Corporate Blog Success Begins And Ends With Business Metrics
Corporate Blog Success Starts And Ends With Business Metrics
Corporate Blog Success Starts And Ends With Business Metrics

The social media purists will tell you that a corporate blog serves as a community hub for your brand. They say it gives your customers a connection point to your company and engenders a sense of community. In some cases that’s true, but you’re going to see me exploring corporate blogging a lot more this year to follow up on a theory that your “community” or “audience” for your blog isn’t what you think it is. That, and the ultimate judge of a corporate blogging effort must be more closely tied to success metrics than making everyone feel good.

As you know, I’ve partnered with Compendium Blogware, Debbie Weil and Jay Baer for a research project and some other extensions of that project this year. Part of that partnership gives me access to case studies of Compendium clients in addition to the external research we’re doing. One such case study caught my attention recently.

Aprilaire corporate blog metricsAprilaire’s corporate blog has seen a 1,000 percent traffic growth in the last year. Yes, that’s 1,000 PERCENT, not people. Pretty strong. (For reference, says their corporate site in total had 50,000 unique visitors last month, so we’re not talking 4 visitors to 4,000 either.) The social media purists will probably jump on that statistic and say, “See! Building community and engaging in conversation is what social media success is all about.”

Don’t jump to conclusions there, hippie.

Aprilaire approached corporate blogging with capturing leads through search engine optimization and winning keywords as their primary goal. Using Compendium’s system, which turns a blog into a keyword and search-driven model rather than a single-author, ego platform, the company began climbing the organic search rankings. Of their 1,000 percent traffic increase, 80 percent of it came from organic search results. Mission accomplished.

What Aprilaire did is approach corporate blogging with business metrics in mind. Community and conversation are part of the effort, sure. But even if they all but don’t exist — at this writing there was but a single comment on their last 10 blog posts combined — your corporate blog can (and should) drive your business. The Aprilaire blog features good content focused on targeted keywords and drives traffic. This traffic isn’t their “community” but rather web searchers trying to find content on the keywords Aprilaire is writing about. When they arrive on a blog post, there are clear calls to action on the page and links to action items (more information requests, landing pages, etc.). The blog converts more readers into customers.

Don’t get me wrong! Engaging in conversation, building community around your brand and bringing humanity (and human-ness) back to the marketing table are all vitally important to a company’s social media success. But please know this can be done in one or many channels and others, even a corporate blog, can focus on driving business.

Go look at your blog’s traffic. How many of your visitors are finding your content for the first time (through search or referral links)? How many are your, “community?” What does this tell you about your blogging approach? The comments are yours.

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at
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  • Denvy

    social media purists will tell you that a corporate blog serves as a
    community hub for your brand. They say it gives your customers a
    connection point to your company and engenders a sense of community. In
    some cases that’s true, but you’re going to see me exploring corporate
    blogging a lot more this year to follow up on a theory that your
    “community” or “audience” for your blog isn’t what you think it is the knowledge of human being nature.

  • Great post Jason!
    You opened my eyes to blogging being seo and key word plays, not purely for content.


  • shyloh_jacobs

    Thank you for this post! I have a friend who is a wedding photographer I am going to refer to this page. I think it could really help her out! Thank you again!

  • Business blog marketing is very different than personal blogging. Business blogging is focused and it is done with a purpose. Business blog marketing is a powerful method to improve your website search engine rankings. This can also bring your website targeted visitor traffic.

  • Some great insights here. I'll take a look at my blog's traffic.

  • I agree that business blogging is the thing to do – thanks, David.

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  • This is just one strategy, though. I'm not a 'hippie' and believe in measurable results, but I also know as a direct marketer that a conversion doesn't often happen in a single event. The research here suggests otherwise, based on analytics that doesn't often pick up a return visitor. There are industries outside of Aprilaire that require nurturing of a lead and building trust before they're going to take the next step.

    The problem with the one-hit strategy is that you're not building momentum with readers and incorporating social engagement. Take a look at competing strategies via Alexa or Compete and you'll find that a blog that is built for engagement has far more reach than a shallow, one-time hit.

    That said, I always encourage clients to establish a strategy and a path for engagement with the first touch… but I know from experience that an ongoing nurturing strategy will lead to much greater results.

  • I am new to the corporate blogging thing and was never sure what benefit it would give my business, however reading some of these comments it is clear it is something I need to be doing.

    Will get onto my website guy.

    Thanks for the info

  • I am new to the corporate blogging thing and was never sure what benefit it would give my business, however reading some of these comments it is clear it is something I need to be doing.

    Will get onto my website guy.

    Thanks for the info

  • Info

    You know I could use alot of help in this area!

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  • Nice Post Points are crystal clear thanks for amazing article.

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  • 20_Will_Gibbs_46

    Before a business becomes marketable, it really has to be able to create a name first where one effective venue for this is the web. Exposing the business comes in forms of online corporate blogs and articles that is crawled all over the internet. We can see from research that more traffic is being generated through search engines, that's why these types of content should be exhausted.

    With that as a growing trend, business exposure became a tight competition that one should keep up with strategies to have an edge over rival companies. The larger the community a business was able to create, the wider would be its popularity. I am glad that our investment in Orange County SEO is indeed a help in buzzing our brand and the company to a wide range of target clients.

  • Nice post. Great points. I agree that blogs really are powerful tool even for big corporations as far as online marketing is concerned.

  • I agree totally, business blogging is the way of the future – keeping all your customers fully updated regularly / hourly with current info is vital for success.

    One of the finest Corporate Magician

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  • There are a couple of other people I know who are into corporate blogging but I’m not sure if I am at liberty to disclose about them here. However, the companies involve are not really based locally but they have the bloggers working from an office.

  • Jason,

    This post pulls us back to the basics of any business decision. Companies creating a blog would (hopefully) be doing so in delivering on the objectives of some corporate strategy.In formulating the strategy consideration would have been given to success criteria (against the objectives) and how they would be measured.

    It still amazes me how many businesses commit large budgets to these endeavors without putting in place mechanisms to gather and analyze the valuable data mined. Aprilaire on the other hand will have superior intelligence to their competitors when they sift and sort the nuggets from the noise in the visitor traffic.

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  • I certainly agree with you, big businesses or small, establishing connections with potential market and businesses alike is really much important. This is so much the more for those yet starting, business ties are a must. It helps you market or even win contracts. So, as an advice, start by getting one good lawyer in Denver for contracts perhaps, I heard that place produces a lot of bright and experienced lawyers.

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  • Certainly an interesting post. It made me realize that the number of hits or visits on a site isn't the most important thing, but more so the value of those hits. At MOS Creative, we actually had a meeting the other week about how we can better track our website's activity to evaluate the value of those entering and exploring our site. Who are they? Why are they there? How did they enter the site? Where were they coming from or referred by? Those kind of questions are extremely important to answer. And then from there, a company can figure out a better way to serve their desired clients and consumers. So the important thing is not the number of hits you get in a day, but rather, finding out the value of those site visits.

    MOS Website:
    MOS Blog:

    • Excellent interpretation, Stephanie. Well said.

  • Business blogging is definitely a big issue. Many are trying do it, but very few get it right. I think it takes a lot of….perseverence as well and will to write it on a regular basis.

    • Certainly agree there. Thanks for te comment.

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  • “Building community 7 engaging in conversation is what social media is” well I totally agree to it, it’s a high time now to take it on a serious note, it is not JUST blogging, rather it serves much more. I’m new to SEO, and Social marketing but realizing that its roots are very deep.
    While surfing web I came across your blog, I really appreciate it. I shall try to update my

  • Yst

    Hi Jason,
    This may be a bit broad a question, but what do you think are the key reasons that some corporate blogs take off and some don't?

    Anyone else too please feel free to answer.

    • I'll take a shot. It comes down to goals…either:

      No Goals, Unrealistic Goals or Goals that add no real business value.

    • I like Chris's answer. I think the major problem is that companies don't
      understand the commitment and need for consistency in writing. It's not
      something you turn on and leave there. It take care and attention which I
      don't think many companies understand or are willing to do long term.

  • I wanted to add some additional color to the Aprilaire blogging story Jason as I see several comments seeking more data.

    They do not sell directly to end consumers. Instead, they sell to distributors who sell to contractors who use their products in their installations. For this reason, Aprilaire measures success by measuring how much qualified traffic they can channel towards their distributors. What they are not eager to share are real numbers publicly, but trust that they know their metrics very well. What they will share is the traffic growth percentage and that almost 80% of their blog visits come from organic search and 96% of all visits were new prospects. By targeting a search audience, this is by definition highly qualified traffic.

    As you can see from their blogs (they have around 50) Aprilaire has very clear CTA's which they are constantly testing.

    The CTA's lead to a landing page where they ask for a zip code. That steers the visitor to a lead form. Although they are not public about their metrics they know exactly what a lead is worth and how much it costs to get one. When they talk ROI, they are talking about the value of leads vs. the dollars spent on their blog program and of course comparing that number to every other lead source they have. Internet Marketing 101.

    Keep in mind a very important aspect of blogging with a search audience in mind….these people are looking for solutions to problems. They are not looking for YOU specifically, they are looking for help on whatever it was they searched for.

  • Couldn't agree more. Community building and engagement is a part of a larger strategy. Blogging, SEO, Blogger PR, email marketing, whitepapers, speaking engagements, etc etc, are all part of one larger strategy. If executed well, all should reinforce each other. If you blog about relevant topics, it will help your SEO, if you are reaching out to the right bloggers and offering something of value, they will link to you eventually, and that's good for SEO. SEO helps traffic, and so does email marketing. Good content, compelling social media programs, podcasts, good speaking content – all of that fosters engagement, which should aid both awareness and traffic, which should convert well, if you have done your homework.

    Your posts are always on point. I rarely subscribe on email, but here I did :)

    • Thank you kindly, Maria. Very much appreciate the compliments and the added
      value in your comment. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Amen Jason! We've been preaching this for about 18 months now. It's nice to read a post about how an agency can believe fully in socmed, but also demand it support the client's bottom line. If socmed is positioned ONLY as conversation and community, it will not be funded by enterprises, period.

    I'd add one thing to your post. Clients can generate leads off their blogs in other ways than SEO. We do b2b and b2g PR, so our clients offer services that aren't purchased based on a search. We help client generate leads through things like webinars and premium content offered via registration. You take this step only after you've been disciplined about publishing quality content, and have built up a healthy audience.

    Not that SEO isn't vital, of course. If you're cool with a link here, here's a SEO success story, we took a client to #2 in SERP on their most critical term. Now we're in the process of taking their blog to the next level as more of a socmed portal:

    Looking forward to reading more about the research project. And tell Debbie I said hi!

    • Great info, Chris. Thanks for sharing all this. And it's good to remind
      people of the added value strategies for B2B and B2G approaches. Well done.

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  • There definitely is something to focusing on keywords and being found via search. The personality can only really get you so far, especially if you want to deliver information to your customers.

    It's been tough to determine which calls to action would benefit visitors the most, so I'll be interested in seeing how this goes… and how it can help folks figure out the missing pieces to their puzzle.

    • Thanks, Andre. I think we'll all learn a little something in the process.
      Thanks for swinging by.

  • I think the key to all of this is “Aprilaire’s corporate blog has seen a 1,000 percent traffic growth in the last year.” — in the last YEAR. Yes, they stuck it out – a year is a reasonable amount of time to commit to expect results. Thanks for sharing Jason.

    • Great point, Adam. You sure won't see 1,000 percent increases in much in a
      few months. Thanks for the reminder of that point.

  • I consider myself a purist and I also consider this post spot on. Perhaps it's because my background is more in search marketing and SEO that I can totally understand this post. I think that one can succeed with *both* community building and SEO when it comes to blogging, and that isn't limited to business blogs.

    • Absolutely agree, Tamar. I figured you would find some interest in this one.
      Glad you did and dropped a comment. Thanks!

  • Looking forward to more discussion on corporate blogging as I'm in the infant stages of building a company blog for the org. I work for.

    • Glad to have you here to participate, Emily. I'm sure we'll be somewhat

  • scotttownsend

    ok…I'm going to hang with ya…not sure I understand exactly what you are saying yet, but hanging in there.

    • This will be a long exploration, Scott. No need to run after it. And, as
      always, ask and ye shall get clarifications! Thanks.

  • Purists are great for the work they do in pushing acceptance of ideas, but as another commenter mentioned, maintaining a purist philosophy isn't going to pay the bills.

    The case study you've discussed is a perfect example of how companies can be leveraging social technology (like blogs) to grow a business. Blogging makes it easier for Aprilaire to share good product information and the rate at which they're contributing keeps search engines (and search engine users) happy.

    It's interesting to see these types of cases doing well because they represent a large part of the business world. Humidifiers and ventilation systems aren't exciting, sexy, or likely to garner hundreds of thousands of raving “fans,” but that also doesn't have to be the purpose (contrary to what many would believe). If a business can set their own objectives, determine how those will be met, then measure progress towards those metrics – they will succeed.

    Congratulations to Aprilaire on launching a blog in a non-traditional industry for social media, and for doing it well.

    • Thank you for such a well-thought and stated comment, Mike. Very much appreciate the time you took to stop by and contribute.

    • Your comment is great Mike. I often tell business I deal with “I don't want to join your club!” I just want them to solve my problem. When you consider your visitors as first timers who are coming in from search you realize that they are there to solve a problem.

      Keyword research is database marketing. By knowing the keywords that your audience is using to find you, you gain great insight into the kinds of CTA's you should be using to convert that visitor into the next stage of the relationship.

      What's great about search is the clarity of intent. The visitor is telling you exactly why there are on your page or blog.

  • Blog metrics are tough to review.
    I'd been one of those 'what's the count' guys until very recently. I figured if I had a great day with 200-400 hits, I was happy. I didn't care where the hits came from.

    In recent months, I've been combing over the search engine hits vs hits via subscriptions and how those differ. What I found was they were radically different.

    Based on those findings I'm making a shift in how I blog and monitoring the results. Before it was nice when I had those weeks with thousands of hits and I couldn't have cared less for what. Now being more conscious of what brings people in hopefully I can focus the blog better. I love several topics but I'd prefer to choose which ones I'm known for.

    Keep up the great work,
    Todd @tojosan

    • Thanks, Todd. You're going through a very natural maturation in your personal blogging life. We all hit it at some point. The great news is that you're being smart about it and letting the metrics and insights guide your thinking and not just sticking with the “my blog, my way” approach, which can (but not always) hold you back from more traffic, more interaction and better results. Keep us in the loop, man!

  • I'm an avid reader of your blog but I am guilty of never commenting. Having just recently launched our blog, I am still trying to wrap my head around the metrics.Thanks for sharing such insightful content!

    • Welcome to the comments, Lynnette! Glad to have you jump in here. You're certainly welcome and I thank you for reading and now commenting. Feel free to ask questions here. If I don't answer them, many of your smart fellow readers will. Thanks again!

  • “The blog converts more readers into customers.” How does Aprilaire know this or track this? Your point that community doesn't necessarily convert to customers is a valid one. Does traffic convert to customers? I've seen case studies, not data. If you've got data, I would welcome seeing it. If, for example, from every 1000 visits via organic search results, a site got a customer, that would be a true measure of social media success. Thank you very much for raising these very important questions. (I enjoyed “Don’t jump to conclusions there, hippie.”)

    • Great question Anne. Hopefully they or someone at Compendium can perhaps chime in from a more knowledgeable perspective. However, I recommend the calls to action on a blog – links to forms, sign-ups, e-commerce portals, etc., be programmed with tracking codes to measure the activities of that visitor once on the site. It takes some programming and advanced intentions with your metrics, but you can measure what each person who clicks through does — converts, signs up, buys, etc.

      Obviously, I don't have access to all of Aprilaire's metrics, nor would they probably share all the data, but perhaps someone from there can give us an indication of how they produce the data. Thanks for the question.

  • Good read. If you are tracking your SERPs regularly it is a great way to identify terms where your competitors have a leg up and write blogs that target those keywords. Data + knowledge = leverage.

    • Agree there, Jami. Thanks for swinging by!

  • markwilliamschaefer

    Superb post. Love the real-world data-driven approach, Jason.

    I'm glad you are exposing the blog-traffic myth.


    • Thanks, Mark. Appreciate your input there, too.

  • UrbaneWay

    Hey Jason,
    These kind of examples are exactly what we all need to see, so as everyone has a clear idea as to what path to take. The soft touch approach, lets all be friends and engage is fine, however the guy or gal writing the marketing checks need to see sustainable results. (I will spare you the hobby rant LOL)

    • Thanks, Eric. Glad to have you stop by.


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