When we build a blog, we choose WordPress. However, we blog on a lot of other platforms for our clients. Recently we were delighted to learn that one of our blogs is being used as an example of How to Do It Right by a national franchise. It was only then that we realized that we have never written about this type of blog. Making up for lost time, here’s some advice on using the corporate blogging platform.
- Use it. This may sound obvious, but we’ve been amazed by how many franchisees don’t bother. Most franchises nowadays will offer you the option of having a blog, because they know blogging is good for business. People who go to the main corporate website will be shown a link to your franchise site or page — so you already get the benefit of national advertising. Don’t stick a map on your franchise website and think you’re through.
- Take advantage of your co-op funds. The lucky franchisee mentioned above uses co-op funds to pay us for our blogging service. Chances are, you can do the same. If you don’t have a writer on the payroll, you don’t have time to blog regularly, or you find the tools hard to use, don’t waste your time trying to make it work out. Use your co-op funds to hire a blogger and you’re set.
- If you do it yourself, don’t give it a DIY look. The truth is, you have limited control over your blog when you’re a franchisee. You can’t do much about the design. Often, franchisees react to these limitations by doing mad things like centering the text, using lots of different colors, and sticking pictures in willy nilly in a collage effect. This doesn’t make your web page look more interesting — it makes it look less professional. Let’s face it, one of the reasons franchises give you little control is in order to maintain a uniform look. Embrace it and let the quality of your content speak for you.
- Don’t just use the syndicated content. In many cases, you’ll have the option of posting prepared stories furnished by the franchisor. Since the same stories are being used by dozens or hundreds of other franchisees, this will not benefit your website or help you turn up in local search. It’s better than nothing, but it’s not very good. Write about the events taking place within your franchise or your branch, write your own take on the corporate news, and write original content your customers will enjoy and find useful.
- Be consistent. Our testing has shown that regular posting makes a big difference in the success of a blog. Decide on a schedule, plan a calendar of posts (click on that link and you can download our template), and stick with it.