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What You Can Learn from Big Brand Blogs
Blogging about blogging. Yes, I’m doing it again. Why? Because I want to get better at it! Blogging, that is. One of the ways I work on blogging better is by looking at big brand blogs.
Now, it’s true that blogs for big corporations like Home Depot, J. Crew, and Whole Foods have staff dedicated to blogging—probably entire teams (although I’m sure that Martha Stewart writes all her own blog posts in her spare time [WINK]). But you can look to them for inspiration as you plan your blog’s content mission.
Corporate Blogs that Connect
- Whole Foods: Whole Story blog – This upscale market’s blog has a lot of recipes, obviously, but also, as its title suggests, tells stories about the food and other products the stores carry. There are articles with photos and first-person narratives about where they source their products. It also covers issues important to Whole Foods’ target market, like whether or not canola oil is genetically modified, and showcases the sustainable farms and small businesses the stores support. In this way, they let the reader know “you are part of this lifestyle by being a Whole Foods customer.”
- Home Depot: The Apron Blog – The big box’s blog is chockablock with DIY craft and decorating ideas. It leans toward “soft” DIY; they’ve taken a page (so to speak) from Pinterest by featuring ideas like a jewelry display made from copper pipe. There are plentiful contests and series. The blog highlights Home Depot’s connection to home, handmade, DIY culture, as if to say: “We’re a part of your lifestyle. Home Depot wants to help you be who you want to be and/or make your home what you want it to be.”
- Martha Stewart: Martha Up Close & Personal – Martha invites readers into her world with LOTS of photos of her picturesque properties, impeccably decorated family celebrations, events, travels, and celebrations. She includes posts from staff members on business and personal adventures. Again, this blog is all about lifestyle.
- J. Crew: The J. Crew Blog – Inspiration—through art, travel, new designers, fashion history, and style ideas, is the main focus of this Tumblr site. The blog’s message seems to be: “This is how we get our product ideas—when you buy our clothes, these inspirations become a part of your lifestyle. Your clothes aren’t just clothes; they’re artistic expressions with touches of history.”
What do these big biz blogs have in common? A few things.
- They show readers new ways to enjoy their products and services.
- They feature real peoples’ experiences with their products and services.
- They have distinctive personalities. Each one is welcoming and compelling in its own way.
- They are not doing the hard sell. They are blogging to build connections.
- Trips and trade shows – Did you just visit a supplier? Spend a weekend at a trade show? Tell your readers. This kind of content shows that you’re involved in your industry, dedicated to providing the best products and services to your customers, and willing to share.
- Staff profiles – Let your readers get to know the people who make your company the great place that it is. Who runs the front office? Who answers the phones? Who’s your lead carpenter? Who just got hired or promoted?
- Interesting projects and problem-solving – How did you get around the ugly, load-bearing columns in a client’s basement? What creative method did you use to solve a problem in a home?
- Project profiles – People LOVE to see before and after photos—especially when they’re accompanied by lots of details.
- DIY projects – Of course you don’t want your blog readers to do the services that you offer. But you can give them tips and ideas for small projects or crafts that accompany the work that you do.
Why Should Small Businesses Look to Big Biz Blogs?
The smarties at Hubspot say that business websites with blogs get 55% more traffic than those without. Big companies have learned that marketing strategies like blogging make a different kind of impact than traditional advertising. Big brands blog to make a personal connection with their audience, to show “we are not just a transactional entity; we are part of your life and you are part of our cool/smart/stylish world.”
But small businesses have an advantage over those mega-blogs, according to content marketing specialist Henneke Duistermaat. “Small business bloggers have an opportunity to specialize and to develop their own small fan club. They can find the people who they most enjoy working with and engage them with their distinct voice.”
Distinct voice. If you’re one of many remodelers in your city, a blog can help you stand out. Duistermaat goes on to say that while you won’t be able to compete on quantity—and maybe not on quality—you can use your blog’s personality to “build meaningful relationships,” which is, after all, what you are really after!
Give Your Blog the RITE Stuff
In the content world, RITE stands for Relevant, Interesting, Timely, and Entertaining. If your blog posts are all of these things, you are doing blogging right—I mean, RITE! Don’t think you have RITE topics? Consider these:
Blog Like a Big Shot
You know the expression “dress for the job you want, not for the job you have”? (Which doesn’t work for me because it’s just not practical to dress like Stevie Nicks circa 1981 every day.) It’s the same for small business blogging—almost. Don’t blog for the business you are. Blog for the business you want to be. These big corporate enterprises that hire pros to run their blogs are doing it because they want to be more than just companies—they want to be a part of our lives. If you aim for the same goal with your small business blog, you’ll reach more readers, generate more leads, and grow into an industry authority on the web. It works! Just ask Martha.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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