A lot of content marketers have started or are thinking about starting a blog. Why?
One in three US companies use blogs for marketing purposes. This helps these firms reach the roughly 50% of Internet users who regularly read blogs according to eMarketer’s research.
A corporate blog can support the sales process and help your search optimization efforts. Therefore it’s useful to integrate a blog into your website and your content marketing strategy.
Further, a blog forms the hub for your social media interactions.
To get your company or group blog off the ground, it’s critical to build a blogging team. [Here’s an overview of what a company or group blog requires.] When constructing a blog team, many people think only of content creators. The reality is that your team needs to be much broader. Here’s a checklist to get started.
At a minimum, you need buy-in to rally the resources, both human and financial. Without it, the blog will only work as long as employees have the time and bandwidth to help. Once other priorities pop up, blogging will sink to the bottom of their priority list.
At its core, your blog should support your marketing efforts. Therefore your blog’s editorial calendar should be integrated with your promotional plan to maximize your efforts.
The best content creators are subject-matter experts who can and want to convey information related to your offering and company (although, of course, you want to write about much more than your offering and company). There are three major categories that can tap: internal resources, professional writers and customers.
Depending on your organization, internal writers can come from your research, product management, merchandise, customer service, management or other functional area. Bear in mind that expertise rather than job level is the critical factor. The key is to find people who want to participate in the company blog and who have something interesting to discuss or are willing to collect information from appropriate sources. If you’re planning to use professional resources, include sufficient budget to get strong content.
To have a strong blog, someone must guide the content direction so that it’s not just a vehicle for pushing marketing promotional messages. This can be a member of your marketing, communications, PR or creative team. Or you may choose to use an outside resource.
Don’t overlook the importance of having an outside editor to correct the language and catch typos, especially if your contributors aren’t trained writers. This may be the job of the editor, or you can use someone different (for instance, at CMI, this is two functions). You need to be able to overcome writers’ concerns about their writing skills. It’s also useful for ensuring a consistent voice.
For many blogs, this can be a nice-to-have element. At least in the beginning, modify your blog’s theme to make it consistent with your brand. Creative resources can be important if you’re using visual content that needs to be developed specifically for your blog. Also, you may need additional photography for product and other elements. If your business is highly visual, such as fashion, this may be at the heart of your blog. In this case, you need to consider this when planning your photo shots and other marketing to ensure you cost effectively get content.
Technical or web resource
While most blogging technology is relatively user-friendly, it’s helpful have a technical or web resource to answer any contributor questions, provide assistance for any technical issues and ensure the blog is integrated with your other technology.
While you don’t need a full time resource, as with any marketing effort, it’s important to track your results. This work can be incorporated into your on-going web analytics. [For those new to content marketing, here are some important content metrics to track.]
Human resources isn’t on everyone’s list, but it should be. If participating in your blog isn’t incorporated into blog contributors’ job descriptions and goals, it probably won’t get done. Also, it’s important to ensure there are social media guidelines in place so participants know what’s acceptable to do.
While not a team member, you must have resources to support your efforts. Often these resources require a member of your finance or accounting team to track them.
While this list may look imposing, it’s a great checklist to ensure that you’ve covered all of the bases in terms of getting everyone on board for your company or group blog. Depending on how you’re planning to fill some of the functions, it’s important to have resources and management support to ensure that your blog continues to be an on-going effort.
If you have any other suggestions, please add them in the comments section below.