The social media purists will tell you that a corporate blog serves as a community hub for your brand. They say it gives your customers a connection point to your company and engenders a sense of community. In some cases that’s true, but you’re going to see me exploring corporate blogging a lot more this year to follow up on a theory that your “community” or “audience” for your blog isn’t what you think it is. That, and the ultimate judge of a corporate blogging effort must be more closely tied to success metrics than making everyone feel good.
As you know, I’ve partnered with Compendium Blogware, Debbie Weil and Jay Baer for a research project and some other extensions of that project this year. Part of that partnership gives me access to case studies of Compendium clients in addition to the external research we’re doing. One such case study caught my attention recently.
Aprilaire’s corporate blog has seen a 1,000 percent traffic growth in the last year. Yes, that’s 1,000 PERCENT, not people. Pretty strong. (For reference, Compete.com says their corporate site in total had 50,000 unique visitors last month, so we’re not talking 4 visitors to 4,000 either.) The social media purists will probably jump on that statistic and say, “See! Building community and engaging in conversation is what social media success is all about.”
Don’t jump to conclusions there, hippie.
Aprilaire approached corporate blogging with capturing leads through search engine optimization and winning keywords as their primary goal. Using Compendium’s system, which turns a blog into a keyword and search-driven model rather than a single-author, ego platform, the company began climbing the organic search rankings. Of their 1,000 percent traffic increase, 80 percent of it came from organic search results. Mission accomplished.
What Aprilaire did is approach corporate blogging with business metrics in mind. Community and conversation are part of the effort, sure. But even if they all but don’t exist — at this writing there was but a single comment on their last 10 blog posts combined — your corporate blog can (and should) drive your business. The Aprilaire blog features good content focused on targeted keywords and drives traffic. This traffic isn’t their “community” but rather web searchers trying to find content on the keywords Aprilaire is writing about. When they arrive on a blog post, there are clear calls to action on the page and links to action items (more information requests, landing pages, etc.). The blog converts more readers into customers.
Don’t get me wrong! Engaging in conversation, building community around your brand and bringing humanity (and human-ness) back to the marketing table are all vitally important to a company’s social media success. But please know this can be done in one or many channels and others, even a corporate blog, can focus on driving business.
Go look at your blog’s traffic. How many of your visitors are finding your content for the first time (through search or referral links)? How many are your, “community?” What does this tell you about your blogging approach? The comments are yours.