Let me just say that guest blogging for The WHIR can be a bit intimidating. I’ve come to find that the staff, readers and contributors to this website are generally very tech savvy and incredibly smart. The level of knowledge and expertise in all facets of web hosting is without equal. When it comes to ideas for guest blog posts I mentioned my trepidation to some folks at The WHIR booth recently at HostingCon. What can I offer such a savvy crowd? They assured me that the Marketing and Social Media aspect of this business is just as important as heavier topics such as datacenter configuration, legal issues and product offerings. And you know what? They’re right. The more I contemplated this, the more I realized that a blog needs to be made up of many different topics in order to grab the interest of readers, who are unique and varied as can be imagined.
In looking back at some of my previous blog posts, including personal blogs and blogs for my employer HostDime, I realized I already had it figured out and why should this venue be any different? Great blogs are made up of a variety of topics, and with the web hosting industry in mind here are the categories I feel make up a perfect blend of professional communication via a blog.
Relevant and Necessary – A company blog is an excellent place to inform consumers of product updates, equipment upgrades, and new partnerships. This can also include topics covered in press releases, such as acquisitions, improvements and product launches. It helps your readers to know that you want to keep them informed so they are able to run their business more effectively.
Learning and Tutorials – Many hosting packages come with a variety of options and third party products that are just begging for a manual, or tips & tricks post. Some of the best blog posts are from departments outside of the marketing team. Often I’ll ask someone in my company to write a blog post and I’m met with “My grammar is bad,” or “I can’t write.” No problem, give me a bulleted list and I’ll make a story out of it. Don’t ignore the brain trust at your fingertips. Gather the facts and make it into an easily readable blog post for your audience.
About the Company and its People – OK, what exactly is an Abuse and Security Specialist and what can they do to keep my account safe? This is what your readers want to know. They want to know more about how you, as a business, are expanding your knowledge. Be sure to post about any conferences you’re attending, workshops employees are taking, and new employees bringing intellectual assets to the table.
Industry News – Staying on top of industry news and informing consumers of the ramifications of such news is an important part of mentoring your customer. This can include legislation which can affect their business, or industry standards and technology that change the way they run their company.
Related topics– There are many affiliated topics for web hosting that make great blog topics as well. Since many web hosts are also designers, developers and gamers, topics such as website design tips, SEO practices and gaming news bring in views.
Areas of Interest – Most customers in this industry are guaranteed to be interested in a few things that are broader based. These areas include personal computers, business practices, business software and the like. Keeping these types of posts in the mix adds diversity and interest. However be mindful of how these posts do, or do not convert into dollars.
Charitable Events and Fun Things – Your company is not just comprised of robots! Be sure to include posts about the charity events you attend and charitable contributions. Don’t forget a few carefully chosen pictures from the company barbeque or holiday party. Your customers want to know you’re real, and you’re fun. Include your mascot or your cool new office space.
Guest Blogging – Guest posts are a great way to invite your business partners and associates to come in and contribute to the voice of your team. Not only does this add diversity of thought, it is great for the contributor in terms of inbound links which are crucial to search engine success. Borrowing on someone else’s expertise allows you to broaden your reach.
After mixing up blog topics and authors, track the number of views each post receives. Also track any revenues received from blog views. A pattern will emerge of what types of posts are the most profitable for your business. So the next time you get stumped for a blog topic, get creative and reach out to find topics your readers want to see and posts that put money in the bank.