One of our blogging clients is Vericle, a company specializing in medical practice management software. We created a blog for them in the usual way: researching the kinds of questions their potential customers bring to the web, and writing useful answers worth reading. This approach typically works very well. Modern consumers start with online research, and blog posts can meet them where they are — in Vericle’s case, they might be wondering whether practice management software will work for them, comparing the features of different billing programs, or thinking about outsourcing some of their practice management tasks. In fact, different people come to a product from so many different angles and with so many different questions that we never run out of topics to blog about.
But Vericle had a new idea recently. They wanted instead to create a story, an ongoing tale about a medical practitioner that could be used as a springboard for discussion in their webinars and on their website. Their own experts are starting the conversation in the comments of the blogs, and each episode provides training material that leads to a dynamic webinar.
The main takeaway here might simply be that your company blog doesn’t have to be the same as other company blogs. But Vericle’s example also offers some valuable lessons:
- Plan your trip off the beaten path. Legions of unsuccessful bloggers have learned that just writing about whatever they think about whenever they feel like it doesn’t work. Vericle knows the points they want to make and how they want to use the material I’m writing for them. If you have a clear goal for your blog, communicate that to your blogger. if you don’t know exactly what you want your blog to accomplish, work with your blogger or SEO pro to create a clear plan.
- Stay honest. The Vericle blogs are fiction — fiction based on the experiences of real practitioners, but clearly stories. We’ve also done actual case studies, often with video interviews with the subjects. You can have your CEO’s name on thoughtful ghost-written blog posts, you can write from the point of view of a company mascot (I once wrote a blog in the voice of a store’s dog) or a typical customer, or you can develop a special voice for your company blog. Just don’t try to deceive anyone. Companies that have tried to blur the line (Walmart is a famous example) have often been found out and regretted it.
- Quality comes first. In the case of Vericle, we’re writing fiction. I don’t usually write fiction, but I teach literature and once won a national fiction writing prize — I’m qualified for this job. If you want to write a special kind of blog, you may need a special kind of blogger. In any case, you can’t rely on novelty over the long run. However new and clever your blog idea may be, you’ll need to carry it through with consistent quality to make it work for you.
Do you have a creative new idea for a blog? We’d love to help you make it into a reality. Email Rebecca to discuss it.