Corporate Blogging: Cross-Link for Exposure Gains

Tom Johansmeyer is the Senior Content Director at enter:marketing. He also blogs forCigar Reader, of which he is co-founder, Gadling, and Luxist.
It’s hard not to be greedy. You want to use your corporate blog to attract and retain visitors. So, when they reach your blog, you do everything you can to keep them … and this may not be a good idea. Develop the right relationships, and giving away traffic could lead to a net increase in readership – and business opportunity.
I know: it sounds strange. But, it works.

Corporate bloggers don’t have the capacity to create lots of content; publishing even daily can be taxing. After all, especially in the B2B space, you’re focusing on original content that aligns with your company’s strategy, which takes time to develop. And, you have to get through several layers of approval. So, there’s an inherent constraint on blog post development.
Now, think about your most important readers – i.e., the people who come back every day. These visitors take a look at your latest story and then leave. There’s no reason to click deeper, because they’ve already seen everything else you have. Yet, if you were able to put two posts up one day, they’d read both. Essentially, blog post supply on a given corporate blog is rarely likely to meet core reader demand for content. This leaves you with pent up demand that you can use to trade.
By linking out to another blog from within a post and to a relevant story on another blog, you give a reader who wants more information a way to scratch his itch. To satisfy this reader, however you have to send him somewhere else, assuming you don’t have sufficient content to keep him around. This comes at no net traffic cost to you, because you were going to lose the reader anyway (for the day, at least).
The tough part, of course, is in using a traffic “giveaway” to get a return on your goodwill – in the form of greater exposure. To do this, you need to find the right partners and coordinate. Find another corporate blog – chances are it will have the same content limitations and reader retention challenges yours does. And, I’m sure you know what’s coming next … link to each other.
Don’t confuse this with a traditional link swap – those relationships aren’t nearly as effective. Rather, the cross-linking approach only works if the links are in-context and relevant. From within a post, you link to a partner – and vice versa. You get his “extra” traffic, which would have gone unsatisfied otherwise, and he gets yours. Win-win. If you can set up similar relationships with several other corporate blogs, you can multiply the returns, and only a little incremental time investment is required.
Ostensibly, this is a dangerous proposition: you are feeding visitors interested in your blog to another company. But, the risk is worth it, if you protect yourself. To safeguard your company, your brand and your lead stream, choose to enter into these cross-blogging relationships with complementary companies – not with direct competitors or businesses that overlap even modestly with yours. If you have partners with which you go to market regularly, you have ideal candidates for the cross-linking opportunity.
There’s traffic out there in the corporate blogosphere that never materializes, because readers run out of content options. Find the right corporate blog cross-linking partners, and you help them and your clients and prospects. Along the way, you’ll get more chances to wow new people with your content.