which you could then aggregate and profit from.

              I’d much rather see what sets your platform apart from 1000 similar services, rather than marketing based around attacking alternative approaches.

  • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

    The problem you discuss is not blogging being bad; it’s crap advice from crap consultants.

    No-one relies on SEO or backlinks anymore – they integrate with social search and targeted distribution/curation.

    Additionally, bloggers are smart and see past pitches to guest blog purely from visibility angles. And with Google going after article sites and news distribution networks that don’t offer anything substantial, the advice to target these sites can be a risk.

    Blogging done right is still one of the most effective options around for businesses – just steer clear of crappy advice

    • http://www.thewayoftheweb.net Dan Thornton

      Agreed with one small caveat.

      Many businesses do see sizable audiences and revenue from SEO and links are still a massive part of that.

      The important thing is that it needs to be part of a strategy that includes other forms of digital and offline marketing, and should be optimisation for the benefit of the business, not simply to try and game rankings to be able to boast about a position in search pages which doesn’t drive revenue or a conversion to a particular action.

      And agreed on the risk of article sites, distribution networks, and also directories…

    • jogebau

      Hello Danny, Thank you for joining the discussion. 

      I’m with you on the part about bad advice and agree blogging can still be a viable route for some, with a strong concept and hard work (and the right amount of manpower). However, it is neither the only way to do content marketing nor is it the most effective method for many.

      While saying ‘Google is going after article sites’ is generally right, I would phrase it differently: Google is attacking sites that have bad content. Many article farms on the web are just nests for bad content – and therefore it seems appropriate to take action on behalf of Google.

      The problem I address is that crap advice, crap SEO and crap shortcuts have hurt blogging as a technique, while other options have grown in popularity and effectiveness.

      (Btw: It’s nice to talk to a marketer who does not see SEO as the holy grail)
      Most bloggers are indeed too clever to accept pitches to guest blog just for visibility. Again, the emphasis is on the production of high quality content *and* leveraging this content.

  • http://www.captivetouch.com/ Sherry Nouraini

    Being provocative just to get attention and as a means to an end is another thing that’s killing business blogging ;)

  • http://TheSocialSideDoor.com/ Ian Greenleigh

    If anything is killing business blogging, it’s the same thing that kills marketing in general: talking about oneself incessantly.  Second only to that, it’s the perception that successful blogging is somehow effortless. Solve these two problems, and blogging gets better. 

    • jessicamalnik

      Completely agree. I would take it a step further, and say that it’s not just the blatant self-promotion. It’s also blogging just for the sake of it- without adding any real value. I’d rather read a corporate blog that posts one valuable post a month, over 10 mediocre posts in that same time period. 

      • http://TheSocialSideDoor.com/ Ian Greenleigh

        Yeah, I’m trying to escape the quantity mindset myself. It’s an ongoing battle. 

        • jessicamalnik

          I hear you. It’s a tough battle. You want to blog enough to stay on people’s radar, but you also want to make sure you are truly adding value. 

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  • http://webdesign.ducktoes.com/seo.php Cathie

    In my experience, both blogging and building links still seem to work in raising a company’s website on Google and raising it significantly, with it the company’s traffic and sales, so I don’t see why blogging is dead as far as SEO and marketing goes. And blogs are still valuable. I’m reading and enjoying this blog post, for instance.  It’s making me think, and also making me anxious because I not only use blogging as a marketing tool for clients, I enjoy reading blogs.

  • Anand Radhakrishnan

    Hi Jon, 
    This is a great post with a lot to debate on, i totally agree with the fact that there are a whole lot of consultants and B2B tech marketers that will tell corporates to build a blog without telling them that it will take close to a 100 posts over 12 to 24 months before they get any serious attention and build audience. On the contrary @VALVESOLUTIONS:twitter   we are doing product marketing online where we have built a platform for a niche segment of industry to promote flow controls, process automation and industrial automation within the oil and gas, energy business, besides we have a sizeable 10000+ relevant audience across our social media channels which took us close to 3 years to build.

  • http://www.blog.sagency.de/ Jan Roessner

    Thank you, Jonathan, for providing your interesting PoV. Although I agree with you regarding the deteriorated quality of a vast amount of blog posts, I don’t believe in the condemnation of corporate blogs. As Danny mentioned (way) earlier, bad quality blog posts are often the result of bad consultation.

    A corporate blog should primarily be designed to proof the companies authority or expertise in its field of profession. It should be designed to meet the customers or readers needs. By doing that, it automatically contributes to SEO (even more so if you take some SEO actions in advance).

    Like always in marketing, every client is ill-adviced when focusing only on one marketing channel. It has to be a mixture that meets the clients needs – that, of course, can also mean that a corporate blog is NOT the right solution.

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