If you have ever used any search engine at all, you have probably come across a company's blog at some point. But here's a question for you: of the company blogs you've come across, how many did you return to?
If you're like me, the answer is very few, but why is that?
I've got a few theories. In my writing career, I've done some freelance work for tech companies in my area. It's hard to get paid to write, so freelancing is kind of a good idea. Also tech folks love to have a blog associated with their website, but the trouble is that many of their blogs are just hot garbage.
There's not really a nice way to say it. They are just bad. Somewhere between the SEO keywords and the call to action, the actual expression of writing is entirely lost. There's a whole lot of writing that goes in between those two that your average lame-ass CEO is too boneheaded to care about.
I think it's a mistake. I would be willing to bet that with some time and effort, any company could actually develop a readership. There could probably be intelligent and interested people coming back again and again for a company's content. But here's the thought process of the lame-ass CEO: where's the value in it?
Anyone can see the value of having traffic directed to their website, so they hire an SEO manager to think about how to manipulate the Google bots to send people to the blog. The writer, usually a contract worker at best, is a secondary concern.
Or to put it another way, in the machinations of the lame-ass CEO, the Google bot reading the blog is more important than the human. And even more important than that is manipulating the Google bot so that the company blog is the first search result. Well that way you get every lizard-brained dumbass that will only click the first thing on Google. Congratulations, you have successfully pandered to the lowest common denominator.
Unfortunately, another way to think about company blogging is that you, the reader; you, the potential customer; you, the human on the other end of the screen do not matter. You're a secondary audience. The Google bots are actually the primary audience. That's why company blogs sucks so much.
One of the best things about blogging is that there's a communication between reader and author that you don't get in other written mediums. Certainly not in books and old media like journalism. That life is completely sucked away from the company blog, and it reads like it was written for robots by robots. It's soulless drivel a lot of the time.
But hey, who am I to judge? The value of an engaged and intelligent readership is one of those intangible things that lame-ass CEOs struggle to see. Because, you know, how do you attach a particular dollar value to the things people do for fun?
To put it bluntly, you can't. But that doesn't mean it's not important. There is a really significant portion of human existence that is done for intrinsic value. Basically things like art, games, philosophy, hobbies, and learning have nearly no extrinsic value. That doesn't mean they aren't important. Arguably, it means they are more important than anything else. They have value in themselves that can't be assessed with the rubric of dollar amounts.
That intrinsic value just isn't there in company blogging, but I think it could be. If lame-ass CEOs would stop being lame-ass; if the internet would stop pandering to just the dumbest of all behaviors; and if corporations could actually care about people, then maybe things might be better.
As it is now though, company blogs suck. It also sucks to be a company blogger, but that's probably a post for another day.