Caught the blogging bug and eager to get going? Hold on! If you jump in without having the right infrastructure in place, you may end up scrambling for the people, technology and content you need.
This extra stress and confusion could lead you to abandon your blog completely, leaving it a ghost town that could seriously detract from your credibility when people find the blog on your website or through search engine results.
Before you jump into starting a company blog, be sure you’ve got all the pieces in place to ensure your long-term success.
- Study other blogs, both inside and outside your industry, to understand blogging’s unique capabilities and format, and its relationship to social media marketing and email marketing. Notice what you like and don’t like about each blog.
- Review your marketing goals to clarify how blogging will support these goals and deliver a consistent message. You’ll need to clearly communicate this strategy to your team and other stakeholders.
- Create a mission statement for your blog, defining its ideal readers, the problems your blog posts will help them solve, and how their lives or businesses will improve as a result.
- Define 5-7 blog categories (topics) that address your readers’ issues and also demonstrate your company’s capabilities and expertise. Start thinking about the types of posts that will fulfill these goals.
- Determine how often you’ll post new content to the blog. Create an editorial calendar that incorporates your blog categories and types of posts, as well as seasonal topics and key items from your marketing calendar.
- Work with your IT department and/or an external website developer to choose a platform for your blog. If your website is already using a content management system, incorporate the blog into your existing site. If not, consider upgrading your site to a content management system that includes a blog.
- Establish a way for readers to subscribe to your blog, ideally by both email and RSS (for feed readers). You can use Feedblitz or MailChimp to create automated email newsletters that are delivered whenever you publish a new blog post.
- Decide how to display the content on your blog, including:
- Will you call your blog a blog, or will your audience relate more to “News,” “Articles,” “Tips,” “Resources” or something else?
- What will you display in the sidebar of your blog? I recommend a search box, your five most recent blog posts, your list of topics (categories), and subscription options. You can also use this space to promote your services, an upcoming event or special offer, or a news item about your company.
- How will readers find older content on your blog? Aside from the search box and links to recent posts and topics, consider an add-on like LinkWithin or Yet Another Related Posts Plugin that will suggest related posts.
- Mobilize your blogging team, including:
- Who will be responsible for the blog? Typically this will be you as the marketing manager, senior executive or business owner.
- Which subject matter experts (both inside and outside your company) have the knowledge to satisfy the interests of your ideal readers and prospective customers?
- Who will solicit, coordinate and edit the contributions from these subject matter experts?
- Who will interview your experts and turn their ideas into blog posts?
- Who will coordinate the incoming posts to fit the editorial calendar?
- Who will monitor the blog for comments and respond to those comments?
- Who will promote your blog posts on social media and monitor any responses?
- Will you outsource these blog management tasks to a business blogging expert?
- Schedule time to evaluate your blogging process and results regularly, so you can make adjustments along the way. Remember that blogging will take time to generate momentum and results. As you add more and more high-quality content (blog posts) to your site, you are creating valuable marketing collateral that will have countless benefits down the line.