A company blog can be a valuable asset, if done the right way. Not only does it provide more online content to increase search engine optimization, it provides fodder for your social media campaigns and can position your brand as an industry expert and resource. But readers won't just magically materialize. That's according to Gene Richardson, COO of Experts Exchange, an online community of 500,000 IT professionals where they can get online tech assistance from each other, hire freelancers and take online courses. Here are his words about how to be intentional with your blog strategy.

1. Use your community to source content.

Do you have an engaged, interactive community? Capitalize on this by sourcing user-generated content for your site. Foster relationships with your most engaged visitors, members, and consumers to encourage them to develop content, feature them in member or consumer spotlights, and use them as a sounding board to gauge what content is and isn't enticing readers. Involve your community in your content to make them feel even more invested in your brand or product, positioning your blog as a great place of reference for further information on the who, what, when, where, and why of your industry.

2. Give your company experts a voice.

Utilize the people on staff whose opinions matter to your audience. Don't just reference them in press or gated content. Move their voice into the company blog to make them an accessible reference.

3. Prioritize quality over quantity.

It's great if you can produce one blog post per day, but make sure to track whether or not those daily posts are receiving any traffic. Don't publish content for its own sake. Quality content that provides obvious and immediate value--not only to your target audience but to other consumers--will pay off in the long run.

4. Encourage engagement through targeted campaigns.

Drive traffic to your blog through social engagement tactics, such as polls, Q&As, and consumer interaction prompts. Ask readers to submit success stories, product reviews, or insights into best practices. People love the opportunity to be heard, so hear them out and give them a platform.

For this to be successful, you first need to understand where your audience lives online. Attempt social pushes through channels where your consumer base isn't engaged online and you'll see no improvement in traffic. These channels are also a great place for sourcing content if you don't have a community of your own.

5. Participate in a guest blog exchange.

Do you have a great rapport with an industry partner who has different or higher blog traffic than you? Establish a plan to provide them with a current, quality blog post on a relevant industry topic in exchange for them to post on your site. This exchange will mix up the authored content and subject matter on your blog to entice your readers to check out content by a well-known source, and your content on their blog will diversify your exposure and result in an influx of traffic.

Published on: May 1, 2017