Northestern University and Backbone Media have recently published a study of the factors that make a business blog successful. They interviewed twenty highly successful corporate bloggers and asked each one a series of stndardized questions.
While there were no surprises for anyone who has read Naked Conversations, I did find a few recurring themes:
- Engaging other bloggers in online conversation is crucial to your blog's success. Locate and read other blogs in your industry and leave thoughtful comments on them oftem. Even before you write the first post on your blog, you should be searching the online world for places where conversation and discussion about your industry occurs.
- Create interesting, compelling content. Write about your industry, your marketplace, and the concerns of your customers related to your industry. Write about ideas and events that encourage reader feedback, and then leverage that feedback.
- Be open, transparent, and real. Don't be afraid to reveal the human side of the inner workings of your business. Be open and forthcoming about how or why decisions are made that affect your customers.
"What should I write about?" is a question I am often asked. The following paragraph in the study is one that I will quote often:
The Stonyfield Farm blog was the most successful blog run by Stonyfield Farm. Jonathan the farmer, Stonyfield’s organic farming blogger, writes about whatever is happening in his life, the calving season or maple sugar season. The success of the Stonyfield Farm organic farming blog is because it is all about a farmer’s unique experiences in farming an organic farm. What must seem mundane to the farmer is refreshing, compelling and entertaining content to most readers.
I can't emphasize enough how important I think this is. This is the kind of content that creates a bond between you and your customers or potential customers.