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Big Business Blogging, The Toronto Way

At Intel’s first Social Media Conference in Portland this week, 100+ Intel social media practitioners from all over the world came together with about 20 industry subject matter experts to share and engage social media best practices.

One of those speakers was Lionel Menchaca, the Chief Blogger at Dell and a real pioneer in the world of blogging and social media for the enterprise. Lionel told the story of Dell’s initial blogging efforts that turned the tide of Dell Hell as well as other practical insights.

Here is what we've garnered from his wisdom and applied it to Toronto SEO.

1. Write about topics that matter to your customers (in our case, Toronto customers), especially the tough ones. Dell has a social media command center to track topics and inspire ideas, issues to deal with.

2. Provide context for a range of customers / Torontonians and people living in the GTA. Be thoughtful about the interests for specific segments of customers. Find a balance that allows you to appeal content to a range of customers. To do that effectively, you must listen online and understand the convergence of issues that you can address with content though the blog.

3. Write to educate and serve. If you’re doing your job correctly you’re doing both. Informing customers about more than products, including Toronto-based industry news and trends as it relates to your customer’s perspective builds trust and makes your corporate blog a source of information that’s meaningful towards what customers care about.

4. Be authentic, be human, be a nice Torontonian (they're hard to find, but they exist). If you can look back and see what established a blogger as a personality that audiences engage with, that’s what’s important. Write from a personal perspective, not from a “brand messaging” perspective.

5. Let your passion and personality show through. There will be points that the brand wants to make, but it’s important that the blogger’s personality show through. When tapping Subject Matter Experts for contributed blog posts, coach them on writing from a personal perspective vs. just providing the facts. [This reminds me of the Facts Tell, Stories Tell adage.]

6. Provide an inside look. Content should complement, but also offer a different view than corporate website content, press releases, and other brand communications. Examples: Video interviews with internal subject matter experts about product features and what they personally like about them.

7. Don’t be afraid to disagree, if you can back it up. Dell uses Radian6 as a listening tool to monitor for discussions. Techmeme is also a useful site for tracking stories that drive discussion in the tech space. Show that you’re there to be part of the conversation when you find dissent, vs. trying to steamroll it.

While blogging within Toronto businesses has been around for a very long time, I think a it’s important for Toronto companies to take a second look at how their communicating through blogging platforms. Far too many Toronto business blogs are lacking in reach, readership and engagement because of approaching business blogging solely as a distribution channel vs. a platform for engagement. It’s by finding that right mix of personality and brand representation.

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