Corporate Blog Writer Site Navigation

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

#1 thing you can do that will make me want to hire you

Right now I am hiring for a digital communications manager position for one of our clients.  This is not what I normally do (as I mentioned, I mostly write).  Kind of random since I am learning about all this search engine optimization/keyword research stuff myself.  But also good, since I am at the point where at least I know what I don't know.

Back to interviewing though: frustrating!  First of all, about 90% of the emails get immediately trashed because they are too long, too short, or too boring.  We are looking for someone who can WRITE.  Every woman who comes in wears this uniform: a black pants suit and a white shirt.  Boring.

What you can do to impress me the most

I ask the interviewee questions, trying to see if their experience matches the job description.  Trying to get clues to see if they are a self-starter.  Near the end of the interview, I usually ask: "is there anything else you want to tell me?"

The last three people have said, "nope, that's about it!"

They are missing the opportunity! Now is the time!

Tell me exactly how your qualifications match the job description.  It's all out there in the original ad.  Bullet points. Tell me, "I think I'd be great at this job because I can do A,B and C, just like you have in the ad.  I'm learning about D and E and I know I can do it because I did Z in my last job."

What am I doing wrong?

Am I doing something wrong as an interviewer?  Should I ask straight out: "What qualifies you for this position?"  What do you think?

Monday, September 27, 2010

What it means to create "compelling content"

I am gathering that creating "compelling content" depends entirely on the audience you are trying to attract.  There's a million pieces of advice out there for personal bloggers: creating your voice, telling stories, etc.  But for corporate bloggers, creating compelling content has to be compelling only to potential customers. It needs to answer their questions and solve their problems.  Plus, SEO is critical, and not just to turn up high on all searches: to turn up high on relevant searches.  Another reason I am in love with the cases of Aprilaire and this mixed martial arts blog.

I'm rethinking the wise-ness of doing a trial with my company's blog.  Maybe it's better to try first entirely on the outside.  There might be an opportunity to do a test blog with a business I know - and possibly they'll trade some services (they're a photography studio/event space).  I'll see what their goals are, try out some keyword research programs, and see if I get any traction.  If it works out I'll post some results.

By far the most helpful Web site I'm using right now is Copyblogger.  It's providing me with the resources to really start building something.

Friday, September 24, 2010

SEO tips for bloggers

Just learned a ton about SEO in a short time by attending a video conference for International Freelancer's Day.  I can see I've got a ways to go since I'm not quite a corporate blog writer.  I'm not going to rehash the seminar -- you can find a lot better tips on SEO and keyword research in a million more places - I am really liking Copyblogger (Brian Clark did the presentation).  I'm pretty sure the presentation is archived there, or just download the materials from Copyblogger.

Not sure if I'm ready to jump into a subscription to a keyword research service yet, but maybe my company will for its blog.   This could be a cool experiment.

Does anyone have a keyword research service they like?  Any free ones you can just try out?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Boring blog posts can be good for business

This post from Jason Falls at Social Media Explorer features a straightforward case study about how a corporate blog for Aprilaire, a company that makes home humidifier equipment, increased traffic to the site by 1,000 percent! The most interesting thing about the blog's success is the true boring-ness of the content (sorry Aprilaire!). It looks like this:

The blog is just a Q&A between customers and Aprilaire customer service.  However boring it may to me, it's not boring at all to potential customers. It's actually a pretty brilliant strategy to attract potential customers who are considering home humidifiers and are searching Google with keywords and questions. Falls says that the analytics reflect this, with 80% of new visitors finding the site through searches. Barely any comments on the posts, no huge amount of dialog and followers, but is it generating Web site traffic? Definitely.

Cool illustration that boring content can work if the keywords are right.  The tougher part: knowing what keywords customers are using to search for your product.

Not quite a corporate blog writer

A friend mentioned the idea of blogging for money. Not writing my own, personal blog and hoping people see it, but writing for corporations who don't have time to blog themselves but need to generate content. It's a good idea, since I already do this in my job, and have for years.

I am a PR and marketing professional with an MBA, but writing has been my favorite part of each job.

For the food industry, I write this blog.

I write engineering articles like this one (a cover story) and this one (one of the year's most-read articles).

I am a big fan of and do some writing for this organization, which is health- and children- focused.

This annual report was the most-requested in the organization's history.

In addition, I've worked for clients in B2B and consumer technology, CPG, education, finance, hospitality, medical, and probably a few more I can't remember.

Am I some freakish genius that knows about all this different stuff? I learn by talking to smart people about what they know and how they see trends evolving and organizing it into articles. This is how the process generally works, and sometimes it takes more work on the client's part than he or she thinks it will:

  1. They come up with the idea; I research and write the whole article based on an initial conversation.
  2. They come up with the idea; I interview them and write with an article based on the interview. Sometimes it's just an outline first.
  3. I come up with a bunch of ideas, and we discuss what's viable. Then I either research it myself or interview them.
For the next few months I have some work to do to get more up to speed on SEO and other guidelines of blogging. If you have suggestions, send them my way!