Have you recently started a group blog or are you struggling to maintain one? In a comment on another blog I write for, Savvy B2B Marketing, someone recently told me he was starting a group blog and expressed this concern:
“Our biggest challenge will probably be publishing a continuous flow of interesting posts seeing everything is done on a volunteer basis.”
Yesterday on Savvy B2B, I provided some suggestions on how to keep your posts interesting, but that’s only half the battle. You also need to be consistent! During the past nine months, we have published over 220 blog posts at CMI. It’s been a lot of fun connecting with so many content marketers I admire, but it’s a lot of work maintaining a daily schedule.
If you are new to group blogging or want to improve what you are doing, here are some of of the thing I have learned to make it easier to maintain a consistent schedule.
Determine a realistic frequency for your posts
First, you need to decide how often you will publish posts. If you are new to blogging, my suggestion is to start small and build from there. Perhaps the goal should be to post once or twice a week until you get the hang of it. You can then increase the frequency from there. It’s better to have fewer truly useful posts than a lot of ho-hum posts.
Have a blog administrator
You need one person responsible for all tasks concerning the blog. I really like this post and advice from Amanda Makswmiw in which she describes the role of their blogging administrator. I can’t stress this enough: you need one person to manage all of the details, or you’ll really struggle staying consistent.
Set up an editorial calendar
Of course, you need to be organized! I can’t live without my editorial calendar. This is one of those documents I constantly have open.
Post editorial guidelines
You’ll often get questions about the type of posts you are looking for. Set up a web page that outlines your editorial guidelines that includes all of the information writers need to know. By answering common questions, the posts you will receive should be a better fit for your editorial.
Put writers on a schedule
Many of the CMI bloggers have due dates for their posts for up to six months in advance. Having these assignments helps the writers and me stay organized. If possible, work with the writers’ schedule to make sure that blogging is not a burden. For instance, most of my writers provide a post every month, six weeks, or quarter.
Request all posts on a certain day of the week
When I started managing this blog, I asked for posts a week prior to the schedule date, but I found I was constantly editing posts. Now, I request scheduled posts on a Monday and block out time on Tuesday to edit numerous posts. It’s a simple change, but it has really helped with efficiency.
Aim to provide specific information
If you are writing how-to posts, try to be as specific as possible with your advice. I often see posts that cover a lot of material in general terms, and I am always asking the writer for more detail to help readers connect the dots. How does this help with consistency? Oftentimes, you may have a sentence in a post that will spur an idea for another post. For instance, you have probably read statements like, “It’s important to understand the needs of your buyers.” While I agree (and most readers would as well), if someone doesn’t know how to do this, they may not be able to follow the rest of the steps in the post. Instead, it makes sense to have a post that provides specific steps on how to get to know your buyers. By really breaking down concepts and covering each one specifically, you’ll never be at a loss for ideas!
Set up a series of posts
Along the same lines as the point above, many topics can’t be covered adequately in one post. Building a series of posts on a topic is a great way to keep things consistent. For instance, at CMI we run series of posts where we ask our contributors to answer four or five questions on a certain topic. This way, writers can respond to multiple questions at once, and I can chedule these posts on my calendar in advance. As mentioned in yesterday’s post on Savvy B2B, this is a great way to keep things interesting as well. I have found that running these questions weekly is a good frequency, but test this with your audience.
Get someone to upload posts
If your time is at a premium, enlist the help of someone to upload the posts into your CRM. I know some group blogs that have the authors upload the posts, but I find it is easier to edit and make comments in Word and then upload the final version. Additionally, having one person upload the posts helps keep the style consistent (e.g., all headers are the same style).
Have some posts “in the queue”
Even when you have a plan, things inevitably happen. For that reason, it’s a great idea to have a few posts ready to go in case you have a change to your schedule. Having these posts will keep your schedule consistent without adding too much stress to your life!
These are some of my favorite ways to maintain consistency with a blog, but I am sure there are others. What can you add to the list?