Creating a Corporate Blog People Want to Read

Corporate blogging

While many of the tips on blog resource sites concentrate on “personal blogging”, many can be transferred to a more business-minded blog.

Yet what about corporate blogs, where many of the tips given might not apply, or come up against everyone’s favourite, the Red Tape Roadblock?

Can generic tips apply to more organizational blogs?

Yes and no – depending on the company in question, and their willingness to experiment. Here are some ideas for those that might be willing to look at how their organization could use a blog.

Work Around the Legal Blocks

One of the biggest complaints I hear about blogs for organizations and enterprise is that the number of legal hoops they have to go through, just to get a post approved, means it’s not worthwhile to pursue.

By the time the approval comes, it’s too late to miss a hot time for a particular story, or opportunity. Fair enough – but if you’re missing out on a lead generation or business opportunity because legal is syphoning you, perhaps you have bigger company issues than jumping on a trend?

Organizations don’t always need to write things where legal minefields are visible. There are way more things to write about, that can receive instantaneous approval (if any is needed). These could include:

  • Loyal customer or preferred client showcase / thank-you.
  • Highlighting your great team.
  • How your company came into existence.
  • Cool innovations in your market that aren’t necessarily from you.

These are just some suggestions, but each offer a way to have continuous content without waiting for a dozen rounds of approval.

Use Video and Education

People are visual creatures. We like to see things, as opposed to just reading about them. So why do so many businesses not use video as part of their blogging strategy?

The great thing with video is that you don’t even need to have someone in front of the camera (although offering a face to the company is always a great way of humanizing it).

Video also makes it easy to offer an educational portion to your blog – how to use your online purchasing system, for example, or how to put together one of your products, as opposed to a fifty page manual.

The opportunities with video blogging for businesses is huge, and it doesn’t even have to be top-notch production. You can get a great set-up – camera, tripod, external mics, etc – for under $1,000, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t that much.

Allow Honesty

The reason social media is so popular with customers is because it allows a greater connection between them and the brands they choose to connect with.

Connect well, and the potential for lead generation and sales – as well as brand loyalty – is palpable.

Another reason social media is so popular is one word – honesty. There’s nowhere to hide online, and this is encouraging businesses to be better at how they deal with customer queries, issues and more.

Blogging’s just another facet of social media – so use it as such, and try and be honest in your blogging.

  • Use it to admit to mistakes made by your company and how you aim to rectify.
  • Correct false news stories and present the facts to back your point(s) up.
  • Use everyday grammar as opposed to techy business talk, or creative talk (unless that’s specifically your audience).
  • Accept criticism of posts, and reply professionally and honestly, accepting the critiques if they’re valid.

Again, these are just some of the ways you can make your corporate blog more interesting.

You could also share examples of how you help in the community; or support local charities; or encourage guest posts from your customers about their experience with you (although this may come under legal, for obvious reasons).

The point is, there’s a lot you can do with a corporate blog to stop it being just another dull news site. And you might just be pleasantly surprised how well your customers – existing and potential – respond to a non-dull approach.

How about you? If you’re a corporate blogger, what have you found that works? Or, if you’re a reader, what would you like to see more of in a corporate blog?

image: maxymedia

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  1. Ginger says

    I agree with your view that nothing hinders the development of company blogs more that red tape. If only administrative people will set aside their egos (the main reason for red tape in the first place) then more things can be accomplished.

    • says

      As a recovering corporate employee, I can totally understand the frustrations of everything having to go through legal. This was one of the main reasons I left and started my own company :0)

      This post was spot on with what works for corporate blogs (and for small to mid size businesses as well!) – check out one of my favorite companies who understands how to blog the right way:

    • says

      Hi Ginger,

      Agreed. I once worked at an organization of 5,000 people and the ego in the HR department (which had final say on communications, bizarrely enough) was crazy. Hey ho…

  2. says

    Great stuff here, Danny. I think one of the biggest problems with corporate blogs is they are very stiff and robotic. Anything businesses can do to breathe some life into the content will go a long way toward helping the effort be successful.

    I think for many businesses, it’s still a struggle to think this way. There is a real fear of being too honest because that is a real shift from how companies used to communicate.

    • says

      Agreed, Laura. One of the best corporate blogs I’ve read belongs to Bill Marriott, the guy that owns the hotel chain. Warm, humorous and genuine. Now why can’t more take his lead?

  3. says

    Great advice here Danny especially for those corporate bloggers (or individual for that matter) that sometimes feel paralyzed by their blog. What I appreciate reading are blog posts that are meant to education, inform and engage vs those that seem to be “selling” something. For instance, a communications services blog that posts about specific things one should be thinking of in creating a video production is always a good way in to begin a discussion especially for those clients who are not adept at DIY. Cheers,


    • says

      For sure, mate. Heck, I’ve seen competitors offer gushing reviews of competing products, because they know at the end of the day competition is healthy.

      And if you can show you appreciate good work, regardless of where it’s from, and you want to share that with your customers… 😉

  4. says

    Great post Danny

    Obviously much easier for a small business to blog. I definitely think decide who your reader is. I haven’t checked their sites but Chevron and Exxon Mobile each have oil refineries in Los Angeles in communities that live in far over safety or hazardous clouds of acid being released (because these have happened in the past). Thy always did a good job of taking out full page ‘Blog Posts’ in the local papers to show they care and want to be embraced. They could do this online too.
    Other companies have a B2B reader. Sometimes the end user.

    I think a larger company should have separate blogs for different reader groups vs one for all. Any thoughts?

    • says

      Hi mate,

      Great idea. I look at companies like IBM, that have different blogs based on readership (internal, engineers, customers, technical, etc).

      There’s absolutely no reason for any company to use the excuse “We’re too big” – people will always read stuff that interests them. You just need to have the balls to offer it.

  5. says

    Danny, I like what you said on including loyal clients/customers. After all, we all love reading a good success story and by focusing on the clients we leave the corporate “we” feeling to focus on what the blog visitors probably can related more to – their own situation. This answers the WIIFM so beautifully. Thank you for the post.

    • says

      Exactly, Isabelle. Who is it that makes a company a success (or at least plays a huge part in it)? Customers. So why not highlight them too? They’re as important as any great sales or acquisition result.

      And the loyalty in return worth more than any dollar spent on company perks… 😉

  6. says


    I get asked this question all the time from my fellow insurance professionals…

    Do you worry about Errors and Omissions issues when writing on a blog?

    I’m not sure why you would have to worry about that if you are speaking in the same professional manner that you would if the client was sitting across the desk from you…

    I see this as an issue if you have hired someone who is not trained in the field to write for your business. But if you get a Professional in the Industry trained on the legal issues of blogging then it seems an effective strategy would be just to let that person run…

    Some much time and effort reviewing every post.


    • says

      Great point, Ryan.

      One of my old clients from my agency days is in the insurance sector in Canada, and they’re blogging and being active on social media, and doing really well because of it.

      They have community stories, fun videos and more. Why does it always need to be so difficult to embrace? 😉

  7. says

    Great post Danny. As for deciding what to blog about, we ask ourselves, “what provides value to our visitors”?

    As we’re an agency that focuses on Small Businesses, we recently started writing reviews about tools that small businesses can use (and afford).

    So far so good, but again the key is giving value.

    • says

      Hi mate,

      Love that approach (and particularly the example in your CommentLuv link). Like you say, give your audience what they’re looking for and the rest can be so much easier.

  8. says

    Well honestly on a corporate blog I’d like to receive honest and clear answers to my questions and not “political” or foggy answers maybe written by some outsorced worker who doesn’t even know what we’re talking about as he lives on another continent. But how many blogs like that are there around? Which pairs with how many serious and ethical business are around?

    As for videos Danny I’m not such a great fan of them honestly, most of them take “hours” to download, are not honestly so good, and usually end with the usual, annoying sale proposal. Just like most ebooks are too long, watered, boring and full of affiliate links.

    I prefer infographics and slides most of the times as they give the best ROI in terms of time needed and informaton absorbed. But that’s only my opinion. :)

  9. says

    As a recovering corporate employee, I can totally understand the frustrations of everything having to go through legal. This was one of the main reasons I left and started my own company :0)

    This post was spot on with what works for corporate blogs (and for small to mid size businesses as well!). Made me think about one of my favorite companies who understands how to blog the right way: Southwest Airlines
    (tried to post their blog site but the program kept kicking me out)

    • says

      “A recovering corporate employee” – ha, love that term, Penney! :)

      Sorry about the issue with the link to the Southwest example, seems you got caught up in my filter for linkage. All sorted now, and it’s up near the start of the comments – cheers!

  10. says

    One of these days, when I have some free time (heh), I need to find more corporate blogs to read, see who’s doing it well. The legal issues are a pain, but there are still ways to make that more relatable. One blog (can’t remember) the disclaimer was plain-english “Look this is just our blog and don’t sue us for stuff here and keep it clean” lead, was followed by the approved-by-legal boilerplate that actually had the header to the effect of: “now here’s the lengthy legal mumbo-jumbo.”

    What I liked about that was that it had style, personality and wasn’t stiff and sterile (h/t Laura). One blog I can think of that’s like that is Carnival’s “unofficial but he’s on the payroll so it’s really still a company blog” done by John Heald. He has honesty and personality, which I think works well with his audience. Honesty keeps it real, which is probably the best way to engage and connect with readers. FWIW.

    • says

      That’s an awesome disclaimer, Davina – personally, I’d sign up for a blog there and then based on that disclaimer alone! :)

      I’ll have to check John’s blog out – if he’s good enough for you, he’s okay by me. :)

      • says

        IIRC it was something healthcare related.. I just loved how they included the legal language AND added a humorous twist w/ regular wording. I haven’t been reading John’s blog long but my impressions are he likes talking to people, he likes to talk cruising; he’s not so worried with the SM rules as he is making others want to go cruising. I think too many companies take it a little too seriously, sit on pins and needles for every post and tweet when really, it doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’ and ‘perfectly safe’ all the time. FWIW.

  11. says

    I’ve been an independant blogger for over 2 years now and I’ve never looked back. You really hit the nail on the head here – “By the time the approval comes, it’s too late to miss a hot time for a particular story, or opportunity.” this was probably the main reason I left my previous company. It was incredibly frustrating.

    • says

      There’s no doubt a lot of companies could learn from individuals, and maybe even bring them on to get their internal blogging team up to speed.

      Maybe a new career that will prosper in the next couple of years as content creation becomes even more important to business goals.

  12. says

    I think I’d put honesty above all others. Format doesn’t matter as much as message.

    A corporate blog – video or otherwise – is a great place for leaders to show their openness to bad news. It’s a convenient place to clearly communicate decision-making processes. And it’s an awesome place to encourage questions.

    Studies I’m not allowed to share externally reveal these to be the three most powerful practices of high-impact learning cultures, and – imagine that – they deal expressly with empowering people.


    • says

      Agreed, mate. Any time a brand has slipped, it’s always been forgiving more easily when it owns up, as opposed to pass the buck and ignore calls for clarity.

      There’s got to be a lesson in there somewhere, no?

  13. says

    Great post… I liked this paragraph… “People are visual creatures. We like to see things, as opposed to just reading about them”.

    I think we can also use this for our personal blogs as well… :)

  14. says

    I always enjoy coming to your blog. I always take away lessons from your blog and their not always the ones your talking about in the post.

    I just noticed something you do when your replying to comments, cool.

    When you talk about using a blog to put a face on a company it makes me think about T.V. commercials. It’s kind of the same principle they’ve been using for as long as I can remember, but makes perfect sense to move the technique into other mediums like a blog or social media even.

    As always I like to thank the poster for posting so thanks.

    • says

      Hi Dave,

      People are definitely far more responsive to a face as opposed to an icon or logo (unless you’re Apple or Google, or brands like them).

      If you like the look of someone, you’re more likely to the touch than a cold brand logo coming at you from off the screen.

      Cheers, mate!

  15. says

    Some great points here, and I agree there is a lot of red tape. Personally I get around it by blogging about anything and everything vaguely related to my company’s niche area- so often the posts are not expressly about my company at all, but are about developments, news, new innovations, general related trivia…To be honest this makes blogging a whole lot more interesting and rewarding for me too, as I actually get to take the time to research and broaden my viewpoint on the subject.

    • says

      See, it’s a win-win for everyone, Anna. You get extra enjoyment and knowledge and the customer/reader gets even more great info. And that kind of info can keep them coming back, again and again… 😉

  16. says

    Surely, videos have an excellent capability to engage an audience to a higher degree as compared to images or text. Most of the businesses are a little apprehensive or hesitant to start using videos as part of their blogging strategy.

    You can create a video around so many topics that relate to your niche in one way or another. As a first time marketing video producer, you should not care about disfluency, take a friendly approach and prepare notes in advance.

    And Danny is absolutely right when he says you don’t always need to have someone in front of the camera to create a video.

    Thanks for these insightful tips, Danny!

    • says

      Some of the mist nervous and shy people I know make the best videos, precisely because they can still share their awesome content and ideas without needing to be in front of the lens.

      So many blogs missing out because they miss that one small detail.

      Cheers, Obaidul.

  17. says

    This is a very interesting topic, and one that I wasn’t very familiar with until recently. I am about to start a blog for a client, a fairly big mountain bike race in Norway, and we’re discussing the content. And what we’re doing is focusing close to 100% on the customers, the people attending the race. What do they want to read about, what kind of questions do they have etc..

    But, then we started to talk about sponsors and partners, and what about them? What if we started to write about companies or trends or whatever, that our partners didn’t approve of, what would happen? I don’t think that this will be a problem at all, but it was something I hadn’t thought about, because I’ve been a personal blogger and I was just writing whatever I felt like writing.

    • says

      That’s such a key question to consider, Jens. I’ve done blogger outreach programs before where we couldn’t use a blogger (no matter how popular) because they were sponsored by competitors of our clients.

      So many things to consider!

  18. says

    We do a monthly “Client Spotlight” on our corporate blog. We feature client’s that are utilizing our technology in a unique way to show others how to do it. To share “best practices.” Anyway, those posts are some of our most trafficked posts and they always generate a great deal of interaction and feedback among both clients and non-clients.

    • says

      @Ricardo Bueno Hey there Ricardo,

      I absolutely LOVE that approach, mate, and not surprised it’s as big a success as it is. Share the love and the love will come back ten-fold.

      Cheers, mate!

  19. lucyo21 says

    I have yet to really hear about blogging in companies although Im sure it’s common.  With everything else such as Twitter and Fabebook, I feel like a specific website dedicated to the companies or clients blog can be very helpful to a brands growth.  I think the mentioning of accepting criticism from above is crucial for clients of companies so they can exchange feedback and solve issues more readily.  With this competitive market, blogging is just another way to receive customer feedback, but needs to be promoted a bit more.