Corporate Blogging Guide (7): Blog Performance Tracking Tools

A blog’s success is measured through both its number of active readers or of RSS subscribers and its performance in traffic: number of page views, of unique visitors, popularity, page rank and many others.

There are a few methods to obtain the needed statistics to track and measure such indicators.

1. Access and traffic statistics

Google, the most powerful and popular search engine in the world, provides bloggers with traffic statistics though its free Google Analytics service.

By choosing a free Google Analytics account, you can view stats regarding your blog’s page views, number of unique or returning visitors, keywords used to reach your blog, the most visited pages you have posted, geographical tracking of your visitors and much more.

Google Analytics is currently considered to be a very accurate and relevant tool. Other services you might consider are StatCounter or Woopra with its live tracking and analytics features.
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Halloween Special: Don’t be afraid to blog!

Happy Halloween folks! As you might have noticed, Blogsessive has changed its “clothes” on this special occasion. Don’t worry, the nerd will be back tomorrow, when Dracula “leaves the building”.

Now, since this is a special occasion, the topic for today’s article has been inspired by a comment I received on part 6 of the Corporate Blogging Guide:

I think we all start our blogs worried people might not like us and when they do, we don’t want to change for fear of losing readers. I’ll take experiments to stagnation any day.
David Walker

The moment I read David’s comment I knew he made a really good remark. It is fear that keeps us in place. It is fear that keeps us from “spreading our wings”. We abide all the rules and all things that we know for sure will work and hope to be the next blogging “rockstar”. But, do you really believe those “rockstars” we all follow are there because they are copycats? Because they follow rules? Or might it be possible that they are the ones creating new rules? Might they be the ones revolutionizing the concepts?

Do you want to be a better blogger? Then…
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Corporate Blogging Guide (6): Blogging Tips to Get You Started

Regardless of the blog type you choose, be it personal or corporate, the following pieces of advice are meant to guide your steps in your future blogging activity. These are the most important blog tips you’ll need to follow when starting a new blogging adventure!

1. Look for ideas at any time and in any place

A conversation in the subway, a debate or piece of news heard on the car radio, anything can turn into a new topic for your blog. Keep your mind open and tune your hearing, combine them with good analysis skills and you will have some killer weapons in your arsenal.

2. Raise and maintain interest

An attractive first paragraph is not enough to maintain the reader’s interest throughout your blog post. “Start big, finish bigger”. Provide new hooks in small doses to keep your readers interest throughout the article.

3. Generate the conversation and take part in it

Often times, bloggers are compared to journalists, and their blogs to newspapers (usually tabloids, not broadsheets). Yet blogs and online newspapers differ exactly where they are also alike – the comments section. Newspapers use the comments section to allow users to express their frustrations and almost never moderate them. The classic journalistic style rarely requires an answer or any feedback, usually being limited to presenting the facts or expressing an opinion.

The main ace bloggers play is their power to start conversations and to keep them going by being part of them.
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Corporate Blogging Guide (5): Blog Editors & Editorial Policy

Depending on the type of corporate blog you’re targeting, you can then put together an editorial team. To make sure you correctly appoint those in charge of content generation and blog management, you need to consider the following criteria:

1. Criteria to help build the editorial team

The future bloggers needs to be/have:

  1. Experts in the filed they are going to cover;
  2. A good communicator, able to manage potential communication crises arising from dialogues and feedback generated by the blog;
  3. Concise, clear and explicit when they express themselves, as they will not target only those who are in their turn experts and are acquainted to the field’s jargon;
  4. Believable and genuine in what the provided information is concerned;
  5. A human touch and a pleasant manner of writing;
  6. Ready to face a reduced level of privacy in their lives, at least in what the online world is concerned.

2. PR department involvement

Most communications through the corporate blog usually abide by the general public relations policies within the company, thus it is strongly recommended that your blogger(s) work together with your PR department. Their collaboration helps:

  1. abide by the general communication tone imposed by company standards;
  2. prevent or, if needed, manage possible communication crises;
  3. develop the bloggers’ communication skills and ability to generate valuable content.


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Corporate Blogging Guide (4): Types of Corporate Blogs

So, you think you are ready to launch a corporate blog for your company? Based on previously set goals for your blog and the available resources, the most common types of corporate blogs from which you can choose are:

CEO blog

The CEO blog is the blog authored by someone from the company’s top management. The general trend for such blogs is to publish analyses of the main events in a certain filed, forecasts and statistics, this content pattern thus positioning the author as a thought leader.

Often times this type of blog will be strongly related to the company brand, its products and services.

A few famous examples of CEO blogs:

  1. Jonathan Schwartz (President & CEO, Sun Microsystems)
  2. Craig Newmark (CEO, Craig’s List)
  3. Jason Calacanis (CEO, Weblogs)

Entrepreneur blog

Similar to the CEO blog in what the editorial style is concerned, the entrepreneur blog is set apart by a significantly larger volume of information relevant to the author’s field of expertise and by diary-type entries describing the ongoing projects the entrepreneur is focusing on at the time.

A couple of examples of entrepreneur blogs:

  1. Guy Kawasaki
  2. Jeff Pulver
  3. Kevin Rose

Multi-author company blog

Several authors – company employees from different departments – publish content on this type of blog, each of them writing articles that cover their area of expertise. Often times these types of blogs turn into blog communities aggregating content published by individual, single-author blogs.

Example: Google Blog
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Corporate Blogging Guide (3): Setting up Goals and Blog Positioning

So, did you ask yourself if a blog is the right thing for your company? Is it a solution that will boost your business instead of being a resource consumer? If so, it’s time to find out what options are there in terms of positioning a corporate blog.

Each company has its specific communication needs. Based on said needs and other established targets, a newly launched company blog can help achieve specific goals, such as:

  • Becoming an alternative, and dynamic method to publish content;
  • Positioning employees as thought leaders and experts in their respective fields;
  • Building a community around a company, product or service;
  • Boosting sales;
  • Encouraging customers to send their feedback;
  • Speeding up customer service;
  • Gaining you exposure through both new and traditional (print press, radio, TV) media;
  • Positioning you as a trendy company that keeps up with new technologies;
  • Becoming and effective channel for crisis communication;
  • Supporting your HR efforts by offering an “alternative” look at your team and thus attracting new job applications;
  • Helping your company rank higher for specific search phrases and attracting new backlinks.

It’s highly recommended to establish a set of complementary goals. If a company manages to focus on and reach its main goals, the adjacent targets will also be achieved at the same time.

Here are a couple of examples of complementary goal sets:

  • Building a community + boosting sales + attracting feedback
  • Positioning yourself as a thought leader + building a community + gaining media exposure

Other chapters of the Corporate Blogging Guide

Chapter 1: Introduction to Blogging
Chapter 2: Critical Questions Before Launching a Corporate Blog
Chapter 3: Setting up Goals and Blog Positioning (current)
Chapter 4: Types of Corporate Blogs
Chapter 5: Blog Editors & Editorial Policy
Chapter 6: Blogging Tips to Get You Started
Chapter 7: Blog Performance Tracking Tools

Corporate Blogging Guide (2): Critical Questions Before Launching a Corporate Blog

Not all promoting and marketing techniques yield results in any given situation and likewise blogs aren’t always the best solution. In certain cases, a blog can become a useless investment, or worse, a way to boost the already negative view the audience has on a company.

Before launching a blog, each company needs to ask the following questions:

2.1. Is the blog a necessity or just a whim?

A company’s decision to launch a blog may be based on obvious advantages generated by the freedom of communication and by its being given a human touch. Considering these advantages or failing to do so, we still run into situations where a company chooses to launch a blog because of reasons such as:

  • Our competitor X has launched a blog;
  • It’s trendy, any teen has one. Why can’t we have one?
  • We want to look high-tech / tech savvy.

In theory, none of the reasons above is a real obstacle, given it’s associated with and supported by other factors such as having the necessary resources to create and maintain a blog or a positive or neutral image in the market.

2.2 Do you have the needed resources to launch and maintain a blog?

Unlike classic company website, blogs keep consuming resources.

Blogging ResourcesBlogs imply costs. Be it the technical side – design, development, hosting, be it hiring an experienced blogger to maintain it and publish fresh content, a blog needs financial resources.

Blogs take time. It takes time to create and publish content; it takes time to research, write posts, update them and maintain the blog. And for any company with a sense of business, time always means money.

Blogs need dedicated personnel. While there are quite a few tools to render content publishing automatic, the best results in corporate blogging are harvested by those publishing customized content, created by their own people. Are there people in your team who can maintain the blog? If not, do you have enough resources to bring in someone new?
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Corporate Blogging Guide (1): Introduction to Blogging

A few months back I was invited to attend, as a speaker, an event on corporate blogging where the people in the audience were mostly PR Managers for different companies in my country. Along with the PowerPoint presentation, I have decided to also give those who attended the event more information on corporate blogging through an eBook I wrote at that time.

The following post is the first chapter of that eBook, translated into English. The rest of the chapters will be also published, over the next few days, except for the weekend. Now, let’s see what corporate blogging is about and if it is the right tool for you and your business.

1.1 Blog, Blogging, Blogosphere

The term blog, contracted form of weblog, defines a certain type of website where texts, photos, audio or video content are published in chronological order, much like an online diary.

Corporate bloggingThe first blogs date back to 1993 when the term was first introduced, but they only started to be used more frequently in 1998 when the first blog community, Open Diary, appeared.

The true hit of the online mainstream happened around 2002-2003, when the first blog reactions regarding the Iraq war were published and when Google acquired the Blogger.com platform, which allows any person with Internet access to create and maintain their own blog.

The Blogosphere comprises all public blogs and is defined as a community based on the theory that all existing blogs are somehow interconnected, often through blogrolls or links inserted in their content.
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How to make your blog and tweets work together like a charm

Tweetmeme buttons, plugins to show latest tweets on blogs, Twitter accounts linking to the owner’s blog, new posts being tweeted, and blog addresses and twitter links in signatures. If that’s not enough, I don’t know what else would show that blogging and tweeting go hand in hand for tons of people. If you think of names, blogging and microblogging, you kind of see the connection. If you think microblogging appeared later, you’d think much of the blogging knowledge is applicable. But how can you be on both platforms and make them work individually and as a team?

1. Spot the similarities

Blogs and Twitter are of the same species. They come from the world of the social web where the same rules apply. You know, give before you ask, be nice, share relevant information, never, ever, ever limit yourself to broadcasting, be conversational, help out. It’s not rocket science and it’s definitely not new. To make it more clear, here’s the example section: comment on other blogs before you expect comments – or – retweet before you expect your followers to retweet your 140 characters of content.

Catchy and interesting content is crucial for both. If your blog post is a big hit, make your tweets the same. “New blog post + link” won’t make a lot of people click. “Star Trek is real! We can all now teleport! + link + Fresh from the blog” might work a lot better.

They both need frequent updates. If you’re planning to create a blog and never post after the first time, you’ve failed. If you’re planning to get a Twitter account to say hi and have a cool button on your blog without ever doing anything more, you have failed. People expect updates from both bloggers and microbloggers.

Both need monitoring. You need to check responses, reactions and trends to be on top of your game. And if you’re blogging and tweeting right, that will take a whole lot of time.
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The Blogging Alphabet (Creative Exercise)

Let’s play! Today’s post is a fun, creative exercise that I’d be happy to complete with your help through the comments section. What is the exercise about? Blogging tips, of course.

This post is part of the change I wish to bring to Blogsessive and get closer to you folks, your needs and thoughts!

What I will do: Using the ODD letters (A, C, E, G, I, K, M, O, Q, S, U, W, Y) of the English alphabet I will list 13 blogging tips, each in a sentence starting with that letter.

What you could do: Share your tips and views by completing the sentences starting with EVEN letters (B, D, F, H, J, L, N, P, R, T, V, X, Z).

I’m sure that each and everyone of you has something to share with the community, so let’s get creative!

The Blogging Alphabet of Blog Tips

A. Acknowledge the latest trends in your area of blogging. Always stay up to date, informed.

B.

C. Connect with other people, with bloggers in your niche. Offer help. Network. Friends are some of bloggers’ greatest “assets”.
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