Most corporate blogs drone on like the professor that put you to sleep during 2nd period Economics: “Introducing blah blah blah…innovating blah blah…ground breaking…blah blah blah [insert industry keyword here].”
While self-adulation and industry jargon have a time and place, corporate blogs are best used to strengthen customer brand loyalty. But how does a company blog foster loyalty? The following company blogs utilize a mixture of strategies, but focus primarily on two approaches:
- Deepening Education
- Philanthropy and Fan Glorification
This strategy is all about becoming the go to authority on everything and anything that relates to your industry/niche.
Full disclosure: I’m a sucker for Whole Foods’ organic approach to the food industry. And, a tour of their blog deepened my loyalty. Their commitment to my education about my food-source (free range, happy chickens and pristine blueberries) made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. In addition, I found recipes that will improve my cooking skills and make me seem more sophisticated.
William Sonoma is another company that focuses content on improving how customers use the products. Daily recipes, interviews with famous chefs, and videos covering topics from wine selection to Thanksgiving turkey dressings, fully prepared me to be the next Iron Chef (or, at least pretend to be when no one is looking). Of course, William Sonoma never missed a chance to subliminally send me buying messages with product placement as they coached me to Iron Chef glory.
Congratulations, Rubbermaid. Within ten minutes of browsing your corporate blog, my dormant OCD was brought out of remission. Before, I viewed Rubbermaid as just another box company. But now I’m educated enough to know that the only contraption that can help me organize my awkward closet is something called an Ekby Riset. Rubbermaid does an excellent job of answering every organizational question I could possibly imagine. They definitely are the authority in the organization space.
Mint is a financial management platform that came of age during the early stages of the Great Recession. Unlike most software blogs, Mint focused little time on software features and corporate updates. Instead they gained traction by focusing on the emotional powder keg of 2008: government bailouts. Now their focus has shifted more towards practical, everyday topics such as money and time management. While a number of competing blogs focus on the same topic, as a weekly patron of the site I have no reason to go elsewhere for my finance related questions.
Philanthropy and Fan Glorification
This strategy focuses on the company’s effect on the lives of its customers and the local/global community.
Samsung focuses part of their blog on innovation and global markets. But a third of their content is dedicated to the “People”. Here I can read heart-warming stories about Samsung’s educational and sport sponsorship programs, as well as featured heroes around the world. For instance, I learned about the experiences of a Doctor associated with the Samsung Medical Center during his time spent in Africa caring for children. Although I will still remain an iPhone fan, what I learned did soften my heart to the company as a whole.
Lenovo sponsored a year-long science contest that resulted in three teenagers winning the chance to have their experiments conducted in space. They also were lucky enough to fly around in an anti-matter chamber and meet Bill Nye, the Science Guy (not sure which one is cooler). When the Lenovo blog is not promoting their philanthropic activities, they are featuring one of their die-hard fans. Reading through this blog (especially the anti-gravity part) got me pumped and changed my view of Lenovo. In fact, I’m thinking of switching over from Mac.
Steiner Tractor manufactures parts for antique tractors. The people that restore these beasts are just as passionate about their ’48 John Deers as I would be if I were ever lucky enough to get my hands on a ’67 Shelby. Steiner Tractor could have gone the route of blogging about parts and gears. I’ve seen a lot of companies make this mistake because they were too focused on SEO. Instead, Steiner chose to highlight fan passion. The result is a collection of interesting stories that create a sense of community.
One of the benefits of refocusing blog energy onto the client is that it naturally carries over into social media strategies. When combined, it has been proven to deepen customer loyalty.
What other brands do you see taking this approach?