One way to make sure your company’s blog is performing well is to analyze it against a set of best practices, and use those best practices to guide your strategy. Here is an article that outlines five simple yet effective best practices for business blogging, which translate well to the engineering industry. These best practices are: create consistent content, always include engaging images, keep it short and simple, include links, and promote your posts (Edelstein, 2014).
The creation of consistent content, and keeping it short and simple, are two guiding principles that can be applied to every blog post. Creating a theme or direction for the blog, as well as simple standards for length, can help a company guide the development of good content. In addition to these guidelines, following Schaefer’s (2012) principles for tweets will help determine what kind of content to publish. These guidelines are to be helpful, kind, informative, and useful will your content (Schaefer, 2012). Every post should meet most, if not all of these requirements.
There’s no need for posts to be longer than a few paragraphs is the intention is set forth in the blogging strategy. Often in professional service fields, such as engineering, the content behind the blog posts can be very technical in nature. Technically trained staff can struggle to condense their thoughts and information down to an appropriate blog length. The marketing team should be aware of this, and will to help with editing. Also, the practice of including links helps assist with this. In the case of a publication or white paper written by a technical professional, host that document on your website or somewhere else, and have the blog give a brief summary and a link to the full document.
Including links on your blog can lead readers to your website, to important references, or to a contact form that should result in a qualified lead. The other important role of links is to provide links back to your blog on other social media channels. Stantec, a large engineering firm, uses their Google Plus page as a way to share posts from their corporate blog, as well as accompanying photos. While Stantec does a good job of sharing relevant content on their Google Plus page, including their blog posts and other interesting third-party posts, the company might benefit from following some of Brogan’s (2012) suggestions such as posting videos, adding a personal touch, and re-posting more from others in the industry.
As technology develops, we have seen many social networks embracing the use of images on a large scale. Including engaging images on your blog posts not only gives the page visual interest, but makes it more shareable and will likely garner more attention on a network like LinkedIn or Twitter, as opposed to a post consisting only of text. These pictures can range from something as simple as a headshot of the author of the post, to photos of fieldwork, a site your company is working on, staff in your office, or a finished project. Engineering companies work on a lot of interesting buildings and infrastructure, so engaging images should be a part of the majority of your blog posts. A great example of this is TRC Companies’ corporate blog. Each post begins with an image related to the content, and the blog posts are consistent with the company’s services and offer helpful information about industry regulations to clients.
Taking all of these best practices into mind, and using them to guide a corporate blogging strategy, will help those companies looking to start a blog, or rehabilitate an existing blog, do so successfully. Remember not only to decide which strategies will work best for your team and your company (consider your audience!), but also make sure to check back in every quarter or so and make sure your company blog is still in line with the best practices and strategy you set for at the beginning.
Brogan, C. (2012). Google for business: How Google’s social network changes everything. Indianapolis, Ind.: Que.
Edelstein, M. (2014, January 10). 5 Business Blogging Best Practices. Retrieved August 10, 2014 from http://blog.ringcentral.com/2014/01/5-business-blogging-best-practices-friday-five/
Schaefer, M. W. (2012). The Tao of Twitter: changing your life and business 140 characters at a time. New York: McGraw-Hill.