In my last CMI post, I shared some details on my firm’s content marketing strategy. In this post, I’d like to share some lessons we have learned in terms of getting our blog, one of the core components of our strategy, off of the ground.
Every employee at OpenView Venture Partners is committed to writing a weekly blog post for our target audience – senior managers of expansion stage technology companies. Since we started blogging in September 2009, our blog and main website regularly attract over 2200 unique visitors each week. This is quite a boost from our old web traffic statistics. For example, before we launched our blog, we averaged about 600 unique visitors to our site per week.
Lesson 1: Get commitment from the person in charge
As I mentioned, every employee is required to write a weekly blog post. As you can imagine, as soon as we announced that we would be rolling out a blogging program on a regular basis, and we would like everyone to participate, we got some rolling eyes. Some employees doubted that another VC blog could bring value to our market; however, we continued to encourage everyone to blog. In time, many employees became excited about the blog. This success is largely based on our founder and senior managing director, Scott Maxwell’s commitment to blogging. If Scott hadn’t demonstrated blogging was important from the start, I imagine we would be in a different place today.
Lesson 2: Appoint a blogging administrator
We assigned a dedicated resource to manage the blog, my colleague Devon Warwick. Her responsibilities include:
- Ensuring everyone submits his blog posts on the assigned day
- Keeping everyone excited about blogging
- Educating everyone on blogging best practices. She frequently researches blogging strategies and networks with other people responsible for blogging within OpenView’s portfolio in order to continue pushing our blog forward
Devon sends out a weekly report to keep bloggers motivated and aware of the value blogging brings to our business. The report includes:
- A list of the week’s top bloggers ranked by pageviews
- Top keywords driving traffic to the blog
- General insights on traffic sources
This report turns our blogging effort into a weekly competition because it is really exciting to be featured as a top blogger.
Lesson 3: Develop an editorial calendar
Since we have more than 20 people blogging on a regular basis, it quickly made sense to organize our efforts in a better way. We split our firm into five teams – one for each day of the week. Essentially, each day one team is responsible for submitting their blog posts by a certain time. Each team typically writes about topics relevant to their focus. For example, our Go-to-Market team blogs on Mondays, so if you happen to visit you should see blogs with advice or ideas about sales and marketing.
While our editorial calendar could be refined even more, we have found that by organizing by teams, we are releasing content as part of a different theme nearly every day of the week. I recommend reading Michele Linn’s post on creating editorial calendars for an in depth how-to guide to get started.
Lesson 4: Create a blogging contest
While this may not be true in every organization, many employees at OpenView are highly competitive. To up the ante, we created an internal competition to run for one week to get everyone even more excited about blogging. During that week, our blogging administrator encouraged everyone to pick up his or her blogging efforts. As a firm, we committed to maintaining our level of quality for every post submitted during the competition. If bloggers submitted subpar posts, our blogging administrator would reject the content until the post was written in a way that would provide value.
The rules were simple:
Each of the five blogging teams competed against each other. In order to qualify, each employee had to submit at least seven standard blog posts during the week of the competition. The winning team received iPads. Whichever team won two out of the following three categories was announced the winner.
- Average number of posts per person within the team
- Average number of pageviews per person within the team
- A third-party person selected the top 10 blog posts. The team with the most blog posts selected, wins.
The contest not only got everyone excited, but it made writing one quality post per week seem like a piece of cake!
Lesson 5: Write for your target personas
When we initially kicked off our blogging effort late last year, we were very loose on requirements. For example, we encouraged people to write about their interests in addition to using some keywords we were targeting for SEO purposes. Once the program gained some momentum, though, we wanted to focus our efforts on developing valuable content for our target personas. We conducted some research and created a few personas that each employee should envision when writing his or her weekly blog post. This helped us ensure that every piece of content we were creating was relevant and valuable.
Lesson 6: Optimize for search
In the past few months we have focused all of our bloggers’ efforts on implementing simple tricks to better optimize our blog content for search engines. For example, we strive to always include keywords in our blog titles as well as the subheading. Refining meta-tags and alt tags to include keywords rounds out our tactics when it comes to SEO enhancement. As I mentioned in my last post, we saw a 120% increase in search engine traffic after implementing these easy steps three months ago.
Lesson 7: Have a plan to market your blog content
Much of our blogging success has to do with how we market our blog posts:
- We have created a weekly eNewsletter that shares the best blog posts from that week.
- Each employee is encouraged to market his or her blog posts using social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.).
- Many employees participate in discussions on various LinkedIn groups and comment on influential blogs within our space.
How is your company foraging into corporate blogging? What are some tips you can share about your strategy?