Every website regardless of the industry should have some form of blog linked to it and that blog should be updated frequently with great content. Going back a few years, websites could simply add a blog and have anyone publishing content on it. Blogs were used to entice the search engines to crawl the website and index pages however, times have changed since then and so has the purpose of a company blog.
In 2014, company blogs need to be populated with not just great content; that content needs to stand out in a crowd, it needs to serve a purpose and be helpful to the end user. The purpose of the company blog in 2014 is to serve visitors with the information they are looking to find, convert visitors into buying customers and push visitors to share the content with their social networks.
With this in mind, there needs to be some kind of structure and clear guidelines in place for the company blog and the authors who are writing for it. In this post, I am going to share with you some tips that you can take on board when it comes to managing your company blog. If you only have one person writing for the blog or you have 30 people, the tips in this post should be able to be applied to everyone.
Let’s get started………….
All blogs should have guidelines that the authors writing for it should be able to refer to whenever they are writing a post. How in-depth the guidelines are will really depend on the type and size of the blog you are managing. For example, if you are in the finance industry the content that goes on the blog will be heavily regulated and will more than likely need to be checked by compliance before it goes live. In this example, your blogging guidelines would be a lot more in-depth than say the guidelines for a music blog would be.
Some key things that should be in all guidelines include:
- What are the main objectives for the blog?
- Which audience types are you trying to attract?
- Is there a topic/content approval process?
- What performance metrics you are tracking and why?
- What is your linking policy?
- Is there a particular format you want content laid out in?
- How should heading tags be used?
- What is your policy on including images?
- How long do you expect content to be?
- Is there a certain tone of voice you want authors to adapt?
- How many call to actions should be in a post?
- How do you want the content to be shared by the authors?
- How often do you want to see content on the blog?
If you don’t have a content strategy in place, you will more than likely be writing content for the sake of writing content. You might be getting some really good results from your content without having a content strategy but by planning out your content, those results will be even better.
So many blogs don’t have a content strategy but if you have more than one person writing for a blog, having a strategy becomes even more important.
When you are thinking about your content strategy, always start with the audience that you are wanting to attract. There are various types of visitors that will land on your blog and the actions they take can be very different:
- Readers (visitors simply reading the content)
- Sharers (visitors who will share the content with others)
- Members (visitors who sign up to get more content in the future)
- Buyers (visitors who want to buy from you)
You need a mix of the above audience types in order to get your content working for you, without them you will not be able to meet the objectives or goals for your blog.
A good place to start when you are implementing a strategy is Google Analytics. Take a look back at all the content you have written for the blog in the past and look which content attracted the different audience types:
- Readers = High Bounce Rate, No Conversions
- Sharers = High Bounce Rate, High Social Shares, High Number of Inbound Links
- Members = High Newsletter Signups, High Content Signups
- Buyers = High Conversion Rate
Once you know what posts have been doing what, you can look at the content and make sure that you are writing for the audiences based on what they want.
If you have multiple people writing for your company blog, the content strategy will also help make sure the content you are putting out there is all working towards the end goal. It gives the authors clearer instruction as to the type of content you want written.
Even if everyone writing for the blog knows you are looking to publish one post a day and they have been told their day of the week, it is surprising how often this gets forgotten.
Having a blog schedule that you keep in a central location helps as a reminder to authors so they know when their post is due to go live. A simple Google Doc spreadsheet works perfectly for this.
Rather than giving authors deadlines for the publishing date, I would suggest that you communicate the deadline date for when you want the post in. Having around five days between the deadline and the publishing date seems to work well for a number of reasons:
- It gives a little flexibility to the author in case they are late getting their post in
- You have enough time to check the content to make sure you are happy with it and if not, you can get amends made or something entirely new written
- There will always be a backup of posts that are ready to go in case something happens and an author does not deliver in time
- Rather than rushing a post out the door, you can spend time proofreading the content before it goes live
In order to help people meet their deadlines, sending meeting requests to each author for the due date will act as a reminder.
If you are the person in charge of managing the company blog, you don’t want to have to be the one that checks all the posts before they go live. Appointing an Editorial Team to help you with these duties means that you have more time to spend on the overall strategy and making sure the blog is achieving its goals.
If you have an editor assigned to different posting days within the week, the authors know who they need to go to if they have questions and you know very quickly who to go to if you are not happy with the post quality or a post has not gone live.
The Editorial Team should be good at proofreading content. You want all the content that goes live on your blog to be high quality so having typos and grammatical errors should not be present.
The author should let their editor know once a post is ready to be checked (five days prior if you are sticking with the deadlines set out above) and they should use the Blogging Guidelines to check that the content is adhering to them.
It is important that the editor provides constructive feedback to the author on things that they have changed. The author can then make a conscious effort to improve in those areas in their next post.
Going back a few years, people were simply copying images from websites or free photo libraries and including them within their posts, sometimes with a link back to the originator, sometimes without.
In the past year or so there have been more and more cases of websites getting sued for using images that have a copyright on them, so they shouldn’t be used. These fines can be pretty hefty to so something that every business will want to avoid.
The way to ensure this will not happen to you is to purchase a load of credits for images with an image library such as Fotolia, BigStock or iStock. Most of these sites allow you to use the image more than once on the same domain if you have purchased it so you can start building up your own library for internal use. Over time you will end up with such a diverse range of images, you can simply start to rotate which ones you use and only buy new ones when you don’t have one to match the content you are writing.
Alternatively, you can take your own photos and use them instead. You are the owner of the image so you know you are 100% safe to use them. What’s more, you could even become a reseller for one of the photo libraries and upload your images to their site and get royalties every time someone downloads and uses one of your images.
Custom Short URL
My final tip for today will give you that extra bit of branding and short URLs when you share posts; create a customised short URL. I am not going to go into detail about how to do this as there is a post on Mashable that has been written on this already.
Once you have the URL setup you can link it to your social platforms so that every time you share a link, it automatically shortens it for you. This will even shorten URLs that are not on your own blog so every time you share a post, you add a bit of your own branding to it.
Recently, Bas van den Beld ran a webinar on blogging. If you missed the webinar, you can still get access to the slides and recording by filling in the form below. It is well worth a watch if you are currently blogging or are looking to get into blogging.
Image Credit: Bigstock