This Was Exactly What Our Client’s Blog Posts Should *Not* Have Been
A while back I was speaking on the phone with the owner of a company (who eventually became a client) who was looking for help launching a new online marketing campaign. Let's call him Mark.
During our first call together, I inquired about the company's existing marketing efforts.
Mark spoke for a few moments about their unsuccessful foray into social media prior to excitedly sharing they'd really ramped up their blogging efforts and were proud of their commitment and frequency with which they posted.
Great, oh wait—not great
As we continued to talk I opened up Mark's company's website in my browser and clicked through to their blog.
"Mark," I said.
"I've got a question for you. Are you by chance looking to work with a web and online marketing agency that's going to sugarcoat things for you?" I asked.
"NO. Absolutely not. Why, what's wrong? It's...not our blog? You're not looking at our blog right now, are you?" he replied.
"Alright, good. We really don't work well with companies who are looking to have things sugarcoated. I'm glad that's not the case here. You see, your blog isn't actually a blog anymore... I see that a while back it used to contain actual blog posts with interesting news and updates and opinions... but I'm scrolling through everything here... and I'm seeing that the last year's worth of posts are nothing but duplicates of your press releases. A list of press releases is not a blog."
Sure enough, when we dug into the analytics for Mark's company's blog, the subscriber count had dropped massively over the past year.
Short and sweet, here's the deal
It's an incredibly common mistake, but mark my words, folks: Your blog should not be a compilation of press releases.
In fact: press releases don't belong anywhere near your blog.
Press releases are written in a standard format for consumption by journalists. They're written to get other people to write about you.
Your blog, on the other hand, should be targeted at your target customers. Not journalists.
Blogs should give your target customers actual reasons to want to read your blog posts. (My goodness that sounds like an almost insultingly obvious statement there, doesn't it?)
A blog's content should genuinely interest your target customers. It should do things like...
- teach them something,
- get them questioning something,
- give them insight into working with you,
- give them insight into your company,
- provide recommendations that better their lives or their companies
...in other words, your blog should do the exact opposite of what your press releases are doing (which is most likely boring them).
Should you remove all the press releases from your site?
No, absolutely not.
I'm most definitely not saying your company should remove press releases from its website; I'm simply suggesting you keep those press releases in a different section of your website.
Got a press release with content that'll interest your target customers? Great! Repurpose that bland press release into an interesting blog post and you're good to go.
It's not easy
Maintaining a fresh, interesting, effective business blog is neither easy nor quick. The only easy thing here is the concept that substituting press releases for interesting blog posts will prevent you from experiencing the success you could be experiencing with a strategic, well-planned, well-written blog.
(And thank goodness Mark has handed over his company's blog strategy and writing to us. Their press releases will quickly be gone and compelling content focused at their target audience will be pushed out soon.)