As if from a magical moment in a Disney movie, January 2013 arrived and it seems as though I lost my glass slipper Cinderella styles. I’ve realized I am at an exciting crossroads. I’ve now been running my blog full time via brand advertorial and PR freelance work for the past 10 months (omg). After spending the last month on three press trips I returned home exhausted, ready to reassess my career goals. I’ve grown tired of my regular routine which is well chronicled in How To Run a Blog: From Dusk Till Dawn.
What I Do Know: I’m passionate about telling a good story. I look back at my earliest blog posts and cringe. I’m amazed at how over the years my ability to weave a compelling narrative through excessive photography and whimsical storytelling has matured. I started off writing about my three year “around the world travel adventure”, then moved to Toronto and have become known for my restaurant, cheese, beverage, theatre and arts reviews. A passionate travelog quickly blossomed into a lifestyle magazine.
So like anyone looking to make a career move I searched for my resume in the far reaches of my cob web infested, moth ball stenched closet. I hadn’t actually used my resume in two years so was delighted to make a few necessary updates. After chatting with a few highly regarded colleagues in the PR, Digital Marketing and Media worlds I realized I would find happiness in my next steps if I stayed true to my passion for blog production, social media strategy and PR in the food, beverage and travel niche.
I was unanimously encouraged to seek out work at a company where I could thrive on creating creative branded digital content. So I took it upon myself one evening (while nursing a bottle of Champagne) to research as many corporate blogs I could get my hands on. What a brutal lesson that was! Dear Corporation With a Shitty Blog…
1) Seems As Though You Are Terrified!
I’m assuming you are probably scared shitless about having a blog on your brands website. Remember that no one ever won an innovation award for playing safe. It is brutally apparent that far to many fingertips sitting behind WordPress are frightened. It seems as though most of these corporations are forcing their bloggers to sit behind a wall of red tape desperate to push through and actually showcase their personality, humour and honest opinons. Why are you stopping them? Stop being so mean!
2) Your Blog Is Boring!
No, actually I don’t care that your gluten free “dip” is just as fun to eat with a rice cracker as it is with a carrot stick. Who on earth thought this sort of content is engaging? Why does every other blog post look like an advertisement? Why aren’t guest bloggers or niche related experts telling their own personal stories about interacting with your product or service featured on your corporate blog? Why is your corporate culture not shining through here as an engaging personality?
3) Did Your Intern Invent Gravity?
Far to many brands hire “fresh out of University” interns to run their social media, community management and blog production. Is your intern God’s gift to the internet? Does she speak to you telepathically? Does he write in ten different languages? Corporate blogs that find success realize there is an actual unique skill and ability in storytelling about a brand through thoughtful strategy. While your corporate blog is an essential part of your brands consumer facing PR and Marketing please remember you need to invest in top talent and money in order to see a real return on investment. You don’t have us fooled. It’s easy to spot a newbie blogger. Just find the site with “all content and no heart,” a site that features a plethora of well written articles but doesn’t share a single authentic experience by the author.
4) Your Blog Made My Mom Faint!
So I’m sitting on your blog. Literally sitting right on it staring up at a world of oversized fonts and jpeg click-through-galleries and it is clear from the get go that the energy died. My mom just fainted. All to many corporate blogs are launched in a frantic “we have to do this because everyone is saying we have to do this” frenzy. Why aren’t your blog posts aligned with your brands business goals? Why are your blogs so poorly executed (10 posts last month but this month only 2? Did your blog go on vacation?) And where is the strategy? Your call to action is so weak my mom just fainted again.
5) Your Blog Revolves Around Your Brand Not the People That Use It
Don’t tell me about your brand. I don’t trust you yet. Show me how social media influencers are using your brand through an innovative blogger outreach program. dobbernationLOVES experienced a major shift in storytelling the moment I realized the key to engaging content was personality driven features. Sure I could review a restaurant by myself (who wants to eat alone?) but the post will get over triple the amount of traffic if I invite another influencer along for the ride with me. People also love seeing mothers and cute grandparents sipping on Afternoon Tea. Does your corporate blog seek to inspire and induce a smile? Does it force us to hold our hearts and simply adore?
6) Your Blog Has Zero Character
What does it feel like to work in your office? Is it boring as hell? Paint peeling off the walls? Does everyone look lifeless and borderline zombie? If so, hold off on starting a blog. But, to those of you who are working in a company which is passionate about your product and service, your blog should mimic that excitement. Think of your blog as a personality which reflects the people who work to build these product and services as well as the consumers who enjoy them. Is your blogs personality edgy? Does it generate controversy and conversation? Does it inspire? Do people leave wanting to come back for more? Be bold. Be witty. Speak like a human being.
Above all else, there is one reason why corporate blogs suck: They Write Blog Posts Instead of Trying to Change the World. The most engaging blogs are written by those who are in touch with their soul, can’t wait to share their unique perspective and know how to engage their audience via their passions. They are the razzle dazzle Fashion Blogger who created a design driven media empire, the Food Blogger who inspires us to go out and eat something new and the Travel Blogger who realizes that with each new stamp in their passport they are conquering the world.
Brands need to invest in these folks. Passionate, enthusiastic, creative individuals who have tamed the blog monster and play with social media in their sleep.