Tag Archives: Blogging

How to write a corporate blog

Corporate bloggingBlogs. They are everywhere, and their numbers are growing by the hour. Lots of companies are being encouraged to blog as a way to market themselves and reach candidates, but it’s a sad fact that most corporate blogs are terrible (84%, in fact). They are filled with press releases and other one-way communications that are not helpful in building a community or encouraging conversation. Let’s remedy that.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long, long time now. While I haven’t had the opportunity (yet) to write a corporate blog, I have been writing this blog for over a year and a half. In the past 15 months, I’ve also been writing my SHRM chapter’s blog as well. I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve learned a lot and made enough mistakes to see what works and what doesn’t.

It’s all about authenticity and value

If it reads like a press release, people won’t be interested. Press releases have their own place, but it’s not in a blog. Content from a press release can be used in a blogging context, but it needs to be as a sidebar or commentary item, not the main fare.

So, if you’re not just spouting PR stuff from the blog, what do you talk about? Two of my favorite corporate blogs are by MailChimp and EventBrite. I’m not a full time email manager or event planner, but I still subscribe to both of these blogs and read them religiously. Why? They provide a great mix of customer-focused  “how to” posts, comments on their industry in general, and information about new features (plus how they impact you as a customer). Much of what they post is written to educate readers and encourage conversation.

The main thing: It’s great content that helps every reader, whether they are customers or not.

The root problem

Just like with this huge social media blocking craze we’re seeing these days, companies are hesitant to put their trust in their people. You know, those same people who can go to their homes, the local bar, or a child’s sporting event and talk about the company’s horrible, evil ways in public. But you’re going to block them at work. Doesn’t make sense!

Empower your people to have a real voice and let them make things happen. The more you water down the opinions and strip away the humanity in your corporate blog, the worse off it will be.

Like I said, they can already wreck your company publicly at any time they choose. Giving them a social media platform to share from doesn’t change that fact.

The mechanics

Blogging has a lot of pieces to it, but it’s possible to focus on just a few areas to make sure you are hitting the high points.

  • Writing the right types of posts to get links/comments
  • Interlinking and other SEO tips to get more views
  • Creating an editorial calendar
  • Building sneeze and squeeze pages
  • And plenty more!

One of the best tools I’ve found to help you learn to cover each of those pieces and integrate them into a powerful blog is the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook. If you really want to get your corporate blog going and make it shine, then I highly encourage you to check out the book. I just found out that if you use “november25” as your discount code at checkout, you’ll get 25% off the price, but it’s only good through the end of November. Click here to learn more.

Growing awareness and engagement

In his book Culture Convo, Chris Ferdinandi makes this great point about how to grow awareness and engagement among your audience:

Whether you\’re looking to increase the number of people who read your blog, follow you on Twitter, or are your fans on Facebook, the strategy is always the same.
Have conversations worth listening to.
Being an interesting conversationalist – creating fun posts, photos and videos, sharing interesting news and useful insights – is the only way to have long-term success using social media. It\’s really that simple.
That doesn\’t mean that it\’s always easy. Figuring out what your target audience is interested in can take some time. But there\’s no magic formula to growing your awareness and engagement.
If you\’re a good conversationalist, then your circle of conversation will grow slowly and organically (and exponentially!) over time.

Final thoughts

If your corporate blog sucks (and it looks like about 84% of them do), it doesn’t have to be terminal. Most of the time the situation is not irreparable. Connect with people. Help them. Interact. Learn. And stop shoving press releases down our throats. It’s not working.

Anyone else have a good corporate blog they’d like to plug? Drop it in the comments below.

I’m giving away free blogging help

Yes, you heard me correctly. I know this isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you decide a year down the road that you’d like to start blogging, just come back to this post. I promise I won’t say, “I told you so.” :-)

Anyway, I have been working like a madman to put together a free resource for those people who are on the verge of starting a blog but just can’t seem to make that final push. It seems like such a huge, difficult task. Well, hopefully I can assist with that.

The big push

At HRevolution this year, we had a very large crowd at the blogging session. If I could go back and redo it, I would have broken the groups into different levels of experience. But since my time machine’s in the shop, I am trying to fix things the only way I know how. So if you were one of those people who said, “I might like to start a blog, but I’m not sure of the why/how/what/etc.” then this is a resource for you.

I’ve created several lessons just for those looking for help to create a blog and get it running smoothly. If you’re one of those people and you are interested in what I’ve cooked up, just head over to the lessons and check them out.

Click here to go to the beginner blogger lessons


Upcoming Attractions

Whew! With all the serious stuff lately, I haven’t had time to catch up with what’s going on in my little world (like you all are just dying to know). :-) A few things…


Melanie and I are sitting on our butts with the adoption. We have finished all of our tasks, but now we’re looking/waiting for a baby. Why am I telling you? We just need one person. Yeah, it’s a little strange for most of you. To y’all, I’m just a guy writing about HR. Well, luckily there’s a place you can go to learn all about the hope for adoption that I share with my wife. Some of my great friends at HRev took the time to ask about how it was going, and I appreciate the sincerity and concern!

HR Carnival

Back when I did my first HR blog carnival, I prepared everyone with a post about how they need to share the stuff with people outside our little bubble. I think it’s pretty darn funny that Lance and Laurie finished off HRev with the same advice. Anyway, I am running the carnival again here this week, and the theme will be the event that I helped to create, so I’m really excited about bringing all that HRev goodness back to the home front. If you would like to contribute but don’t have a blog, I take email submissions!

Oh, the Irony


I just realized something. I wrote a post a while back about how I was so productive and I planned to teach you all a few ideas on how to do the same. Then I never even finished writing the series. Is that hilarious or what?

New eBook Project

I’ve been looking for my next eBook topic. I haven’t written one since Rock the PHR. Nothing has really sounded that appealing to me. But one day last week I had lunch with my web design partner and he mentioned a recent post as a great point of expansion. All that for a teaser, huh? :-)

Google Reader trends screenshot

Getting Out of HR

Check out my Google Reader screenshot above. That’s how I read the blogs and keep up with everything that goes on in the blogging world. I’m cutting HR blogs and adding other subscriptions to my Google Reader (click here to learn how to use Google Reader). I love you guys. Really. But there are two constraints. First, I can’t keep up with everyone. After resigning myself to that fact, I moved on to the second reason. My life is more than just human resources, and I have been trimming my HR blogs and adding more on topics like marriage, relationships, communication, web design, graphic design, search engine optimization, marketing, and sales. Way off topic for the day job, but infinitely helpful in so many ways.

The Breakup

I alerted the people on the free Rock the PHR newsletter this week, but some of the rest of you may be interested. Ning, who has traditionally offered free social network building tools, is canceling their free service. That means I get to scramble for another option or just pay the fee. And due to their customer service flub I mentioned, I think there are better alternatives. Breaking up is hard to do… I’ve used them for almost half  a year to run a network that is a bonus benefit to those who purchase the RTPHR eBook, and now I’m on the hunt again for another option.

Blog Stuff

I had a great chat on blogging tools and tips last week with Charlie Judy of HR Fishbowl. When I had my super-secret Rock Your Blog group running a few months back, I wrote a few articles with ideas on Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Feedburner, and search engine optimization. That’s Greek to most of you, but it’s like heroin for us bloggers. ;-) Anyway, I’m putting them together into a guide and have made some videos showing how to do general stuff with WordPress. If anyone’s interested in learning how to get a blog off the ground, just let me know and I’ll hook you up. Or if you’re wondering if blogging is even a remote possibility for you, I can talk you through that, too. I’m always up for some email.

HRCI-You’re Doing it Wrong

I have to let it go. HRCI (the Human Resources Certification Institute) is stepping into social media and they are going about it all wrong. But instead of being purely negative and jumping down their collective throats, I want to offer some suggestions and positive points. I should have a post up on this by Friday. Stay tuned.

And that’s about all I have going at this exact second… What about you? Doing anything interesting? Don’t forget to stop back by on Wednesday for a great collection of HRevolution posts as I host the HR blog carnival!

HRevolution Blogging Session Help

So, I just might kinda sorta be leading a blogging session at HRevolution. Cool, huh? :-) Well, I wandered back and forth at HRev #1 snapping pictures and trying to listen in on both the beginner and expert sessions. I know there’s a lot of variety out there with regard to blogging ability, skillset, interest, etc. What I would like to know is what you’d like to see in a blogging session (if you even care).

At the first event, we split the bloggers into beginner and advanced groups. They covered everything from website troubleshooting to getting post ideas from Google Reader to adding images to a WordPress post. After the event was over, I kept up with the beginner blogger session attendees and tried to make sure and answer each and every blogging question they brought up. I had a lot of fun and hope to do the same this time around. Continue reading