I was just reading a blog post about how to write a blog post in an hour – great post by Marsden Associates, 8 Tips to Write a Blog Post in an Hour and Why Often Times You Shouldn't that addresses key considerations for making it happen. And each point is quite valuable in the development of authentic, interesting blogs. But something struck me…
I think I spend more time with my clients working through the challenges of getting people to blog than the actual development of the blogs themselves. It’s the age-old problem:
“I need great content to fuel my website, social media and my overall digital presence. But everyone is so busy and people just don’t see content development at the top of their to-do list.”
This is usually followed by the following questions:
Like anything else, a blog requires resources and a plan. Your blogging goals should light the way to your intended audience and, thus, help you decide WHO should write the posts. Typically, this would not be a PR Manager or someone in Marketing. While these folks can and should assist (I’ll get to that in a bit), the posts should be written by authors who feel passionate about the topics at hand and would be considered thought leaders in their respective fields. This might be an HR Director, a Sales Administrator or the CEO! The audience and content should dictate the author(s).
THE HOW AND THE WHEN
Spread the wealth. Try to make more than one person accountable for blog posts and assign them specific weeks. If you want to be nice, you can ask them how frequently they are willing to create content and if there are specific days/weeks that definitely will not work for them. Then, create the calendar of who is blogging and when. Publish the schedule and send reminders to help them out. But HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE. If they tell you that they can’t craft a post this week then find out if they can commit to the following week and revise the schedule.
Make it as easy for your authors as possible! While it might put a bit more work on you, try your best to work with the style of individual contributors. In other words, find out how they prefer to transmit the content to you and then accept it in that format. When I work with my clients I let them know that we can schedule 15 minute calls where they can just tell me their content, they can record audio files on their iPhone and email it to me, they can write up some notes and email them, send me bullets – you get the picture. And then I will write up the actual posts and get their approval.
You might even decide that it’s best for your PR or Marketing Manager to take on the role of interviewing thought leaders; they can schedule 20 minute calls with contributors, gather the content and then write up the posts. It really all depends upon the style of the thought leaders and the resources you have available to make this happen.
Commit to a blogging frequency and stick to it. Ah, the question of how often you need to blog…there is no standard answer, in my opinion. In a perfect world, we would blog everyday but the reality is that for most of us, this is just not realistic. If possible, blogging 2-3 times per week is recommended. If you can’t commit to this, then I would say that you should plan on at least once per week. But here’s the caveat – whatever the frequency you select, you need to stick with it so that your readers know what to expect.
You could also determine that certain people in your company need to blog more frequently but others might only blog once per month, like your CEO, on very high-level topics. Again, whatever that mix is, spell it out, let the organization know and make sure you stick to it.
Many blogs have been written about developing great blog content, including the one from Marsden Associates, so I will not get into too much detail on that here. But I will recommend the following:
So it would seem that this is out of order – you might be saying, “Shouldn’t THE WHY be first?” My answer is kind of like Curly’s answer from the movie City Slickers when Billy Crystal asks Jack Palance what his secret is – yes, I’m showing my age with this reference. You have to find your “one thing” – it’s probably more than one but it all comes back to your objectives. What’s the purpose of your blog? To increase your brand recognition? To drive new leads? Whatever it is, spell it out and figure out how you are going to measure it.
I have seen the power of blogging and it’s pretty amazing so I’m always excited when my clients commit to creating a vibrant, thought-provoking blog. But I will also say that it’s not for the faint of heart. I would even suggest that in order to get people to truly commit to blogging, managers should incent people to do so and make blogging part of their formal yearly goals.
Okay, it’s your turn. In the comments section, tell us how you have successfully implemented blogging as part of your process. Still struggling with it? Let us know how we can help.
Renay M. Picard
The Take Root Marketing Blog is intended as a vehicle to assist and engage with marketers and social media addicts like myself - please share your thoughts, good, bad or otherwise. I'd love to hear from you!